How to Be a Great Fur Parent
Making the decision to own a pet can present a very exciting feeling! Pets offer a great sense of companionship and they are the world’s best representation of what it means to love unconditionally. Upon bringing your new addition to the family home, you will need to understand your new responsibilities as a pet parent. Owning a pet requires love, patience and attention, so here are some tips to aid you along your transition.
Prepare a space
Where will you house your fur baby? Will they be spending more time in the house or outdoors? If your animal will be in the house, you must dog-proof your living space and make sure your home is safe. Keep in mind animals love to chew on things such as cords, shoes and just about anything on the floor or that they can access easily. Upon bringing them home you will have to teach them boundaries immediately, but it will take time for them to adjust.
It is wise to have a designated food area for their food and water bowls. Most people tend to keep them in the kitchen, but where you place them is purely up to your discretion. It is important to keep them in a static area, so your pet will know exactly where to eat, or where to go for a drink. You may also want to purchase a crate or a kennel to house your pet indoors.
Patience is key
If you are receiving your animal while it is still a puppy or kitten, it is important that you keep in mind the process of training them. It will not happen overnight, but remember, repetition is key. You will have to train them on where to go for the restroom, be it outside for your dog, or in a litter box for your cat. Puppy pads will prove to be a saving grace for your carpet, as those first few weeks or months can get a little messy. Be patient with your fur baby and show them lots of love as they are trying their best. Be sure to reward good behaviour with a snack or treat, and stray away from giving them human food as it may cause complications with their health.
You will also want to teach your animal boundaries, such as not jumping on people that walk in the house, or not to jump on furniture. When they do something that you disapprove of, place them down gently, and say “no” firmly. When they do the right thing, reward them with a treat and affection. Trust the process and know that in time, they will learn all the boundaries and phrases you tell them. If you are having a hard time training your dog, pet stores and other pet establishments offer services to teach animals obedience and boundaries.
Find a good veterinarian
Taking great care of an animal may feel similar to taking care of a child —to a certain extent. As a pet owner, their health is your responsibility, so you want to make sure you keep them up to date on vaccinations, worming and grooming. An effective way to find a good vet is simply by word of mouth. You can ask your friends who are fur parents where they take their animals and make a decision from there. Vet visits can sometimes be expensive, so it will also prove worth your while to find and use an adequate pet insurance.
Owning a pet is truly one of the most rewarding feelings of a lifetime. Pets offer routine, comfort, and loads of unconditional love, which make them a great addition to almost anyone’s life and a great addition to a family. Dogs are such great companions and can nurture us through a tough transition of our own, a physical or mental illness or through addiction recovery. Remember that the beginning stages of pet ownership may be a bit challenging, but patience and repetition will get you both over the hump. As with anything, relax, go slow, and enjoy your new companionship!
(Courtesy of Jessica Brody. July 2018)