How to Prepare for a New Pet

Published on February 6, 2020 by arothstein

Vet tech cares for pet

If you want to make a difference in the lives of animals and the people who love them, earning a degree and working as a vet tech may be the career for you. You can earn an associate degree and become certified to work as a veterinary technician in less than two years. One of the issues vet techs help pet owners with is how to prepare for a new pet. If you just adopted a new pet, here’s what you need to know.

Is Your House and Family Ready for a New Pet?

Bringing a new pet into your home can be exciting for your family. Everyone in the family must understand how to prepare for adopting a pet. If you have young children, make sure they’re comfortable around animals. Parents must teach children the appropriate way to interact with pets and understand that even pets have boundaries.

Get Everyone On Board

Make sure adopting a pet isn’t a passing notion. Everyone in the family must commit themselves to having a pet, including your children. The pet should be a good fit for everyone in the family. For example, tiny dogs aren’t the best choice for families with toddlers.

Responsibilities as Pet Owners

Children shouldn’t be expected to be primary caregivers. The adults in the family should prepare to provide most of the care for the pet and allow children to help. Pets offer companionship, teach children responsibility, and offer emotional support to family members.

What are the Different Options of Pets?

Although there are many different pets to choose from, some suit a household better than others. Some of the most common pets are dogs, cats, birds and fish.

Pet Dogs

Dogs devote themselves to their owners and are always ready for an adventure. If you live an active lifestyle, a dog is a perfect companion. When they’re properly trained, dogs can fit in with any family and enjoy the companionship of their owners.

Pet Cats

Cats are wonderful pets for animal lovers that like a quiet pet to sit with them and enjoy their company. Cats are the ideal pet if you live in an apartment and don’t have time to go for walks.

Pet Birds

If you choose a bird as a pet, some species tend to be more sociable, gentle, and make excellent companions. Here are some of the friendliest bird species:

Consider the Cage

Choose a cage large enough to accommodate your pet bird. Clean droppings and spilled food out of the cage each day. Offer different types of food and treats and buy toys that stimulate your new friend. Birds even enjoy listening to soothing music and love exciting objects to look at, like a mirror.

Pet Fish

Tropical fish are easy to care for and fascinating to watch. You should cycle the tank before the fish make it their habitat. Cycling breaks down waste and makes the water safe for your fish. Removing about one-third of the water from the tank and replacing it with fresh water each week makes it a safer environment for your fish.

Research the various types of tropical fish and how big they’ll grow before you purchase them. You want the tank to be large enough. It is also important to consider how different species may interact with one another, since not all types of fish can cohabitate. Some of the best tropical fish for beginners are Fantail Guppies, Neons, Swordtails, and Zebra Danios.

The Benefits of Each Type of Pet


Dogs are wonderful companions and are protective of their owners. Anyone with emotional issues can benefit from adopting a dog. All dogs love to be with their owners whether they are relaxing at home or going to the dog park.


Cats are great for helping to relieve stress and helping you to keep calm in stressful situations. Cats are sensitive and can pick up on their owner’s mood. If you’re having a bad day, a cat is enjoyable company.

Birds or Fish

Birds and fish are excellent options for people who want a pet that’s low maintenance. Tropical fish are easy to care for as long as the aquarium cleaned regularly, the water is the correct temperature, and you feed a quality fish food. Birds are easy to care for but love attention from their owners.

What Options Are Available for Getting a New Pet

A new pet owner has many options. They include pet rescue organizations and animal shelters. It is important to adopt new pets to stop puppy mills and breeders from over-populating the world with animals.

Pet Rescue Organizations

There are some excellent options for getting a new pet besides visiting a local pet shop. Thousands of animal rescue groups care for stray, relinquished, and abandoned pets around the country. Volunteers tend to run non-profits who provide temporary foster homes until permanent homes can be found. The volunteers who care for these pets give them a lot of love, socialize them, provide veterinary care, training, and handle behavior issues.

A lot of rescue groups are a local group of volunteers in a community. The well-known organizations like Best Friends Animal Society and ASPCA handle rescues around the country and provide care for pets until they’re adopted. Other organizations like Rescuers Without Borders handle international adoptions for abandoned dogs and place them with families in the U.S.

