Bringing a Pet Home
Choose a pet that is appropriate for your living environment. Because every pet is different, not all pets are suitable for new parents. The size of your living space, as well as the resources you have available to care for a pet, are important considerations. Think about how much time and energy you can devote to a new pet.
Pets come in a variety of breeds. A Chihuahua, for example, requires less space and activity than a large dog such as a Great Dane. Consider the costs of food, messes, and veterinarian visits for various breeds.
Exotic creatures, such as parrots and large lizards, are expensive and require large cages. Smaller animals, including hamsters and fish like guppies, are good choices for beginners.
Keep in mind other people you live with, particularly children. Some dogs are better family pets than others. Animals like birds often bond with one person and may bite others.
Find a responsible shelter or rescue to get a pet.
Once you have an idea of what kind of pet you want, look for pets in your area. Read about these places online, then tour the facility to make sure they treat animals well. Ask sellers questions, including about the adoption fee. Then, spend time meeting some of the animals to judge their temperament.
For pedigree pets, talk to the breeder. Ask about the dog’s history and view its living conditions. A responsible breeder will be able to give you extensive documentation about the dog’s background.
Read reviews from other customers along with the shelter or rescue’s mission statement, but don’t adopt until you have had a chance to visit the place in person.
There are pet-finding services online that allow you to search for animals in your area.
Take care of any paperwork you get when adopting a pet. Store important documents in a safe location in your home.
Choose a pet and come up with a name for it.
Once you pick a pet to care for, the fun of being a pet parent begins. Come up with a name that fits your pet. Find inspiration in your pet’s appearance and personality or try adopting a name you heard elsewhere, such as on TV. Pick a name as soon as possible so other people know what to call it.
For some animals, such as dogs and cats, you will need the name to legally register your pet with the local government. Veterinarian offices also ask for a name to keep track of your pet’s health.
Don’t rush while choosing a pet. Looking is difficult when you see a wide range of cute pets to choose from. Responsible pet parents wait until they’re sure they have found the right pet for them.
Creating a Safe Environment
Remove any potentially dangerous or delicate items from your pet’s play area. Other pet parents may talk about “dog-proofing” or “cat-proofing” their home. Protecting your pet from dangers such as sharp items, exposed cords, toxic plants, and anything else it can swallow is an important part of being a parent. Pets are very curious, so put away breakable items and block off areas that are off-limits.
Any type of pet has the potential to do damage to your home. Rabbits, hamsters, birds, and even lizards may damage valuable clothing, electric wires, and other items.
Create safe spaces and play areas. For example, plants like azaleas and tulips are toxic to curious cats and dogs, so don’t leave them out for your pet to explore.
Completing Full Registration and Safety Plans
Submit registration and identification forms for your pet. If you have a dog or cat, print out a name tag to put on its collar. Most pet stores have tag printing services that make this quick and easy. For all types of animals, fill out adoption papers or registration forms according to the laws in your area.
Many areas require you to register with the government as a pet owner. Dogs, cats, and exotic animals often need to be registered even if you aren’t keeping them as service animals. Ask the shelter or rescue agency what forms you need to complete to become an official pet parent.
Shelters and rescue agencies will often help you fill out registration forms. If you’re still unsure what you need to do, ask them or get information at your local Animal Control office.
Consider getting a microchip for your dog or cat to track it in case it gets out. Veterinarians will also put a microchip in a pet bird or put a tracking band over its leg.