What new pet owners need to know by Jacqueline Valencia
The beginning of the pandemic saw a rise in pet adoptions. It was soon that almost everyone in my neighborhood had acquired a new puppy or cat. I became one of those people in June of 2020. It wasn’t just the pandemic, but somehow after fostering the kindest labrador retriever the stars had aligned to bring me this little piece of heaven.
So now you have a new pet in your home. Cat or dog, there are several things you must keep in mind (hopefully you’ve thought of these things before you adopted), about this wonderful new addition to your family.
First of all, that is what this new pet is, a wonderful new addition to your family. A dog or a cat will take patience, an ongoing amount of check-in time, and love. Cats require space and time to get to know you before they find their way to trusting your hand, your lap, or your presence. It takes a lot of treats and attention for cats to come out of their shell, especially if they’re rescues.
With dogs there’s a lot more on the plate. Dogs are very emotional and need guidance. You need treats, you need obedience training or rather, positive reinforcement training, you have to figure out the proper food and treat mixes/schedules, and most of all, you gotta learn their toileting and needs to avoid separation anxiety. These days, the pandemic has a lot of families working and schooling from home. It’s probably pretty easy to pay constant attention and give your dog some sort of routine. However, after things eventually go back to an out-of-home setting for work and school, your dog will lack your constant presence. They will miss you and might bark all day, destroy furniture, or get themselves into trouble trying to find you or just downright missing you. Therefore, you must give your dog the confidence to be independent at home while you are away, especially if you’re home and have the time to do so. I would recommend looking into some online obedience classes or asking your vet what would be the best route to prepare your pup.
Do keep the above things in mind with your cat as well. Most cats are just happy to have a soft place to fall or hide, however, some cats thrive on routine and the day to day with their humans. You might face a few sprayings or destructive behaviour if you do go back to work outside of home. No matter what anyone says, cats are trainable (treats!) and enjoy a challenge.
What is the most important take I would like to leave readers with though is that pets are forever. They are not decor, they are not for just the moment to make you feel good. Pets are part of your family and if there are behavioural issues you must do your best to provide guidance and time and space for your family member to adapt. A responsible pet owner would have a team of good veterinarian, if necessary, a dog or cat kennel aka daycare, and a good list of classes or workshops under their belt to accommodate any sorts of issues that come up with a new cat or dog.
Welcome to 2022, fellow pet owners. My own learning curve took a few years with a dog and not much time for my cats. However, my family is my family and I would do anything in power to give them a happy and secure forever home.