The Planning Stages for Getting Your First Pet
January 5, 2010
The Planning Stages for Getting Your First Pet
Perhaps you already know a pure breed or mix breed that attracts your heart. If you are new to picking out a pet dog or cat, do some research on different breeds that may suite you. Make a short list of the ones that are the most suitable for you. For example, living in a small space with limited grass area may be most suitable for a smaller pure or mix breed pup. If you have a house you will have a wider range of options to consider, but also remember to take into account: is your yard fenced? Are there any loose boards in the fence? How close do you live to a busy street? Make sure that the dogs you consider are not jumpers or breeds known for being escape artists. All these are the kind of things you need to keep in mind when choosing a breed. Remember to visit the shelters, check out the breed on the pet ID card, ask about the pets they have there, there is always a variety of both dogs & cats to visit and play with at shelters. Most shelters have a website that is updated with the pets they have that need homes, sometimes there are even pure breeds taken in that need a new home. If you have a particular breed in mind, ask if the shelter that will keep a list of pets that come in & for your information to be contacted when what you’re looking for happens to show up in the shelter, so that they can notify you if the one you have in mind comes in. When visiting the shelters you will get to see more what mixed breeds look like, get an idea perhaps of the temperaments and the various sizes of dogs & cats. Also there are many rescue groups for different pure breed dogs, so check the web for those.
Your new pet dog or cat will need regular checkups and vaccinations and could even need emergency care when you least expect it. Check out a few different Veterinarians; make sure that you feel comfortable asking questions & having them answered to your comfort. It is important that you are comfortable with the Vet staff as well. Is the Vet a single Vet or are there partners. How does the office work on holidays? Does the Vet you have in mind have certain scheduled days off, and if so and they work alone, who is the backup Vet, that they recommend? Take into consideration if the Vet is newly out of school or planning to retire in the next few years? Who does your Vet recommend in the event of an after hour emergency (time permitting check out that place, too). Your vet will be the first resource you will likely need when questions about your new pet arise.
There are still other things you need to check before you pick a pet dog. If you live in an apartment it is very important to find out if your apartment allows pets, if there is a size or age restriction and if they require a pet deposit. Some places do not accept certain breeds, which is of utmost importance to find out before you bring your new friend home.
After you have chosen a pet, remember to get ready to bring your new pup home and take care of him or her. Check around your home to make sure that you don’t have toxic plants inside or even outside your home. The best thing for your piece of mind & for your pet’s health is simply to not have any toxic plants around, inside or out of the home. Start thinking about the type of diet your new addition will require, for example some Vets recommend home cooked foods such as chicken & rice with a variety of vegetables, some prefer the pets to be on a ‘raw diet,’ & some Vets say to feed your new furry person whatever makes them happy, so then it’s up to you to make the final decision. Also decide where do you plan to keep your pet dog or cat, if it’s a dog, do you plan to crate him/her? Make sure that there is plenty of room for the furry person to stretch & stand up. Around your house or apartment you can setup areas that are off limits, or limits certain areas for the pets. Baby gates are wonderful to use if you have a room such as a large utility room (remember to pick up & wipe up all toxic chemicals!), or perhaps a half bathroom, etc.
Before you come home or on the way home after you get your dog or cat, get the collar & name tag along with the leash (mainly for pups 🙂 & remember to get the emergency sticker to place on a window to alert emergency personal of pets inside.
If the pet you choose is a puppy, be ready for sleepless nights and some possible property damage! When they’re small and are teething, dogs will chew on almost anything that soothes them, this could be any of your possessions, so be sure you keep your valuables safe, and get them something that is OK, & safe to chew on. Start a pet file to document the vaccinations & even their “well baby check-up’s.” Most shelters & breeders will have a record of vaccines that the pet has received, you should be able to get a copy of these (if getting your pet from someone off the street, make sure to get these as well & their contact information).
Now that your pet is home with you think about your work schedule. If you are unable to come home mid-day, a pet sitting service could help you potty train your pup, help walk it so it becomes leash trained & helps get on a schedule. If it’s a young pup, 2 visits a day may be necessary depending on your work schedule & your pet’s needs. Hiring a professional pet services company even a few times a week will help your new dog socialize & trust that there are wonderful people that come to visit & play with them. The pet services provided by a pet sitting company can also help reinforce training, be sure to inform the pet sitter of what the pet is expected to do, example: to sit before leaving the front door to go on a walk, or before getting a treat. Treats are the best part of the day for us all & some of the most fun for the pet sitter to do for pets.
This article gives you a lot to think about, but so very worth it, as many happy moments to follow.
PS: Take along your camera to have the adoption of you with your entire family 🙂
This article was written by Kate Zavala, owner of Fetch! Pet Care of Memorial-West Houston. Kate can be reached at 832-495-4899. Fetch! Pet Care is the largest national pet care company in the United States; serving 38 states in more than 2,000 cities and towns.