Owning a pet is a rewarding experience that comes with a lot of responsibility. While you gain a companion who can provide many benefits, including improving your health, you must be ready and willing to give your pet the care and attention he needs to get the most out of the relationship and ensure your pet is happy and healthy. Choosing the right pet for your lifestyle is important, and preparing your home for your pet’s arrival is crucial.
Choosing a Pet
All pets require a commitment that extends into the future, but the range varies. Consider what kind of commitment you’re willing to make when choosing a pet. Cats and dogs can live for an average of 12 to 15 years. Birds and rabbits can live for 10 years or longer. Fish and small rodents have shorter life spans.
Research the basic care requirements of different animals and breeds, including exercise, diet, and grooming needs. Ensure you have enough space for the pet you want, and if you rent, ask about rules and restrictions for having pets. Make sure you can care for a pet even if you experience life changes like a move, change in work hours, marriage, or children.
Be aware of how much time different animals need. Some need daily cage cleanings, while others need daily playtime and exercise. You’ll also need time to feed, groom, socialize, train, and provide company and attention. And if you work long hours or travel frequently, keep in that you’ll need to find a trusted pet sitter to help out when you’re away.
Preparing Your Home for a New Pet
Before your pet arrives, be sure your home is safe and pet-proofed. Secure areas with long drops where your pet could slip through openings and fall, such as balconies, stairs, or high decks. Cover and secure all electrical cords. Ensure there are no loose nails or dangling cords, such as lift cords for curtains or blinds.
Keep poisonous items out of reach, including household cleaners, medications, insecticides, and fertilizers. Place locks on cabinets so pets cannot access foods and drinks. Check plants, as some can be harmful or fatal to your pet. Certain items can be dangerous if chewed on or swallowed, including plastic bags, toilet paper, pens, buttons, strings, and sewing needles.
It’s also important to help a new pet acclimate to his new home, especially rescue pets that may be nervous or fearful at first. Set house rules and routines from the start. Determine where your pet will sleep, where he will and won’t be allowed, and feeding and training schedules. Give your pet his own room or personal space with low traffic so that he feels safe and comfortable. Purchase supplies and equipment before you get your pet, such as a bed, cage or crate, toys, grooming and cleaning tools, leash, food, water bowl, etc.
Benefits of Owning a Pet
Owning a pet has many perks. Pets are always there for owners as an emotional support system, and they can reduce stress. “Pets innately know when we need them most, which gives us a feeling of belonging and a self-esteem boost,” says CNN. Some pets have unique health benefits. For example, dogs need exercise, and many pet owners incorporate dog walking as part of their exercise routine. In fact, dog owners are more likely to meet the federal criteria for regular moderate or vigorous exercise.
You’ll always have a play date as a pet owner. You can play with your cat and her toys, build tunnels with your rat, or sing songs with your bird. Pets can also be a way to socialize with other people. Researchers have shown that dog walking leads to more conversations with neighbors, other dog owners, and other people who cross your path.
Researching different types of pets helps ensure that you choose a pet that fits lifestyle and the level of care you can provide. Preparing your home means your pet will be safe and comfortable, and you can focus on playing with your pet and giving him the attention he needs. Being well prepared means you can handle any hiccups along the way, and you’ll be able to enjoy your pet more, as he or she will be healthy and happy.
Ms. Brody believes dogs are the best creatures on earth. She enjoys writing about and sharing photos of dogs (and other pets!) on her website.