Making the decision to own a pet for the first time is an exciting proposition, however, such a lifestyle change shouldn’t be taken lightly. While you may have your heart set on a specific type of cat or dog, there are several factors that should drive your decision beyond a cute furry face alone.
First and foremost, you’ve got to make sure you can afford an animal. Statistics indicate that the total first-year costs are around $1,270 for a dog and $1,070 for a cat. Annual costs are around $695 for a dog and $705 for a cat. It’s important to be realistic about your budget as it’s a necessity in order to be a responsible pet owner. If you’re prepared for it, here are the other considerations you should make.
Consider Your Lifestyle
Before deciding on a specific animal, take a good look at your lifestyle so that you can make sure your pet will fit into it. Factors to consider include whether you have kids (or are planning to), how large your living space is, whether you have a yard, how often you’re home, how much time you’ll be able to commit to playtime and walks and your activity level. Be honest with yourself as it’s not fair to get the type of dog who requires a lot of space, activity and attention if you live in a studio apartment, work 10 hours a day and only want to lay on the couch when you’re home. Do some research on the various breeds of cats and dogs to compare behavioral traits, basic needs and personality.
Set Your Home Up For Success
Aside from setting up your home with the basics such as food, water, treats, toys, litter box, crate/carrier, leash and a comfortable bed, there are other measures you should take to help your pet acclimate to its new surroundings.
For dogs, it’s important to note that studies indicate many pets are returned within 24 hours due to a poor transition process. With that in mind, make sure you introduce your pooch to every member of your family before adopting to determine if there are any behavioral issues with a specific person. Be prepared for bathroom incidents in the beginning — especially with senior dogs. Combat this problem by instantaneously enforcing an eating and potty schedule. Give your pup plenty of attention so that she feels comforted.
Contrary to what many people think, cats also need ample attention. At the same time, they need space in order to become familiar with their new surroundings, so don’t smother your feline right away. Cat-proof the house by hiding cords and removing any precious objects that could get broken during a play session. Cats love to hide, so make sure there are plenty of safe places where she can find solace.
Get used to the fact that your home will need more attention than it used to, so be prepared to clean up regularly after your new pet. A high-quality vacuum cleaner can help you get rid of pet hair, but it’s also not a bad idea to get a professional deep clean (to include the carpets) once in a while. If you have guests who have allergies, it’s essential that you make a clean sweep of any pet dander throughout your home. Refer to online vacuum reviews if you need to upgrade your appliance, particularly if your current vacuum isn’t properly equipped to handle pet hair and dander. Keep stain removers on-hand so you can treat accidents before they set in.
Make Time To Bond
Bonding is one of the best parts of pet ownership, so get to know the body language of your cat or dog to determine if you’ve made a connection, or if you’re simply annoying your pet. Bonding is also about grooming, playing, and cuddling/petting, so make time for these activities.
Owning a pet is a big decision. But with a little research and preparation before adding an animal to your life, you’ll easily be able to bring a new member into the family and pave the way for years of memories and friendship.