Adopting your first pet is one of the most exciting life milestones. Many of us want a furry friend to keep us company at home. You might also want to adopt a pet with your partner to bond or “practice” for taking care of kids. Whatever the reason, this decision is both fun and stressful.
There are a lot of steps you need to take before adopting a pet! It might seem easy to go to the shelter and pick up the first animal you see. However, that’s not the best way to go about it. Choosing the perfect pet for you and your family takes a lot of research and consideration.
The pet’s personality, your budget, and the size of your home are just some of the things you need to consider. Once you decide on a pet, getting yourself and your home ready takes even more work. Believe me, it will all be worth it to bring home your new best friend! Follow my tips, and you and your new family member will feel happy, comfortable, and ready to take on the world together.
1. Do Some Research
Choosing the right pet for you shouldn’t be a hasty decision. It takes time and research to ensure you adopt a pet that fits your lifestyle, budget, schedule, and space. You want to ensure you and your new family members are as happy and healthy as possible! The first thing you need to consider is the size of your home. Large dogs typically need room to run, so a small apartment with no yard probably wouldn’t be the best environment for them.
Even if your house is large, too many pets can cramp it. Food research is just as important. How else will you know Nextrition is the best option for a new dog? How else will you know which human foods to avoid? Research is critical in dog ownership, so don’t skip out on this part!
Here’s a truth bomb.
If you don’t have a lot of space or live with other people, consider adopting a bird or small animal like a hamster. Next, think about what you want out of your new friend. Do you want a guard dog? A snuggle buddy? A hiking companion? A playmate for your kids? Use this information when researching the type and breed of pet that you want. Different animals and species have different personalities and abilities. Similarly, consider how much time you are willing to put into caring for your new pet.
All animals require attention and care from their owners, but some are lower maintenance than others. For example, fish don’t need much more than a daily feeding and occasional aquarium cleaning. Dogs, on the other hand, need lots of love and multiple trips outside each day. How much care your pet needs will even vary, depending on the species and breed.
Finally, check the pets you’re allowed to have where you live. Many cities, developments, and buildings have rules banning strange pets like snakes and barnyard animals like chickens. Many apartments and condo buildings have size regulations as well. Check out the laws where you live so you don’t get in trouble! This research is one of the most critical steps you need to take before adopting a pet.
Need some help picking your ideal pet? Check out this video for advice.
2. Make A Budget
Looking at your budget is perhaps the most essential of all the steps you need to take before adopting a pet. Pets can be expensive, so you want to be sure you can financially support a furry friend. Depending on which pet you choose, you are signing up to care for it for up to 20 years. Keep that in mind when looking through your finances.
First, research how much (on average) different types of pets cost to take care of per month. You should include a bed or cage, food, toys, cat litter, health care, training classes, a walker or sitter, accessories, and more.
Smaller animals typically require less food and fewer toys, so their care is usually more budget-friendly. On the other hand, unfamiliar pets need specialized food, vet care, and habitats, so they cost more. Don’t forget adoption fees and any initial vet bills like shots and spaying/neutering!
Now that you have a rough estimate of care costs look at your current budget. Where do you have wiggle room? If you spend a lot of money on entertainment, eating out, or shopping each month, calculate how much of those expenditures you could afford to give up. You might be able to afford a more expensive pet! Just don’t overestimate how much you can cut back.
If most of your money already goes to bills and savings, you should consider a smaller pet or even wait to adopt until you have more income. You and your pet will both have a better life if you can genuinely pay to care for them.
3. Take A Course
Knowing how you will approach training is one of the significant steps you need to take before adopting a pet. Like kids, pets don’t inherently know how you want them to behave. Training is critical to ensuring your pet follows your rules, making you love each other even more. Training your new pet may be more difficult if you are adopting from a shelter. Animals that only knew to live in the rescue facility or came from homes that weren’t cared for properly are more likely to have behavioral problems, but that doesn’t mean you can’t teach them!
