5 Tips for New Pet Owners

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You’re excited about getting a new puppy -- but you’re a little anxious, too. As a first time pet owner you may have several questions. What type of pet should I choose? How do I pick a breed that fits my lifestyle? Will my pet need health insurance? If you’re considering bringing a new pet home, it is important to understand the responsibility (and joy!) that they bring.

Here are five expert tips for new pet owners from Dr. Michael Salkin, a veterinarian on JustAnswer.

1.) Make sure the type of pet you're considering is appropriate for your lifestyle. For example, a high energy dog may want to exercise multiple times a day. If you’re working 15 hours a day, this might be a challenge. Make sure your work schedule accommodates a pet. Behavioral problems such as separation anxiety can arise which can result in eliminative and destructive behaviors.

2.) Understand that many pets have lifespans that can span generations. For example, large parrots can live for more than 40 years. Ensuring continuity of care for pets with long lifespans should be a concern.

3.) Calculate your financial obligation. This includes room and board, licensure, training, and medical expenses. Consider purchasing pet health insurance which can be the difference between having a serious malady addressed and euthanasia.

4.) Consider everyone who will be in contact with the pet. A 100 lb. dog may not be appropriate when a toddler is present and at risk of being bowled over. People known to be allergic to dogs should consider a cat and vice versa. Hairless breeds are not necessarily hypoallergenic to sensitive people. A reptile might be a better choice for these folks.

5.) Understand that the great majority of pets are sentient beings and have needs beyond shelter and feed. Social contact is essential for good health in pets. Dogs are pack animals and you're assumed to be a member of their pack. Remember, all pets deserve to be treated with kindness and respect which is why the mental status of a prospective owner should be considered. Compromised individuals might need to be supervised when handling pets in order to avoid either from becoming harmed.

We know that getting a new pet can be a challenging experience, which is why we’re introducing a new Pet Care Package. Get in-depth answers from verified veterinarians who can help you deal with confusing behavior, medication options and much more.