There’s nothing quite as exciting as bringing home a new pet. A sweet and furry new member of the family! There are many benefits to owning a pet:
- They give unconditional love.
- Studies show that people who own dogs get more exercise.
- Children who grow up with pets in the home are less likely to suffer from pet-related allergies.
- Pets also aid in a child’s emotional development – they have someone to care for and talk to who won’t judge them. (There’s that unconditional love again.)
- Pets help people socialize. They’re a great icebreaker, and people who walk their dogs usually see and chat with other dog owners, creating a sense of community.
- Studies also show they lower stress levels in general, and just petting your dog or cat can actually lower your blood pressure.
- Did I mention the unconditional love?
So we understand the benefits of owning a pet, but before we all race down to the shelter to adopt a new cat or dog, it is important to understand the thought and preparation that should take place before you bring Fluffy or Spike home.
Veterinarian Dr. Karen Becker has a very thoughtful and thorough “Stress-Free Guide to Bringing Home a New Dog or Cat” that covers everything you need to know about pet-proofing your home, as well as covering other important topics like training, and pack hierarchy when you have more than one dog.
Making your home safe for your pet isn’t your only consideration, however. You should also think about protecting your furnishings and belongings from inquisitive puppies and kittens with tiny, razor-sharp teeth and no potty training. This might be a good time to roll up that antique Persian rug you inherited from your Grandma and put it in the storage unit! At least until Captain Fuzzy Boots is a well-trained, well-behaved member of the household. A list of things you might want to consider relocating to your storage unit, or higher ground in your home includes:
- Dolls, stuffed animals, and other meaningful toys (dogs and cats can’t always tell the difference between their toys and your children’s toys)
- Area rugs
- House plants (some might even be poisonous to your pet)
- Small and breakable decorations
- Oh, and keep your dirty laundry off the floor if you don’t want to come home with guests to find your underwear half-chewed on the living room floor.
Having said all that, I’ve never met anyone who valued their expensive sneakers more than their dog. Because the sneakers don’t give unconditional love.