Although rescue organizations form primarily to find homes for dogs and cats, some organizations care for small animals like birds and rabbits. Other rescue groups take in farm animals until they can be re-homed. Rescue groups rely on donations to provide the veterinary care, spay/neuter, and necessities that these pets need until they can be adopted.

Adopters usually fill out an application, pay an adoption fee and allow a volunteer from the rescue to conduct a home check to ensure the pet is going to a home where it will get the love and care it needs.

Animal Shelters

Municipal shelters run by cities or towns are an excellent place to adopt a pet. The local government funds shelters or animal control facilities. Dogs and cats live onsite, in kennels. Animals in every state are relinquished to shelters each year, and they all need homes. Shelters are usually open to the public at certain hours. The adopter pays a fee for the pet’s spay/neuter and vaccinations.

How Many Rescue Pets Are in the U.S.?

According to the ASPCA, approximately 6.5 million animals enter shelters in the United States each year. The number of dogs is 3.3 million, while the number of cats entering shelters is 3.2 million. Awareness of the homeless pet population has increased and has resulted in more pet adoptions or returned to their owners.

How to Take Care of a New Pet

All pets have basic needs as humans do. Whether you adopt a dog, a cat, or a small animal species, here’s how to prepare before you bring your new pet home. Cats and dogs need a supply of fresh water that’s easily accessible. The food you buy for your pet should be formulated for their age, size, and breed. Cats and dogs have different nutritional needs from humans and should be fed a diet that meets those needs.

Pets need a safe environment. You should prepare for changes in the weather if your pet is outside a lot. Cats and dogs need shelters that protect them from the sun, rain, and cold weather. Insulated pet houses are excellent to keep in the yard or on a patio. If pets are mainly indoors, they need comfortable places to rest and observe the activity in your home.

Pets consistently need love and attention from their owners. Adopted dogs and cats may need extra care, so they learn to feel safe and trust their owners.

Spay or Neuter Should Be A Priority

Dogs and cats should be spayed or neutered to help control the homeless pet population and to help prevent disease. Spay/neuter surgery can prevent certain types of cancer and prolong your pet’s life. Aggression in male dogs can be curbed when they’re neutered early. The surgery may also keep them from wandering from home.

Why Pets Need Full Vaccines

Most veterinarians recommend core vaccines for cats and dogs and non-core depending on the pet’s lifestyle. Rabies is the disease that all cats and dogs should be vaccinated against. The core vaccines for dogs are Adenovirus, Distemper, Parvo, and Rabies. A cat should be vaccinated for Distemper, Herpes, and Rabies.

Creating a Calm Place for Your Pet to Sleep

Proper crate training gives your dog a sense of security. A crate is a dog’s den where they can sleep or relax. Dogs also love warm, fleecy-style beds. Cats love places high up where they can feel safe and be part of the activity. A cat tree or a tent-style bed is an ideal place for a cat to sleep. Pet’s beds should be elevated off the floor and in areas that are free of drafts.

Make Sure Your Home is Pet-Proof

Kittens and puppies are curious about new surroundings, but older cats and dogs can be too. Make sure that cleaners, chemicals, and medications are out of reach. Use child-proof latches on cabinets and keep all wires and electrical cords out of reach. Make sure pets can’t reach plants that could be harmful and put all food away when you’re finished eating. A lot of foods that humans can safely consume are toxic to pets.

Introduction of a New Pet to Family Including Other Pets

When introducing a new pet to children, make sure they understand that they must be gentle and speak in a soothing voice to their new pet. When a new pet is being introduced to pets in your home, make the introductions short. The smaller animal should have a place to go if it gets frightened. Pets should be rewarded with a treat for good behavior but shouldn’t be punished.

Want to Learn More?

Did learning about how to prepare for a new pet interest you? Ready to start a program to become a veterinary technician? With an Associate Degree in Veterinary Technology, you’ll gain the knowledge and skills you need to start an entry-level career as a veterinary technician. Broadview University has been part of the community for more than 40 years, so we’ve developed connections that can help move your career forward. After completing our accredited degree program, you’ll be eligible to sit for the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). Passing the VTNE allows you to become a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT), a designation that will give you a competitive advantage when you enter the job market.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a veterinary technician and working in veterinary technology.

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