How to Be a Great New Pet Parent

How to Be a Great New Pet Parent

So, you’ve made the decision to adopt a kitten or puppy. This is an exciting time in your life, and while you may be nervous about how the first couple weeks are going to go, with the right preparations, you’ll do just fine. Try to think about what your future looks like for the next 10 or 15 years and what kind of dog you see fitting with your wants and needs. Having an idea of the kind of pet you picture and your lifestyle will ensure you get one that’s right for you. Below, we’ve listed four tips to help you be the best first-time pet parent.

Choose the right breed

If you’ve decided to adopt a cat, you don’t have to worry about the type of breed, but more the length of hair of the cat you’re thinking about bringing into your home. If you have allergies, you should consider buying a short-haired cat over a long-haired cat so you won’t be bothered by shedding.

Adopting a dog is a little bit trickier because you have to determine which breed would best suit your lifestyle. Do you have a big backyard and a lot of space? You should consider getting a dog that needs a lot of exercise. If you live in an apartment with no backyard, a smaller dog that doesn’t require frequent walks may be better for you. If you have children, pick a dog that plays well with children and that isn’t aggressive.

Get your home ready

The safety of your new pet will be your number one priority, and in order to make this happen, you have to prepare your home. It’s important to put away any chemicals, plants, or food that could be toxic to a cat or dog. You’ll also need to tape any electrical wires to your baseboards to ensure they don’t get chewed on and your pet doesn’t electrocute himself. Look out for any small openings that a small puppy or kitten could crawl up into, like in your cabinets. If you see any, block them. You’ll also need to get on your hands and knees to try and look at the surroundings from the perspective of your new pet to make sure you don’t miss anything.

Additionally, go shopping. Your pet will need food and drinking bowls, puppy pads, a crate, scratching posts, a bed, a litter box, and toys. Put these items in visible areas for your new pet so they feel like your home is their home. And if you’re concerned about keeping your new pet from escaping the yard, you may need to put up a fence. Some people opt for an electric fence, which consists of wiring, a transmitter, and an energy source. Keep in mind, however, that the national average cost to install one is $846, so budget for this expense carefully.

Finally, prepare yourself for the mess. Accidents happen, even with older pets who are already house-trained. Pets also shed hair, drool slobber, track in mud and dirt, and get sick. A good vacuum and some pet-friendly cleaning products are a good way to start, but you should also budget for the occasional professional cleaning, especially if you have carpet or rugs that can trap messes and hold onto pet smells. Homeowners in Memphis, TN spend an average of $142 to have their carpets cleaned.

Make time for bonding

Bonding with your new pet is something you should always make time for. When you spend time with your kitten or puppy, they see you as their owner and start to feel more comfortable in your home. Bonding includes more than just petting and cuddling, especially if you have a new dog. With a puppy, you need to start training them on day one. With training, your dog will feel closer to you and respect you more. Training includes both for obedience and teaching new tricks. Remember to take your new puppy for frequent walks outside so that he can get some exercise.

Ensure they’re comfortable

If you’ve adopted a rescue pet, they may feel uncomfortable the first time you bring them around your home. That’s completely normal, and it’s because they’re used to a different kind of environment. It may take them days or weeks to get comfortable, and that’s OK. The last thing you want to do is force anything to happen if they hide under a bed or couch for awhile. Do you work long hours and don’t have time to run home during the day to let your new dog out for walks? Hire a dog walker so your dog gets the exercise he needs to stay happy and healthy. With a variety of mobile apps, like Fido, you can find a dog walker near you easily.

Photo: Unsplash

This is a guest post by Jessica Brody at