Did you welcome a pet to your family over the holidays? Maybe you felt like the time is finally right and you can now take on all the awesome (yet important!) responsibilities of being a good pet owner and went to get your first animal companion. All the initial preparation can be overwhelming but trust us when we say it’s definitely worth it.
Pet Peeps is here to help you cut through all the unnecessary noise and zero in on what matters to your pet’s health and happiness. Here are four essential tasks that every new pet owner should prioritize on their to-do list:
Find a good vet within your area
Whenever you have urgent health concerns or questions about your pet, your veterinarian will be the first person to contact. Need help on which dog or cat food to pick up? Worried over the excessive scratching they’re doing? Unsure of whether to vaccinate or neuter your pets? Ask your vet! They are experienced professionals with a wealth of knowledge on animals and their care and wellbeing. Don’t postpone looking for a local vet who you trust and can visit regularly — an annual checkup is a must!
Make sure your pet is ID’d
Unfortunately, so many of our wonderful pets become lost year by year. According to an APCA survey, almost 1 in 6 pet owners will actually lose either a dog or cat within a 5 year time period! Don’t risk it–it’s easy enough to strap on an ID collar on your pet or have them microchipped, which is a tiny device that stores valuable information about your pet. Not only does it identify your pets, but it can also hold your contact information, so keep it updated.
Buy essential items (plus toys!)
Dogs love to chew and cats absolutely need to roam around and scratch things. Save your favorite bags, shoes and furniture from their boredom by keeping cat scratching posts or dog chew toys nearby. Other must-have items include pet crates, bedding, leashes, food and water bowls, collars, and gates. Grooming and cleaning supplies are important too! Cats also require a litter box, and it can’t hurt to have a perch as well.
Train early and regularly
A well-disciplined pet makes all the difference in the world. If you practice basic training techniques as soon as they arrive, and keep at it often, you’ll reap the rewards soon enough. Simple commands for dogs such as stay, site, down and heel for a few minutes each day are great practice. Litter box training is also important. Don’t forget that it’s a learning process though, so patience and forgiveness is crucial. Positive reinforcement works!