Bringing home your first pet is one of the most memorable days of your life, but with the excitement comes a level of uncertainty. While it’s impossible to be prepared for everything, we’ve put together a list of seven tips for first-time pet parents. These are things we wish we had known when bringing home our first pet and we hope you find them helpful!
Choosing the right food is one of the biggest decisions you have to make when bringing home a new pet. The food they eat plays a major role on their overall health, so it’s important to choose the best, high-quality food for your dog or cat. Just like with your own food, you want to choose one that is healthy, balanced, and made with fresh, local ingredients. That's why Freshpet is a great choice for your new furry family member. If you choose Freshpet, you’re choosing food that is gently steamed at low temperatures to protect the integrity of the ingredients. It’s then vacuum sealed to lock in the natural goodness and it’s off to the fridge where fresh food belongs. That’s why each recipe is packed with essential micronutrients only found in fresh food.
Pets aren’t cheap, so it can be helpful to create an expense sheet so you can have a better understanding of how much you’ll pay on average each month. When creating an expense sheet, you should include bigger costs like veterinary care, grooming, and obedience training, but smaller things like food, toys, and accessories can also add up. If you’re getting a new puppy or kitten, there will also be additional costs in the first year of their life – especially in regards to their veterinary care – which should be taken into consideration. Once you have an understanding of these costs, you can budget appropriately.
Going to the vet is one of the first things you’ll need to do when bringing home your new pet, so it’s a good idea to do some research ahead of time. This can also give you a better idea of the costs associated with veterinary care so you can make your expense sheet as accurate as possible. When choosing a vet, you’ll want to consider practical details like location and hours of the clinic but should also consider things like their approach to treating pets and the overall environment of the clinic. Your vet will be with you throughout all stages of your pet’s life so you want to make sure you choose one that you can have a strong, positive relationship with.
Pet insurance is growing in popularity for good reason. It gives you peace of mind knowing that if an emergency occurs you can make a decision based on what is best for your pet, not finances. Just like human health insurance policies, pet policies tend to be quite flexible so you can choose the one that is right for you and your pet – whether you want coverage for all routine care or just bigger emergencies.
For new cat parents, in particular, this is a big one. There’s nothing worse than fighting with your cat to get them in a carrier – it’s as stressful for them as it is for you! Unless your vet comes to your home, there’s a good chance you’ll need to get them in a carrier at least once a year for their annual check-up. Being able to easily get them in a carrier is also key if there’s ever an emergency and you need to leave your house quickly.
Taking the time to pet-proof your house before your four-legged friend arrives will ensure they can safely explore their new home without you needing to monitor their every move. Consider relocating anything they could break or chew out of their reach, removing any toxic plants, and blocking off any areas they need to stay out of completely. Of course, you may need to make some modifications after the pet arrives, but you’ll have a good start.
It may seem backwards to sign up for training before you’ve even brought your dog home, but just hear us out. Depending on the number of obedience schools where you live, there can be waiting lists to get into classes. This means if you want to get into your ‘first choice school’, you may need to sign up weeks or months before the classes start. While you can likely teach your dogs the basics, a class setting is beneficial for socialization and learning more complex commands, so even if you can’t start as soon as you get your dog it’s worth pursuing.
We hope some of these tips make the process of bringing your new pet home as exciting and stress-free as possible. Have other tips you’d like to share with first-time pet parents? We’d love to see them in the comments!