Ask any pet owner the moment you welcome a four-legged friend into their home – they become your perfect pint-sized companion! It only takes a matter of minutes for them to become a much-loved member of your family (In fact, many children tend to prefer their pets over their siblings).
However, it is important to remember that, while cute, they are also a living being that requires a lot of support, care and attention – and as a parent, the vast amount of this responsibility will lie on your shoulders. They aren’t really a gift that you can give to somebody on their birthday – as they come with a lot of responsibility and commitment. With that in mind, here are some tips and tricks you can use to introduce a pet into your family home – making the transition as smooth as possible for all involved.
1: Have a conversation ahead of time.
Your children may have been asking (*begging*) you to buy them a pet for years on end. However, it is essential that you let them know exactly what this entails. Everybody needs to be prepared to pull their weight when it comes to taking care of the animal – whether that relates to taking a dog for a walk or getting up early in the morning to feed them. Discussing responsibilities ahead of time is a great way to get started on welcoming a pet to your home – as everybody will know precisely what is expected of them.
2: Adopt, don’t shop.
Wherever possible, it is important that you adopt your pets from local shelters instead of breeders unless they have the appropriate licences. This is because many unlicensed breeders focus on earning money as opposed to providing their animals with the proper care and support they need. This means that your pet could already be battling a series of health conditions before you have even welcomed it into your home. By adopting a pet from a shelter, you are giving an animal a second chance to find a loving, welcoming home.
3: Research, Research, Research.
Before bringing any pet into your home, you should also complete plenty of research into the animal itself. For example, you should ask yourself the following questions.
- Will you have to take them for a walk?
- How much food would they eat on a given day?
- How much will this cost?
- Do they have any special dietary requirements?
- How much space do they need in your home?
- Will they spend a lot of time outdoors?
- How much would their pet insurance/veterinary bills cost?
- What injections do they need?
4: Buy all of the pet supplies.
Once you have done the proper research, its time to get your hands on all of the necessary tools and supplies you need to welcome the pet into your family home; for example, you may require the following:
- Dry and Wet Pet Food. Remember that you should buy food that is suited to the age of the animal you are adopting, such as puppy/kitten food or senior pet food.
- Snacks and treats. These are particularly useful if you are going to be training your pet at all.
- A Pet Bed. While some animals may find themselves sleeping on the edge of your bed, it’s important that they also have their own space.
- Plenty of toys to encourage them to play and develop.
- A collar. If you are adopting a kitten/cat, you may also want to buy a seresto cat collar which can help target fleas and mites – keeping your pet healthy and happy.
- A lead for when you are taking them on a walk.
- A pet carrier for long journeys or visits to the vet.
- Grooming utensils, such as a pet shampoo and a brush.
5: Set up your home.
Once you have stocked up in all of the supplies that you need, its time to find a way to turn your home into a pet-friendly paradise. For example, you should ensure that your pet has its own space where it can go if it is feeling stressed or overwhelmed. Keep their bed and toys here, and ensure that it is in the quieter area of your home. Providing them with their own space is particularly important when the first enter your home – as they are experiencing a vast amount of change and may need to spend a little time alone. You should also ensure that you pet-proof your home – by installing cat flaps or similar products.
6: Share the duties.
It’s important that every member of the family plays a role in taking care of the pet, ensuring that everyone holds up to their earlier promises and takes on some responsibility. For example, you could put together a ‘pet care rota’. This means that you should take it in turns to take care of your pet – feed it, clean it and take it for a walk, as opposed to one person doing all the hard work. Write down the rota at the start of the week – and display it somewhere where everyone can see.
7: Shower your pet with love.
Once you have completed the above steps, you are ready to open your doors to a pet. The only thing you have to do moving forward is to treat them with the love, care, and attention they deserve. Remember, it might take them a little while for them to settle, especially if they are separated from their mother for the first time, but once they have calmed down – they’re sure to fall deeply in love with you in the same way you love them.
Remember, bringing a pet into your home is a heavy commitment. You have to be willing to provide them with the care and guidance they need for several years – even during difficult times. If you are not prepared for this level of responsibility, it may not be the right time for you to adopt an animal.