Advice For First-Time Pet Owners


Advice For First-Time Pet Owners


Now that you’ve decided to have a pet, you have a few decisions to make. Before the fun can start, you need to choose the right pet for your lifestyle, prepare your home and budget in advance, and learn how to acclimate your pet to your home. Read this advice to get started.


First things first

Which Pet Is Best For Me?

In order to figure out which pet to get, you’ll need to answer a few questions that can help you make the best choice.


  • Why do I want a pet?

    Are you looking for quiet companionship in your downtime or a pet that fits your active lifestyle? For example, companion pets can reduce stress and provide calmness for people in recovery and that can contribute to their journey to sobriety. Pets allow addiction survivors to show compassion for another living creature and develop a new way of life.

  • What time commitment do I have for a pet?

    If you work long hours and frequently travel, a dog or cat may not be a good fit. You’ll probably need to provide lots of kennel care as well as daily feeding, walking and other activities. All pet owners need to think about who will care for your pet when they are not around.

  • What is my budget for pet care?

    A pet is going to cost you in dollars, too. You’ll need vet visits, vaccines, food, toys, habitats or other living areas, and possibly more accommodations. For example, your pet might require a fence or need training. AVMA’s article on money and budgeting for pet owners can help you.

  • What pet can I have in my home?

    Can your new pet fit in your home? Does your area have pet restrictions? Will you need to block off certain areas of your home? If you don’t own a house, Irvine Company Apartments offers some apartment-friendly pet options.

  • Does anyone have pet allergies?

    You or your family and friends may need to get tested if they don’t know.


If you need more help, Deliberate Magazine shares how to find the right pet for your personality. For those getting a dog, learn how to select the right breed from VetStreet. And you’ll need to make some extra considerations when selecting a pet for a child. Learn more in this post from


Preparing Your Home For Your Pet

There are many steps you’ll have to take to acclimate your pet to your home. Before he gets there, be sure to have plenty of food and extra treats on hands, as well as having his space or habitat set up. If you are bringing home a puppy, you’ll need to “puppy proof” your home. Read this guide from Cesar’s Way for help.

Be sure that you’ve got all the necessary items, like cat litter or a dog leash, in advance. Finally, do these items in advance too:

  • Schedule a vet visit as soon as possible and be aware of the nearest pet hospital.
  • Find a groomer, if you pet requires it, and a local pet store.
  • Get your dog’s license.
  • Consider neutering or spaying your dog or cat immediately.


Bringing Home And Bonding With Your Pet

On the day you bring your pet home, it’s important to stay calm. Animals can sometimes pick up on our nerves. It’s also important to get your family on board by instructing them how to care for, treat, and handle your pet. You should set up boundaries and rules, particularly if you have a pet you are going to train. Learn how to introduce your pet to your family at Petfinder.

Finally, make the most of your time with your pet. For larger pets, you may want to take a few days off as soon as you bring them home. Spend time petting, playing, and doing all their regular activities together and you’ll find you’ve bonded soon enough!

Preparing for a new pet in advance reduces your stress and helps you have a seamless transition as you add this new member to your family.


by Jessica Brody (