How to Prepare for Bringing Home a New Pet: Tips for First Time Pet Owners

Posted by David Hallum on

Deciding to add a pet to the family can be a difficult decision. Whether you’re single and seeking companionship or have kids and want them to learn responsibility, adding a pet is as much about them as it is you. You want to make sure the animal you bring home is a good match for your household. Various animals and breeds have different temperaments, as well as care needs, so you want to ensure you’re making an informed decision before heading off to a shelter or rescue organization to fall in love.

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Choosing the right kind of pet

Whether you live on a farm and want a horse or rent a tiny apartment and are considering a hamster, your lifestyle will indicate which pet might be best for you. The amount of space you have and how often you’re planning on spending time with them can determine whether your new pet is happy. If you work long hours and live alone, having one pet might be cruel but two can keep each other company. However, if you want a puppy or kitten that needs lots of attention, you’ll need to be able to be home frequently to let them out and play with them. If you have children, consider their temperaments and energy levels and find a pet that matches. You also need to think about potential allergies to fur, feathers or hair and how much grooming and exercise space your pet will need. Also consider the animal’s lifespan as some pets, such as parrots, can live up to 50 years.


Preparing to bring your new pet home

Once you’ve determined which type of animal is best for you, you’ll want to prepare your home before you meet them. You’ll need food and water bowls, collar and ID tag, a cage or crate, leashes or harnesses, beds, toys, food, and possibly litter or cage filler. You need to find a local veterinarian, as well house and obedience training, if necessary.


If your new animal is a puppy or kitten, plan to keep them contained in the kitchen, bathroom or other small space away from stairs and elevated decks or porches until they’re house trained. Be sure to clear the space of any chemicals or medicines they might ingest, as well as toxic plants. Place toys for them to chew on and play with and remove any electrical cords, plastic bags, or other potential choking hazards. Close toilet lids. Plan for plenty of play time to socialize them to being held, and practice bathing and trimming nails so they get used to these behaviors. Give treats for good behavior such as chewing on toys and not furniture and have scratching posts for new cats. Be prepared to walk puppies approximately 20-30 minutes after meals, using a command such as “Go potty,” and give treats when they respond appropriately. Remember that punishments aren’t understood by your animal so reward good behavior instead. If your new pet is fearful of things in your home, introduce them slowly and give them food, water and affection around the items so that they associate them with happy memories. Allow shelter rescued animals extra time to adjust to their new surroundings and realize that this is their new home.


Finally, if you’re getting a dog and work long hours, you should consider hiring someone to help out with dog walking to ensure your new pet gets plenty of exercise. Tips for finding a good dog walker include:

  • Are they bonded and insured and can provide proof? Do they have positive reviews and client testimonials? Do they offer a contract or service agreement?
  • How quickly do they reply to calls or emails and how much advance notice do they need to schedule your pet? What days and hours are they available?
  • How long will they walk your dog and do they walk your pet alone or with other clients’ dogs? Do they give you daily updates?
  • Can they provide leash training if your dog needs it? How familiar are they with your breed?
  • What is their policy for inclement weather?


Being a pet owner can be a wonderful experience. With some careful thought and planning, you can be sure that whatever pet your family falls in love with will be a good match for your home.

Guest post by Jessica Brody at 

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