8 Important Things to Do Before Adopting Your First Pet

Are you thinking about adopting a pet? Congratulations! Choosing to adopt a dog, cat, or other animal can bring you a lot of joy and wonderful memories for years to come. Bringing home a brand-new family member unprepared, however, can be stressful for you and for anyone else in your family.

Knowing what to expect and properly preparing for your new furry friend before bringing him or her home will greatly help in taking away your stress and will also help your new buddy feel right at home. Follow these 8 tips before you go out and find your new best friend!

Make Sure That You’re Ready – First and foremost, realize that adopting a pet isn’t just about having an adorable animal in your everyday life – it is also a big lifestyle change and demands various responsibilities. Before you start searching for your new pet, ask yourself if you are financially and mentally ready to own a pet. Make sure that you or any of your family members will be home enough to care for your pet, if anyone has any pet allergies, and if owning a pet will fit your budget and lifestyle. If you’re frequently gone from the house or make it a habit of staying out late, a pet might not be right for you right now.

Find a Responsible Breeder if You Want a Purebred – When you begin your search for a purebred pet, make sure that you locate a responsible, knowledgeable breeder. You can visit the American Kennel Club online at www.akc.org to help you find a reputable breeder.

Consider Adopting From a Local Shelter – Purebred pets make wonderful companions, but so do those who are in shelters. When you choose to adopt a pet from a rescue organization or your local shelter, you really are saving a life. Visit the shelters nearest you to find the perfect pet for you and your lifestyle.

Get the Basics – Before you bring your new pet home, it would be a good idea to have a few basic items at home ready for their arrival. Be sure that you have a bed, food and water dishes, food, a leash if you’re adopting a dog, and kitty litter and a litter box if you are adopting a cat. Don’t forget to bring a collar when you find your new buddy, and get an ID tag made as soon as you’re able!

Establish Family-Wide Ground Rules – Set some ground rules for everyone to follow and be sure that everyone agrees and works together to enforce them. This will make your pet much less confused on what he or she is allowed to do. For instance, if you don’t want your pet on the couch, make sure that no one allows him or her on the couch.

Help Your New Friend Adjust – Over the coming days and weeks, your pet will be adjusting to his or her new life with you in your home. You might notice some symptoms of anxiety including increased bowel movements or hiding behind furniture. Remember to be patient and understanding. Introduce him or her to new people slowly and remember to be easy-going if your pet is feeling anxious about new people or places.

Make Plans to Visit the Vet – You will want to see your vet during the first week of your adoption, if not right after you adopt your pet. Remember to bring any and all medical and vaccine records that the shelter or rescue organization provides you. Be sure to ask a lot of questions, and consider getting your pet microchipped.

Pet-Proof Your Home – Pet-proofing is a time-consuming endeavor; however, it is well worth doing so that your pet remains safe. Buy a trashcan that your pet can’t open, and consider putting up baby gates that limit access to certain rooms of the house. Cover up electrical outlets, put safety locks on kitchen and bathroom cabinets, and close your doors whenever you can. Finally, don’t forget to put away anything valuable. Young pets like to chew on several objects, so put away money, clothes, jewelry, shoes, and any other chewable objects.

We hope that this list will help you be more prepared before you adopt your next best friend! Don’t forget to keep your home especially safe by making sure that your home insurance is up-to-date as well. Give your agent at Madison Mutual Insurance Company a call today at 1-800-766-MMIC to make sure that your policy is updated for your needs!