Choosing a pet can be both exciting and daunting. You’re about to bring another living creature into your home that you’ll have to nurture, feed, groom and interact with like another member of the family for years to come. Thankfully, you can reduce the daunting part by thoughtfully assessing your needs, time and resources to determine what kind of pet will be best for your home and to ensure that you mutually have a rewarding experience.

Choosing A Pet

So you are ready to welcome a new companion into your home, but what kind of pet should you get? One thing to consider is how much time you have. A Labrador retriever will have more needs and demand more of your time than goldfish. How much time do you spend at home? Outdoors? While your heart is ready to make room for that kind-hearted Great Dane you’ve always wanted, your living space may not be adequate to avoid all the dishes from being knocked off the table when he needs to turn around. Lastly, consider your budget. Pets, like children, require feeding, medical attention, entertainment (i.e. toys), and a place to rest (i.e. fish bowl or dog bed).

Preparing Your Home

Once you decide what kind of pet you’re going to bring home, you need to prepare yourself for the new addition. Depending on what kind of pet you’ve chosen, you’ll need to gather the necessities. If you get a dog or cat, you should get the basic collar, bowls, food and toys. And don’t always go for the cheap stuff. Pet equipment — and especially food and treats — should be designed with your pet’s health and safety in mind. Choosing items that are thoughtfully designed and prepared with the best materials and ingredients will keep your pet healthy and happy.

Regardless of what kind of pet you’re getting, you should establish ahead of time who is responsible for feeding and when; who is responsible for making sure the pet has its medical needs met; and how the pet will get its required exercise. If you have children, you should include them in the responsibilities, as this will help them bond with the pet.

Welcoming Your Pet Home

Welcoming home the pet may be exciting for you but it will be a scary new adventure for your pet, and he may need some assistance acclimating to his new environment. If you’re adopting a baby animal, he may need a little extra TLC as he transitions away from his mother and siblings and gets accustomed to human interaction. A pet that was once a stray or in an animal shelter may have to adjust to yet another transition and may be fearful of humans. Children should also be taught how to handle their new pet with gentleness and should not be left unattended.

In addition to prepping your pet for your home, you’ll also need to prep your home for your pet. Prepare for the extra maintenance that comes with your new best friend by anticipating all the messes your new best friend might make. For furry friends, invest in a budget-friendly vacuum cleaner built for pet owners to easily remove pet hair and allergens from the furniture, floors, and air. Lay down puppy pads on rugs and carpet to protect them from ruin. You should also stock up on pet-friendly cleaning supplies that won’t cause your pet any harm.

Forming a Relationship with Your Pet

You and your pet may have a bright future ahead, but just like with any other relationship, forming a bond will take time and effort. You’ll need to invest quality time, especially at the beginning, maintain a schedule, learn your pet’s boundaries, and communicate. The time and effort you invest will come back tenfold with a loyal companion and improve your overall mental health. Animal companionship reduces loneliness, guilt, sadness and anxiety.

A pet is a wonderful addition to any home and family. Prior to jumping into buying or adopting your pet, you should evaluate your circumstances, assess the practicalities of being a pet owner, and decide whether the type of pet you want is compatible with your lifestyle. The more prepared you are, the better the bond you will form with your new best friend.

Photo Credit: Unsplash