Getting Your First Pet: What You Need to Know

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67% of households across the U.S. own a pet. With the benefits pets provide, it isn’t a surprise that many people want a fluffy or feathery companion by their side, especially at a time when we’re encouraged to stay home. If you’re thinking about adding a pet to your family, here are a few things to consider before you visit the store or adoption center.

It’s Not as Easy as You Think

Pets are adorable, fun, and in most cases, playful, which is what attracts many people to become pet owners. However, they’re not at all fun and games. Adopting a pet can get very expensive, and the responsibility you have as a pet owner can feel like too much if you’re not prepared. Having a pet, whether it’s a cat or a hamster, is a big commitment. You have to figure out their care schedules and work your schedule around them. If you’re always busy and find yourself in and out of meetings, it may not be the best choice to adopt just yet.

Pet adoption isn’t the only expensive thing. Like us humans, pets have a lot of needs. Of course, they need food, water, and a bed, but they also need a bed, toys, regular checkups, and other necessities that will have you fishing out a substantial amount of money for the rest of your pet’s life. Before you think about adopting a companion of your own, it helps to consider your current living and financial situation. If you aren’t financially stable enough to take care of yourself, chances are you aren’t financially stable enough to care for your pet either.

Pick a Companion that Suits You

If you’re sure that you’re physically, financially, and emotionally ready to adopt a pet, it’s important to choose a pet that fits your lifestyle. While it’s good to choose a pet that you like, do your research. Look up their behaviors, needs, and other factors that can help you figure out whether or not you can adequately care for the kind of pet that you like. There are low-maintenance, medium-maintenance, and high-maintenance pets that you can choose from depending on your lifestyle.

Low-maintenance pets include fish, lizards, and turtles. On the other hand, medium-maintenance pets include small birds, rabbits, guinea pigs, gerbils, and the like. Low and medium-maintenance pets are a great option for households that have small children.

Lastly, high-maintenance pets include dogs and cats, which require a lot of care and attention. Consider how much time in your day you can give to your pets. If your answer is “a lot,” a cat or dog may be the pet for you.

Schedule Regular Checkups

If you’re adopting a younger animal, they may need to visit the vet’s office 3 to 4 times a month, depending on their age. As they get older, they may only need to go in for checkups once or twice a year, unless they get sick or suffer from any condition. Make sure you find a doctor you can trust and are comfortable with because they will be the ones looking out for your pet’s health and guiding you through how to take care of your pet properly.

If you have any questions or concerns about caring for your pet, they’re the best person to ask.

Bathe Your Pet

newly bathed dog

While pets don’t need to bathe as often as us humans, they still need a good cleaning every once in a while. Depending on what pet you have, they can be bathed anywhere from once a month to even once every three months. For instance, healthy dogs with short coats and no skin problems can be bathed at least once every three months. In most cases, it’s best to use your judgment. When your dog starts to smell- it’s time for a deep clean.

On the other hand, reptiles like snakes are usually based either once a month or if they’ve been moving around in their own feces.

Pets Need Exercise, Too

Not all pets need exercise, but the ones that do, need it to stay healthy. Before choosing to get a pet, consider whether their physical needs match your lifestyle. For instance, rabbits don’t need to go on walks, but they do need a big enough space to run around and play. Hamsters, on the other hand, need an exercise wheel or a hamster wheel.

For bigger animals like dogs, you may need to find time in your day to go on a run or walk with them. This helps prevent any destructive behaviors.

Love Them Like Family

When you get a pet, you get a new member of the family. And just like us, pets want love, care, and attention. They provide numerous benefits to us both physically and emotionally, so it’s our responsibility as pet owners to take care of them to the best of our ability.

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