Having a pet as part of your family can bring a level of happiness that only those who own pets will ever get to experience. However, we also know how daunting it can be introducing a new member into your family, especially as a first time pet owner, and taking on the responsibilities of caring for our little friends. That’s why we’ve put together a few simple tips to help make your new pet comfortable and ensure you become the best of friends with no fuss and no stress.
Make sure the rest of the family is prepared
Having a pet in the house is a wonderful experience but it also requires a bit of preparation time to make sure everyone understands the responsibilities and jobs that need to be done. A few simple things to discuss are:
- Feeding time and location
- Exercise schedule
- Changing the water bowl
- Location of kennel (for outside dog or cat)
It is essential to visit your local vet
Your new pet is temporarily protected against a range of diseases through antibodies received in their mother's milk. However, this can also neutralise any early vaccinations the pet receives. It is for this reason that puppies and kittens require a series of vaccinations through the first few months of their lives as well as worming and heartworm prevention to make sure they are well enough protected to enable them to play outside.
Remove any harmful materials
Our pets (especially puppies and kittens) don’t know the difference between what is edible and what is potentially harmful. It’s up to us to remove those unsafe materials from their play and living areas to ensure that they remain happy and healthy in their new home.
Don't make a habit of feeding your pet scraps
Giving your pet too much human food can sour its appetite for pet food. This can create problems in the future as pet food contains all the vitamins and nutrients your pet needs to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle. If more than 10% of your pet's diet consists of people food, you may be putting it at risk of developing heart problems, weight gain, diabetes or digestive problems.
Socialising takes time
Socialisation is extremely important in raising a well adjusted and healthy pet. However, just like we humans, you don’t want to pile it on too heavy. Take a bit of time allowing your pet to get used to all the things they will encounter in their adult life such as new people, other animals, moving objects, loud noises such as ringing phones and different surfaces like wood and carpet.
Patience and persistence go a long way
Every pet is different and it’s those differences that allow us to form special bonds with our pets. Getting to know your pet, its unique behaviour, its likes and dislikes, takes a bit of patience but is a wonderful process that is more about the journey than the destination. Take time getting to know your pet; be patient and be persistent, especially when it comes to showing him what he can and can’t do.