Two tiny baby puppies cuddle in a food dish.

Are you ready to meet your new best friend?

Like, really ready? Have you considered the intricacies of pet ownership; the stuff beyond the sweet snuggles and the Instagram-worthy pet selfies? Have you examined your own personality and preferences that might influence the kind of pet you choose? Have you asked your neighbors about that husky-sized hole in the middle of their couch cushion? It’s okay to have questions. You should know when you bring home your new bundle of fluff, feathers, or scales, that you’re committed to loving and caring for it through the end of its life. Here are just a few tips for preparing your headspace, as well as your physical space, to make one of the greatest decisions you’ll ever make.

Research the Best Pet for Your Lifestyle

Pets are meant to join your family and stay for a lifetime. Nothing is more heartbreaking and confusing for a pet than when it has to be re-homed for reasons it doesn’t understand. So, it’s important to be responsible at the very beginning of your pet search to make sure you and your pet are the right fit for one another. Will you be able to provide the exercise, affection, and/or discipline a pet will require for a peaceful and happy life? Yes, that Tibetan mastiff puppy is fluffy and adorable and he really needs a mommy, but if you live in Florida, on the 9th floor, and work 16-hour days, maybe a tank full of fish would fit your lifestyle a little bit better. Ask yourself what you are realistically capable of handling and choose a pet that fits in.

Feed Them…But Not From Your Plate

It can be so tempting to fall for the super cute, sad-eyes dinnertime routine when your pets are trying to convince you they are starving. They may want you to believe that they will never forgive you unless you share that last bite of steak, but the truth is you are protecting them by eating it yourself. Did you know that even a tiny amount of onion can poison a cat’s blood? Or, that cooked bones can splinter when chewed and cause internal damage to dogs? It really is in their best interest to feed them a diet that is designed for pets. Get the ultimate pet nutrition coupon code and learn more about proper animal diet and nutrition. If you want to be a personal chef to your new roommate, research pet-safe recipes and ask your vet for suggestions to make sure you are providing the appropriate nourishment.

Establish a Relationship With a Vet

Research shows that around 23 million US pets do not have regular access to veterinary care. Whether you purchase a pet from a breeder or adopt from an organization, getting your new pet medical care should be the first priority. Find a vet with whom you and your new addition feel comfortable and safe. Ask about pet owner responsibilities such as spaying, neutering, and microchipping. Make sure to keep up with routine visits for vaccines, bloodwork, anxiety management, and proper aging care. If your vet knows your pet well because you’ve facilitated that relationship with consistent visits, s/he will be able to quickly recognize and address any health or behavior changes that could indicate severe medical problems. Because you love your pet, you’ll want the quick and quality care it deserves. A great vet wants that too!

There are all kinds of domesticated pets to choose from. Maybe you’re a dog or cat person, or maybe you’re a bird, rabbit, bearded dragon, or hermit crab person. Seeking out the animal companion that brings you joy is an incredibly personal journey. No matter the species, breed, or gender, every animal has a disposition and temperament worth getting to know. Even people who have had many pets over the course of a lifetime confess that they’ve only had a truly special connection once or twice. You deserve that kind of connection too, so it’s imperative that you set yourself up for success by doing your homework ahead of time.

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About The Author

Paisley Hansen's picture

Paisley Hansen is a freelance writer in both physical and mental health. When she isn’t writing she can usually be found reading a good book or hitting the gym.

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