If you’re thinking about bringing a cat or a dog into your home for the first time, and are not quite sure what to expect or what you might need to think about doing in preparation, the points listed below should give you some guidance:
- Are you ready for the commitment?
Cats and dogs require exercise, interaction and above all, love, and if your schedule doesn’t permit you to be able to give enough of either of these, then you should probably think about bringing a lower maintenance pet into your home, such as a hamster, fish or parakeets.
- Can you make your home pet-friendly?
Medication left on a counter or shelf, kids toys left lying around, plants that can be toxic to animals, exposed electric wiring, these are all things that can be detrimental to the health of a pet, especially if they are left unsupervised for long periods of time. Before bringing your new pet home, examine the environment that he/she will be left in, and make sure that there is nothing hazardous that it may be able to reach.
You should also designate a small area of your home for your pets use and comfort, so that they feel safe when you are not there, and allow them space to wander more freely about your home only under close supervision, particularly if your pet is very young and inquisitive!
- Do you have the time and patience to help train your pet?
House training your pet is crucial if you are to be able to live harmoniously, and it should begin as soon as your pet enters your home. Kittens need to be trained how to use their litter tray, and puppies need to begin learning to poop only when outside of the home. Expert advice on the best ways to house train your pet is readily available, and your local veterinary clinic may even be able to help.
- Are you willing to neuter your pet?
The term ‘neutering’ can apply to the surgery for spaying or castrating a pet, and while it can be done as early as eight weeks of age, it is usually considered appropriate to be performed when the animal is between four and six months of age. This prevents unwanted litters, can help reduce aggression, and can even help to protect your pet from certain types of cancers. It is recommended that this surgery be carried out on all pets, but the choice will remain with you as a responsible pet owner.
- You must ensure that your pet has proper identification:
No matter how careful we are, pets go missing all the time, and it can be a stressful and upsetting time for everybody involved. Ensuring that your beloved pet gets returned to you as soon as possible will depend upon how easily identifiable your pet is. For instance, are they wearing a collar with their name, address and your contact details on, or have they been microchipped? The perfect combination is a collar and a microchip, and remember that every time you move, the information stored in the microchip will need to be updated, too.
So, there you have it, a short and sweet guide to helping you welcome your new pet into your home, and ensuring that they, and you, can live in peaceful harmony together!