The Essential Guide for the First-Time Fur Parent
You’ve decided that 2022 is the year you finally become a fur parent and you’re probably ready to hit the ground running: The pet bed is made, the custom bowl has arrived, and most importantly, you’ve done your research.
But if you’re like most first-time pet owners, you know that one can never be too ready when it comes to fur parenting. So before you officially welcome your new four-legged friend into your home, feel free to go over our guide and check things twice—we’ve covered the basics to make this transition as smooth and easy for you (and your pet, of course) as possible.
Find the right vet
Choosing a good veterinarian should be at the top of your checklist. Here are a few pointers to help you in your quest to find the perfect fit:
Check with your friends who have pets for vet recommendations. Remember to ask about more than just the veterinarian. Get insight into location, rates, and even the way staff members interact with pets. If you feel like the clinic will be a good fit, call and set up a time to come by the facility to evaluate for yourself.
Visit the premises
Observe whether the clinic looks and smells clean. Does it feel like the place could use a thorough scrubbing or does it smell clean and inviting?
This is also the time to ask questions, so fire ahead. Ask about their office hours, the regular and emergency services they provide, what equipment they have (and don’t have) on-site, and the like.
Pick your match
Having a hard time making a final selection? When in doubt, feel it out! Vets have different personalities—some are warm and chatty while others take a more straight-to-the-point approach. In any case, your vet should be willing to hear and address your concerns with compassion. Your vet, after all, is an important partner in making sure your pet lives a long and healthy life.
Select your pet’s food
Before you shop for food, find out what your new pet has been eating, then decide whether to stick with it or transition to a new food. When deciding, take into account factors such as your pet’s age, size, breed, activity level, food allergies, as well as price changes and product discontinuations.
If you are switching to a new food, it’s important that you do so slowly and gradually. While your pet may eagerly devour the new food, your pet’s digestive tract may not be as enthusiastic about the change. To prevent intestinal upset and potential consequences such as diarrhea and vomiting, mix in the new food with the old food over the course of a week or more.
Introduce the crate
Set up a crate and make it comfortable for your pet. Add a comfy blanket and some fun snacks. By starting your pet with a confined space like a crate, you’re giving them a safe space of their own, as well as limiting their potty accidents since they usually won’t relieve themselves in a space they rest in.
Crate training with cats isn’t as common as with dogs, but it’s just as helpful for cat owners. For instance, training your kitten to associate the crate or carrier with positive experiences will allow you to quickly confine and transport your cat whenever necessary.
Observe and reinforce good behavior
The first few days are a period of adjustment for your new pet. Introduce the house rules to your pet through positive reinforcement. Reward good behavior with praise, treats, or their favorite toy.
As your pet settles in, observe their body language such as movement and positioning of the eyes, ears, and tail. Having trouble decoding their movements? Fret not, we’ve broken them down here.
Now that you’ve checked everything on this list, we’re confident that you’ll make a great pet owner. The path to fur parenthood might have been tough to navigate, but it’s worth every trouble and you’ll know it once your pet finally steps inside your home.
- Bringing Home a New Dog: 10 Tips for First-Time Dog Parents
- Finding a Veterinarian
- How to Crate Train Your Cat
- How to Find the Best Veterinarian
- How to Transition Your Pet to a New Food