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A Handy Guide for First-Time Pet Owners

One of the greatest joys people can experience is the joy of having a companion animal to live by their side. However, if you have never had a pet before, you may find it difficult to narrow down what type of pet or breed you want, without even getting into the question of maintenance, how to prepare your home, and how to take care of your pet. Here are some tips that will help you choose the perfect pet for your preferences and living situation, prepare your home, and welcome your pet without causing them too much stress.

How to choose a pet

The first decision you will have to make is what kind of pet you would like. While cats are generally more independent and require less constant attention than dogs, who are more social and require more interaction, these traits differ greatly based on their individual personalities. Some cats are incredibly social, and some are more relaxed. However, by looking into details about their breeds, you may be able to learn more about their habits.

There are a number of things to keep track of when you are narrowing down what pet you’d like. First, are there any allergies in your family? If so, you may want to get a hypoallergenic pet, like a fish or lizard. Next, how much space do you have in your yard and in your home? Larger dogs, like Labrador retrievers, will need plenty of room to run around and play; more active cats will also require space indoors. What is your family’s daily schedule like? Many types of dogs require activity throughout the day, so you may want to hire a dog walker if you and your family are gone during work or school hours. Cats, however, are generally self-sufficient, and are fine when left alone for several hours. Finally, what is the composition of your family? Certain breeds of dog, like beagles and Labrador retrievers, are particularly good with young children.

How to prepare your home

Next, you’ll need to prepare your home for your pet. More excitable personalities will need room to run around and play, so you may want to put away your breakable objects until your new pet becomes more accustomed to your house. You’ll want to have some schedule in place for taking care of your pet. If you have children, make it a family project - set out times to feed and walk your pet, play with them, and clean up after them. Keep in mind you will also need to clean up indoors as well. You can make the cleaning process easier by picking up a specialized vacuum designed for pet hair. Do research online and find the perfect vacuum for your home’s flooring, as well as the thickness and softness of your pet’s hair.

Automating the schedule

Even if your family is gone for a portion of the day, you can still set a schedule. In fact, there are a number of ways to make it easier. Automatic feeding bowls will help your pet stick to their eating schedule, while electronic dog doors will let them go outside for set times each day. Schedules are critical because they will help calm anxious pets, helping them to become more accustomed to their new home. Regular play and care will also help develop your family’s bond with your new companion.

It is incredibly exciting to become a pet owner for the first time. Take your time choosing a pet whose personality clicks with yours, then set a schedule to ease your pet’s anxiety and get your family into their new routine.

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