Always show up to life prepared, especially if you're getting a pet. This motto really is so tried and true. Think about all of those tests you took where you brought an extra pencil, just in case. Your classmate probably ended up needing it, and you became sort of a school supplies hero. Whether you're thinking about getting a cat, dog, hedgehog, or another oh-so-cute companion, there are some things to know before getting a pet that'll make you the perfect animal parent in the long run.
Like any relationship you have in life, it's very much work hard and play hard. No two pets are the same, and will require different kinds of attention and care (You can't quite play fetch with a fish.) You'll want to learn all the ins and outs of what your new -- possibly furry -- friend needs before bringing them to their forever home.
Maybe you had a pet growing up, so you sort of know the ropes and responsibilities that come with have an extra family member. What's different now, is that you're the adult. Your pup will be looking at you with those adorable eyes when they need something instead.
So, go for a little shopping spree at the pet store for toys and treats, and study up on what your new roommate needs to live their best lifestyle. These eight things are a great place to start so that you're prepared for your new pet.
1. They Need To Be Fed On The Reg
Everyone likes to eat, including your new pet pal. Sure, they might not need three meals a day like we do, but you'll want to make sure you're regularly giving your special someone a snack throughout the day.
If you decide to get a chameleon, their dish of choice might be some worms or crickets. To you it might be a little disgusting, but to them it's pretty much gourmet. You'll find yourself wandering down one more aisle in the grocery store every week.
2. They Need Lots Of Love, And Then Some
Lots of love and attention is so necessary. Your new furry friend in particular is going to seriously upgrade your afternoon naps, and likely want to cuddle up next to you every time you sit down in a chair.
Every pet has a personality, so some might be a little shy or not feel totally comfortable with people. Give them some time to warm up to you, and know that these animals still need to know they're appreciated just the same.
3. They Need Certain Spaces
We all have our lifestyles, including your most recent roommate. Be prepared that your new pet will have habits of their own. For example, according to The Hamster House, these little guys like to run around on their wheel in the middle of the night.
To make your friend truly feel like they are living in their forever home, you'll want to cater to these habits -- but also make sure that you match up a bit in your routines. If you're an introvert, consider welcoming a dog into your life who will be a little low-maintenance. If you're an extrovert, maybe you'll get an animal with a little more energy. It's a two-way street that you need to be prepared to walk down.
4. They Can't Be Left Alone For Too Long
Seriously, spending some quality time with your pet is so important. Especially when you first bring them back to your space, you'll want to watch them for awhile to make sure they don't get into any trouble and feel completely comfortable in their new forever home.
If you think you're going to be traveling a lot, consider signing up for a pet service. It's also important to be totally honest with yourself. Evaluate if this is the best time in your life to welcome a furry friend into it. These buddies rely on you to take care of them and love them on a consistent basis.
5. They Might Need Some Training
When you first get your pet, they are not going to know all of those cool tricks you see on social media, or that chewing your shoes isn't OK. It'll take a little bit of training to get to this level.
Maybe you teach your pet some skills on your own, or take them to an obedience school to learn the basics of sitting and rolling over on signal. Practice makes purr-fect, so don't get discouraged if this takes a little bit of time to master. Just make sure you're prepared to put in the effort for the best pet experience.
6. They'll Cost You Some Cash
Having a pet is worth every penny, but you will want to budget in some extra expenses every month if you're thinking about bringing one home. Between food, toys, and all of the initial stuff you need to buy just to get your space set up -- they can honestly be a little expensive. You should make sure in advance that you'll be able to support your companion's lifestyle.
7. They'll Need Check-Ups Just Like You
Let's get physical. Every year you go to the doctor, and your pet will need check-ups like that, too. Before taking home your turtle (or whatever pet you decide on), you'll want to scope out the best vets in the area and make sure you have your foot in the door, in case there are ever any problems.
On a daily basis, you'll also want to keep note of how your animal is reacting to things. If they tend to have a big personality, but are then oddly quiet for a week, make sure that they're getting what they need and feeling OK. Sick days are just something humans experience, but lucky for them, they don't have worry about taking off of work.
8. They'll Be Your Best Friend
You'll land yourself a new best friend forever when you bring home your new pet. They're the ultimate companions for cuddling, snapping selfies, and all of life's adventures. Maybe you're an avid hiker or love being outdoors -- your dog will love spending time in the sunshine with you. Or maybe you just have a solid crew of friends already -- your hedgehog will be so social and want to meet them all.
A lot of people get pets because they want the company. You'll surely never feel alone when there's a sweet pet around. Just make sure you're prepared for everything else that comes with the pet experience.