You can always wait to put your new furry friend into a behavior class, but why not prepare beforehand? Udemy offers many online courses you can access anytime, anywhere. They have classes on everything from cooking to exercising to meditating, and their Pet Care and Training section is pretty substantial!
Learning about pet training before bringing your furry friend home can help you feel more prepared. Plus, you can start the training right away! One excellent course option is How to Train a Puppy. This class includes 13 videos, 4 books, andfour16 customizable Behavior Blueprints that cover every training topic, from leash walking to staying home alone to dealing with aggression. It uses the SIRIUS training method, which goes beyond repetitive obedience drills. This method is as fun for your pup as it is for you, using quick and easy exercises to teach manners and correct behavioral problems. It’s a must for any dog owner!
Adopting a feline friend? Check out Dog & Cat Behavior Problems. Of course, this course tackles dog training but also offers insight into issues only cat owners face. You’ll learn to teach your cat to use the litter box, come when called, stop destroying your furniture, and more.
With two downloadable guides and 5.5 hours of video, I’d say this class is pretty thorough. It is also an excellent choice if you adopt a dog and plan on getting a cat later or vice versa. Once you purchase a course, you get access to it forever, so you can come back to it whenever you need it!
4. Get Your Home Pet-Ready
Ensuring your house is ready for your new pet will give you peace of mind and make them feel more comfortable. Like nesting for babies, it’s one of the essential steps you need to take before adopting a pet.
Pets all have different personalities, and some may take longer to adjust to your space, especially if they came from an abusive home or a noisy shelter before you adopted them. To make your new family member feel at ease, give them their space, like a room or corner with their crate, cage, or bed. Include some toys and their food and water dishes, too. This area can be their safe space to go when they are scared, and you and your family should respect that boundary.
But that’s not all.
Go through your home and move or get rid of any hazards to your new buddy. Think of it the same way as you would prepare for a new baby to visit you. Chargers and wires should be off the ground or hidden away, shoes and other things you don’t want them to chew on should be stashed in your closet, and household chemicals should be securely out of your pet’s reach. Getting rid of potential dangers can save you a lot of stress and money on vet bills.
Getting your home pet-ready takes a lot of work but will make the transition easier for you and your new pet. This is one of the last steps you must consider before adopting a pet, but an important one!
5. Adjust Your Lifestyle
Just like when you bring home a new baby, getting a pet means changing many aspects of your lifestyle. Pets, especially young ones, will get anxious when left alone for long periods. That means you must come home after work and maybe visit them over your lunch break. If you can’t make this happen, you must hire someone to walk, feed, and take them out during the day while you’re away.
The same goes for traveling. Don’t plan long trips after you adopt your new friend. They need to spend quality time with you if you want to form a bond, so putting them in the kennel or getting someone to check up on them while you’re on vacation probably isn’t the best choice right away.
You have to think of your pet as your child when caring for their needs. That often means waking up at dawn to take them out. You’ll have to take them to the vet for check-ups. Making sure they always have proper food, water, and exercise is a must. Pets are a huge responsibility!
While taking your pet out for a walk, why not earn some rewards? Download the Walgreens app to incentivize going for long walks with your new best friend. All you need to do is enroll in their free rewards program and start racking points!
Why do you need to do this?
Getting into the right mindset is one of the critical steps you need to take before adopting a pet. Though some pets are more high-maintenance than others, they all require a lot of care. If you aren’t ready to keep another living thing alive for the next 10+ years, perhaps it’s time to reconsider adopting. There will always be pets in need! Waiting until you can give an animal proper care is better than putting yourself and your pet in an undesirable situation.
Did you know about all of these steps you need to take before adopting a pet?
Preparing yourself, your family, and your home for a new pet takes significant planning. You have to decide if you can afford it financially and if you can work your schedule around caring for an animal. All of the time and effort is worth it, though, when you get to bring home your new BFF! Adjusting to having a pet for the first time might catch you off-guard. It means changing your wake-up time, adding more stuff to your weekly shopping list, and getting a pet sitter whenever you’re away.
There is so much more to being a pet parent than it initially seems! But if you take these five essential steps before adopting a pet, everything should be easy.