Lifestyle,  Pets,  Web Exclusive

Advice on “Proper Pet Care” for New Owners 

Two cats at home.
Picture of foster kittens taken by the author

Pets are the greatest. It seems as though people have sought animals as companions since the dawn of time, so rather than break from tradition, why not enhance your life and choose a furry friend of your very own? But be warned, pets aren’t all sunshine and rainbows, you need to do your due diligence and make sure you’re taking good care of them, so they can take good care of you. For all the new pet owners out there, here’s some advice on “proper pet care” to help you prepare for your new family member: 

Find a Good Veterinarian, and Go for Annual Check Ups! 
Just like people, pets often require vaccinations, dental care, medicine, operations (typically for their reproductive health), and annual physical check-ups to maintain a satisfactory quality of life. It also doesn’t hurt to get their fur groomed, or their nails trimmed, every once in a while. If you’re thinking of getting a pet, you should seriously consider the financial commitment of taking care of one properly; a healthy pet is a happy pet.  

Hit Up Your Local Pet Stores, and Stock Up on Supplies! 
Treats are a great resource to always have on hand when you’re first training your pet. Vet clinics and pet stores will carry a variety of wet and dry food brands. Do your research and try them all until you find one that sticks. Speaking of sticks, while simple objects from nature may suffice for a time, it’s a good idea to have some man-made toy options available for your pet to play with at home. A bored pet is likely to get into mischief, or destroy all your personal belongings. Only get toys that are specifically manufactured for animals, and be sure NOT to buy ones that have plastic pieces (that pets can choke on), long threads (they could strangle themselves), or round bones (they can get their jaw stuck in it).  
If you’re a first-time pet owner, here’s a handy shopping list of materials you may want to purchase: food and water bowls, treats (ones that double as teeth-cleaners can come in handy!), toys, a collar, an ID tag, a leash, a harness, a dog/cat bed, pet shampoo, nail trimmers, a hairbrush, outerwear (for extreme hot or cold temperatures), disposable pads (for potty training), and a kennel/crate (should you need to transport your pet somewhere).  

Two golden retrievers, one of them a puppy, with their owner at home.
MacGregor and Ellie (siblings) hanging out together. The picture is taken by the author.

Take Your Pet Out Often and Socialize Them! 
Going out for exercise is obviously very important, and while (to the disappointment of many) society has yet to invent a cat park, there are many dog parks available South of the Danforth that your pup will be eager to explore. From West to East, there’s: Withrow Park, Monarch Dog Park, Merril Bridge Road Dog Park, Cassels Park, and Norwood Dog Park. Many of these locations contain off-leash areas. While this can be fun, you shouldn’t let your dog run wild without proper training. It’s important to have good leash-etiquette: make sure your dog comes when you call them, don’t let them jump up on people, and don’t allow any aggressive behaviour towards other dogs. Your fellow pet owners will thank you for it! 
While this article is a good place to start, it’s important for new pet owners to do their own research, take the professional advice of their Veterinarians, and make their own decisions on the wellness of their pet. It’s a big responsibility that many take on happily, because animals and people both have a whole lot of love to give. 

Leave a Reply