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Your First Pet: How to Find the Right One for You

Owning a pet brings lots of love and joy into your life, but it's not a decision to make on a whim. Take the time to find the right pet for you and make sure you get a companion that works with your needs, schedule and home.

Babies and Babies

If you already have young children at home, a little puppy or kitten is going to be adorable, but they’re also not going to be a great fit, according to Pet Finder. Babies don't play well with other babies, and that goes for human and animal babies. Consider a pet that needs a little less care, such as a fish or a small, caged animal (e.g., guinea pig, hamster or gerbil), or a rescue pet that’s already an adult.

Owning a Dog

They're famously known as man's best friend, but are you ready to be a best friend to a dog? If you have a limited amount of yard space, a large dog isn't going to be happy, and he won’t get enough physical activity. Dogs also shouldn't be left alone for long periods at a time, which means you may need to think about hiring a pet sitter or dog walker if you work full-time and no one else is home. If you think a dog is best for you, consider your lifestyle and home to help you decide which breed to bring home.

What About Cats?

Cats require less maintenance than dogs. They don't have to be walked regularly or taken outside, but that doesn't mean they want to be ignored. Cats, like all pets, need attention and affection. Long-haired breeds also need frequent grooming. However, if you're looking for a relatively low-maintenance pet to fit in a limited amount of space, a cat is just right.

The Pet Owner You Want to Be

What sort of things do you want to do with your pet? If you want a pet for relaxation, a pretty fish tank is going to make you feel more peaceful than a puppy with boundless energy. If you're an independent person with a busy lifestyle, a cat is more apt to suit your needs. Fish and birds are also ideal for people with pet allergies, who can be affected by pet hair of all kinds. Think about who you are and let that guide you toward the right pet.

Preparing Your Home

Make sure your home is pet-friendly and well-prepared. Fish and small animals, for example, need to have a shady, safe spot where they can have a relatively stable temperature. Dogs like to chew, so make sure you get cords and baskets off the floors. And cats like to scratch, so get your kitty a dedicated scratching post or cat tree.

Another important step in preparing your home for your pet is to purchase cleaning supplies. Pets do require some cleanup. Fish tanks need to be cleaned, litter boxes need to be emptied, and puppies will have accidents. In addition to cleaning products and odor-removal sprays, you might consider purchasing a high-quality vacuum cleaner to help rid your home of pet hair and dander. Depending on the pet you get, the occasional house cleaning might be in order too (think mastiff’s that drool a lot). And while it’s not the most expensive venture, you’ll want to keep it in mind. For example, in Marlborough, a house cleaning can run from $114-$252 depending on the size of your home.

Preparing Your New Pet

Your new pet is making an adjustment, too. New pets have to learn how to adapt to you and to their new environment. Start making your new pet feel comfortable as soon as possible. Hug, pet and groom your pet to put them at ease. Give your new pet a space of their own and items of their own.

Play with your new pets often. Establish a regular feeding schedule and stick to it. All pets appreciate having the stability of a routine, and it will help them adjust to you and their new home.

Rescue dogs and cats will be more skittish than puppies and kittens. Give your rescue pet plenty of time and space to adjust to you, and spend a lot of time with your new pet. Keep your rescue animal close by and give them space when they need it.

Start bonding with your new pet right away. Help your pet get to know you by talking to them and playing with them regularly. Make frequent contact by petting them.

Being a New Pet Owner

Being a pet owner is a wonderful experience. Find the right pet for your needs and your home, and forge a bond that will be with you for life. Your first pet will always be your first fur baby love, so make the most out of the experience.

Jessica Brody

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