Instead of choosing and adopting a pet on a whim, you should put in plenty of preparation. Before choosing a pet, research the pros and cons of different species and breeds. Also, figure out a budget and what you want out of the relationship. You’ll need to take the time to prepare your home so that it’s safe and comfortable for your pet, and once you bring him home, try to find ways to help your pet adjust to his new life and environment.

Which Pet is Best for You?

When contemplating the type of pet to adopt, think about what you want most in a pet. The answer should involve his behavior and interactions with you. Do you want a pet that sits on your lap or that jogs with you every morning? Do you want a pet that cuddles or that keeps to himself and is fun to watch?

If you’re looking for a social animal that loves to play, a dog can be a good option. Dog walking is a must, but if you’re already into jogging, a dog can be a guaranteed workout buddy. If you’re looking for a pet with less maintenance that still likes to cuddle and play, consider adopting a cat. If you want interaction with your pet without the exercise or tons of attention, a bird could be the pet for you. All pets – including guinea pigs, hamsters, and fish – require different levels of care, exercise, and attention, so you’re sure to find the one that fits your wants and needs.

You also need to consider your environment (home size, weather, etc.) and finances. Different species and breeds have specific medical needs, hereditary conditions, and dietary requirements. As such, they need different types of homes and have differing annual costs. For example, in the first year, you’re likely to spend $1,055 on a rabbit, but only $340 on a hamster.

Is Your Home Pet-Proof?

Before bringing a new pet into your home, ensure all areas of the house are pet-proofed. Potential hazards could be lurking all over your home and should be removed or placed on a high shelf or inside a locked cabinet. Dangerous household chemicals include pesticides, antifreeze, rat poison, and mothballs. Other potentially dangerous household items include fabric softener sheets, laundry detergent, houseplants, medications, houseplants, cigarettes, coffee grinds, and certain foods.

Keep the floors clear of small items (toys, hair clips, rubber bands, buttons, coins, etc.), spare socks, shoes with strings, and towels. A bathtub filled with water and a toilet could cause your pet to drown. Keep a lid on trash cans and secure wires and cords. Some outdoor plants may not be safe for pets.

Have a plan in place for caring for your pet beforehand. Determine who will feed, clean up after, and exercise the pet. Decide on a feeding and exercise schedule too. Also, find a reputable veterinarian close by where you can take your pet for routine or emergency medical care.

Does Your Pet Need Help Adjusting?

Patience is key when bringing home a new pet. Pets require an adjustment period and time to establish a bond with owners. Having the necessary supplies – collar, leash, crate, bed, bowls, food, treats, and toys – before you bring your pet home provide comfort from the start.

Bring someone with you to pick up your pet – one person to drive, one person to provide attention to the pet. Limit or discourage visitors for the first few days to prevent your pet from feeling overwhelmed, and introduce him to family members (those who live there) one at a time. Allow your pet to explore the home under your supervision and provide quiet time as necessary.

Physical and mental stimulation is essential for the pet’s well-being and for bonding. “Training helps your dog settle into a new home, teaches your dog how to fit into a new family, and strengthens the relationship between you and the dog,” says Animal Rescue League of Boston.

Being a responsible pet owner starts well before you help your pet adjust to your home. Be confident that you choose the right species and breed and make your home comfortable and safe before adopting. These considerations and preparations help ensure you and your pet have a long and happy relationship.

Photo Credit: joangonzalez, Pixabay