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How to Prepare for Your First Pet

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Adopting your first pet? Pets come in all shapes and sizes, but they all can bring untold joy to your life.  However, it is important that you take steps to make sure your new pet’s transfer to your home is comfortable and stress free. Here are some easy steps to help make your home pet-friendly:

Establish Ground Rules

Before bringing a pet home, be sure to make agreements with the rest of your pet’s caretakers (family, frequent visitors, roommates, etc). Decide in advance how feeding will be handled, who will take the pet outside or who will clean the litter box. Other considerations should include deciding who makes veterinary appointments, if the pet will be allowed on furniture, and where the pet will be allowed to sleep. Make certain everyone is on the same page with these items and any other relevant factors in your home. Consistency is important for any pet, but getting everyone on the same page also ensures that your pet isn’t overfed or left too long inside without a bathroom break.

                You will also need to coordinate what your pet’s command words will be. Establishing the language used to issue commands is important so that your pet understand what its caretakers want without confusion.

Pet-ify the Home

Purchase important supplies for pet care such as food and water bowls, chew toys, grooming supplies, scratching post (for cats), bedding, collar and leash, crate/kennel, a gate or gates, and an odor neutralizer (just to be safe). If you a bringing home a puppy or kitten, find a food suited for a pet their age/weight.

You can also get ahead of many common frustrations by pet-proofing your home. Tape loose electrical cords to baseboards, store household chemicals on high shelves, remove plants (some common plants may be poisonous to pets), remove rugs, remove breakables, set up the crate or kennel where they will sleep, and install gates in doorways to help keep the pet where they are allowed.

Getting off on the Right Paw

Remember that from the very beginning, consistency is important. Once you have adopted your new furry family member, make certain you are carrying events out how you would prefer them done in the future. For example, on the ride home, keep your pet in the back seat either in someone’s arms or in a carrier or crate. When you get home, be certain to take your pet to his toileting area (litter box or yard) so he can become familiar with the area where bathroom breaks are allowed. Keep a reliable schedule for feeding, toileting, napping, and exercise. Make sure your pet becomes familiar and comfortable with solitary confinement. Solitude may be new to your pet so they may vocalize or whine. Do not give in and comfort them or you may reinforce a bad habit of vocalizing any time they are left alone in order to receive attention.

Once you have the basic routine established for your pet, it is important to get him updated or to start his basic wellness care (vaccines, spays/neuter, microchip, deworming, etc). At TCAP, we aim to make this part of the process as affordable and easy as possible. TCAP clinics are located all throughout DFW, to schedule an appointment for your pet’s spay or neuter, call us at (940) 566-5551. If your pet need vaccines, a microchip, or a variety of other services; visit one the many TCAP clinics during their walk-in vaccine hours for services. You can see all of TCAP’s hours and locations here:  https://texasforthem.org/hours-locations/vaccinations/.