The holidays is a busy time a year to add a pet to your home! Who doesn't want a puppy under their Christmas tree?!
The following is a guest submission from Jessica Brody of Ourbestfriends.pet
According to Gallup polls, 6 in 10 Americans own pets, with cats and dogs being the most popular choices. If you’re about to become part of this statistic, congratulations! You’ll have a lot of fun with your new friend, but you’ll also experience a pretty big lifestyle shift, too. Naturally, you want to get your relationship off to a good start, and you’re probably wondering how to do that. Well, wonder no more. Read on to learn how to help your new pet settle in.
Choosing a Pet
To have the best chance of building a good relationship with your new pet, you should get the type and breed of animal that best suits your lifestyle. Some key characteristics to think about are independence, friendliness, and energy level. If you and your pet match in these three areas, you’ve got a great shot at becoming friends. If you’re looking for a dog, energy might be the most import of the three. Cesar’s Way has tips on determining a dog’s energy level here.
Overall, ask yourself, what is the main reason that you’re considering getting a pet? For example, pets are great companions for people with mental health concerns. If you want a pet for this purpose, a dog might be the best choice. Dogs tend to be more social and more responsive to human emotions, which can help reduce feelings of loneliness. They also require frequent walks, which will increase your own activity level, another good habit for people who have been diagnosed with depression or anxiety.
Before your new pet arrives, you’ll need to do a little bit of up-front home prep. Go around your house and put away or cover anything that might be hazardous if chewed or eaten, such as electrical outlets, cables, cleaning products, and small items. For cats, you’ll want to cat-proof your home, which includes moving expensive and breakable items from shelves and making sure your furniture is secured to your walls and won’t topple if your cat hangs from it while climbing.
No matter which pet you choose, there will likely be messes. Invest in pet-friendly cleaning products, including a good vacuum, before you bring your pet home. Many dog and cat owners prefer vacuums with water-filtration systems because they are excellent for carpets. They also clean dirt and debris from the air, and many can double as air purifiers and deodorizers -- a must for eliminating pet smells.
If you’re getting a dog, be prepared for a six-to-eight-week acclimatization period. Try to keep house guests to a minimum for the first week so as not to overstimulate him at first. Keep treats handy and reward any good behavior, including when he approaches you, goes to the bathroom outside, or obeys your commands.
If you’re getting a cat, it’s best to start by giving her one room to live in at first. This room should have all the necessary amenities: litter box, scratching post, food dish, and water dish. Spend some time in this room but don’t worry if she keeps her distance. Just ignore her until she comes to you, or perhaps try to coax her out with treats. Don’t pick her up or chase her; she’ll come to you when she feels comfortable. After she gets more comfortable, give her access to another room in your house.
The bonding process will take time initially, but you’ll soon become friends if you provide two things: toys and treats! Get some toys that are suitable for your new pet and see if you can get him to play with you. Also remember that, as with humans, the best way to a pet’s heart is through their stomach. They will soon recognize you as the one providing the food, and their affection will quickly follow. If you want a dog, remember to walk him every day. Most dogs need two 15-minute walks each day. Professional dog walkers or doggie day cares are a great alternative if you need help giving your pup all the exercise and attention he needs during the workday.
With proper care and attention, you’ll build a strong and healthy relationship with your new pet. This process starts before you even get the pet, as you’ll need to do a little research to find the best type and breed, as well as the shelters operating in your area. The good news is that you can get started on that right now!