Preparing To Be A Pet Owner

Becoming a pet owner isn’t as easy as adopting a cute puppy or kitten from a shelter; this guide offers advice for new pet owners or pet-owners-to-be.

Many people dream of bringing a cuddly cat or dog home to be part of the family. The first few days a person spends as a pet owner are crucial; those moments set the tone for the kind of relationship the pet owner will have with his pet. Try these tips to start off on a good paw (pardon the pun) with a new pet.

Create a Space for the Pet

Just like humans, pets need a space that is all their own; often, a bed and supper dish is all the space a pet needs. However, some pets may require a bigger space—such as a backyard or indoor climbing tower—in order to function happily. Small pets such as gerbils or mice may only need a cage and a few toys.

Determine the space which will be the pet’s and place all pet toys and equipment in that nook. A pet may not gravitate toward the pet owner’s chosen space, though; it can take work in order to get a pet to see that the hallway is her space, not the staircase. In some cases, it may be best to move a pet’s space to where she spends the most time or where she is the most comfortable; the pet may prefer to be closer in proximity to the owner than the owner originally imagined.

Purchase Age-Appropriate Pet Toys

When a pet is first introduced to her new home, a few toys can go a long way in making one’s furry friend feel welcome. Scatter two or three toys near the pet’s bed. Usually, a pet will immediately prefer some toys over others. Watch the pet’s interaction with her new toys to get a feel for her preferences.

Additionally, make sure that each toy is age-appropriate; larger bones and hard plastic toys may prove overwhelming for a small animal. For young animals, stick with softer toys like plush items and miniature, chewy treats.

Create Boundaries for the Pet

If the pet owner allows his dog or cat to jump on the sofa or recliner in the pet’s first few days at home, the pet owner is establishing that lounging on furniture is okay for the pet. Play with the pet on the floor or carpet in order to encourage animals to stay off furniture. The pet owner may need to discipline his pet if she continues to push boundaries.

Stay on Schedule

If the pet owner decides to feed his pet once in the morning and once at night, it is best to stay on schedule if possible; pets often become whiny or irritable when mealtimes become confused. If the pet owner has a work schedule that interferes with the pet’s feeding schedule on some days, the feeding schedule needs to be changed to reflect the owner’s work schedule at all times—even on days the pet owner isn’t at work.

Brace for Impact

Puppies and kittens are apt to destroy household items. A pet cannot distinguish which television set cost a grand and which television set was free in a yard sale. Expect that the pet will damage some items and be sure to place any important items out of reach.

In a house with carpet, a dog can be expected to chew on pieces of carpet intermittently; cats often leave scratch marks on fabric surfaces such as drapes, sofa covers, and other related items. Part of being a pet owner is learning to take responsibility for any damages a pet incurs.