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It’s a tale as old as time. After months of listening to your kids’ begging, pleading, and surprisingly persuasive arguments, you finally caved and got them the pet they’ve been wanting. Your family is delighted, but they don’t fully grasp the responsibility that comes along with pet ownership.
Fortunately, you’re ready to do the hard work (as always). If this is your first family pet, there are a few things you’ll need to know before diving in. Read on for four helpful pet ownership tips—and maybe try to pass a few along to the kids if they’re willing to listen.
#1 They Need Their Shots
And not the kind that comes with salt and lime.
Whether your new pet is still a baby, or you’ve adopted an older animal, the first thing you should check is their vaccination status.
After you bring your furry friend home, you’ll want to schedule an immunization appointment with the local vet. Both young and old pets require recurring visits since many shots need boosters every few years. Vaccines can prevent many common pet maladies, including:
- Lyme disease
- Feline Leukemia
- Feline herpes
- Canine parvovirus
The Bottom Line: Proper vaccinations will keep your animal and your family safe. Your vet can determine if your new pet is up to date on their vaccinations, and administer them if they’re not. You can get a vaccine book to keep all their health information saved in a single spot.
#2 Keep Their Teeth Clean
Animals aren’t exactly known for their pearly whites, but they still need proper dental care. To prevent plaque, swollen gums, and even subsequent heart and kidney diseases, you’ll want to keep your pet’s mouth in pristine condition (or whatever the mangy mutt equivalent is).
A proper dental routine for your pet may include:
- Scheduling regular dental cleanings at the vet or groomers
- Giving them a quick refresher at home with an old toothbrush
- Feeding them an OraVet hygiene biscuit
- Buying them dental chew toys
The Bottom Line: You’ve heard of puppy breath, but puppy gingivitis is significantly less cute. Keep your pet’s teeth clean to help maintain their overall health.
#3 Watch Out for Pet Anxiety
Anxiety isn’t exclusive to humans. Many pets have a wide variety of anxiety triggers, including:
- Separation from mom (either real mom or human mom)
- Unfamiliar people
- New environments
- Traumatic memories from previous owners
- Startling noises
Both young and older animals alike can suffer from these anxieties, and caring for them is vital to proper pet ownership.
To keep your four-legged friend feeling their best, try stress relief supplements formulated specifically for animals. A CBDfx pet tincture is a potent, affordable option that’s safe for use on dogs and cats.
The Bottom Line: Don’t neglect your pet’s mental health. You rely on them for cuddles and emotional support when you’re having a bad day—be there for them in the same way.
#4 Get Them the Proper Identification
Obviously, your cat doesn’t need a passport or a driver’s license, but proper identification can prevent the tragic loss of a runaway pet.
Keeping your pet identifiable can be done in three easy steps:
- A fitted collar – As much as your pet might hate it, they need a good collar to keep their identification tags where they’re supposed to be. If your pet is wearing a loose-fitting collar, they may be able to slip out of it, or else get themselves caught on a branch or metal fence.
- Tags – Your pet’s tags will have all the information needed in the event they run away. This should include your address, phone number, the animal’s name, and possibly their veterinarian’s information. Additionally, your pet should also have a licensing tag, which states their registration with the city and the status of their vaccinations.
- Microchipping – As a backup, microchipping is a quick and easy way to find your pet on the off-chance they escape. Microchips are a digital form of permanent identification that is implanted in your pet’s neck by a vet. This identification can be scanned with a microchip scanner, or a mobile app like PetScanner (if compatible).
The Bottom Line: Your family waited years for this pet. Avoid the tears by having them properly identified in case they get lost.
Make Your First Family Pet a Happy One
Getting your first pet can be intimidating, but it’s nothing you can’t handle. After all, you’ve raised human kids—how much harder can it be to raise a fur baby?
You’ve done this before, and you can do it again. All it takes is the right tools, a little patience, and a whole lot of love.