Top tips for new pet owners

Top tips for new pet owners Photo Credit: demandaj via Compfight cc

If you haven’t owned a pet before, then taking care of it can be a little challenging at first. Naturally the challenges depend on the kind of pet you have. The kind of challenges you will need to face will be very different for a golden hamster than they are for a puppy or a cat, so here we will focus mainly on cats and dogs.

Insurance

It is important to consider pet insurance even before you take possession of your new pet. If you have just paid several hundred pounds for puppy, then you will want to protect your investment, and even if you have been gifted a kitten you won’t want to be saddled with expensive vet bills. There are various kinds of cover to consider so find out the one that is best for you and your budget.

House training

There is an old joke in which goes “Do you know, the other day I saw a cat dig a hole in the garden, do its toilet in the hole, and then fill the hole up with earth”. The response that is usually elicited is “Yes, of course, all cats do that!” to which the joker responds “But not with a spade!”

Generally kittens are trained to use a litter tray, and often they pick up tips on how to do so from their mother. It’s important to ensure that the litter box is accessible and that your kitten knows where it is. You can show your kitten how to scratch the litter by gently manipulating her front legs with your fingers, and place her in it at the times of day that she typically needs it, for instance in the morning, after eating, and after waking up. Be patient; there will always be accidents so don’t get cross with your cat, it will only make things more difficult.

House training dogs is more difficult. You will need to start it as soon as your pet comes to your home. Puppies urinate frequently so you will need to take them outside around every two hours and frequently during the night. Make sure that you recognise the signs that they want to go; for instance they tend to look a little restless and start sniffing to find a suitable place.

Always take them outside after they have eaten or if they have woken up from a sleep. Take them outside and tell them to “go now”, and praise them when they obey your instruction (ignore them when they don’t). Remember, accidents will always happen so don’t get cross when they do.

Be prepared

Before you pet comes to your home, make sure that you have all that you need to cater for their needs. Ideally they will need a place of their own to sleep, for instance a cushion and/or a basket, they will need their own personal feeding and drinking bowls, and they (especially puppies) will need toys. If you fail to give a young puppy its own toys, then it is likely to take to chewing your furniture, shoes, handbag, or anything else that takes its fancy.

Cats like to scratch, and often it is your furniture to which they become very fond of scratching. They do it for two reasons; to condition their claws and to mark territory. The best way of preventing them from scratching your sofa is to get them something that is even better to scratch, for instance a scratching post scented with cat nip.

Do you have pets? Do you have any other tips for new owners?

In collaboration with More Than

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