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We are back with our First time Pet Owner guide for all pet lovers who are about to have a pet. Are you thinking of getting a pet for the first time?  Exciting, isn’t it?  But what are you getting, a cat? A dog?

For first-time would-be pet owners, the decision of what pet to get or adopt can be overwhelming.  There are so many choices.  Some might even be tempted to pick a frog or a tarantula.  Well, don’t.  Take baby steps.

Start with a pet that is familiar and manageable.  You can work on getting more and getting exotic pets one day.  For now, let's stick to the most straightforward options - a cat or a dog.

Things to Consider

Don't rush to the pet shop yet.  Let's consider a few things: Space, Time, Budget, and Character.

Space

  • Dogs usually need a bigger outdoor space, mainly medium-sized to big dogs.  Dogs need their daily exercise.  You need to let them out every morning so they can take care of business - potty! Potty business is a serious business.  Nobody wants to wake up in the morning to a stink bomb.  Being able to walk and run around is vital to a dog's health.  Of course, you can always walk them if you don't have enough space, but studies show dogs are happier when they are free to move and have their own space.  Tiny dogs might not need a bigger space, but a good and ample space is always beneficial for them.
  • Unlike dogs, cats are more relaxed, chill.  They need exercise just like dogs, but their exercise regimens don't need as much space.  Get them a cat tower or some toys they can chase or play with, they are happy.  You can borrow your son's toy laser and let your cat chase it for a few good minutes, and then they can go back to lounging around, sleeping, and eating all day.  Most cat owners create perches, ladders, and ramps too.  Cats don't need the same amount of exercise as dogs do

Time

Cats require less maintenance and time than dogs.  If you are single, live alone, and are busy building a career, getting a cat might be the best choice.  On the other hand, if you have a family or kids and always have someone at home to look after things, a dog(s) is a great option.  Dogs love company.   They can be stressed and depressed if they don't get enough attention and love from their humans.  They need to be cuddled, while cats mostly just want to lounge and be left alone.

First Time Pet Owner Guide
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Budget

Having a pet can be expensive.  Just like humans, they need regular checkups, healthy food, vitamins, and other things for comfort and fun.  Taking a good look at your monthly budget, making sure you have enough to provide for your pet’s needs should be a priority.  If you are not financially capable, you might consider putting off getting a pet.

Dogs, in general, are more expensive to maintain compared to cats.  Before you jump in, shop around, look at the prices for dog/cat food, toys, beds, and others.  Ask around or talk to your local veterinarian.  Pets need vaccines and vitamins.  Ask how much a vet visit costs on average.  What procedures or operations do they usually need in their lifetime? Getting a pet is like having a baby; you need to plan and budget wisely.

Character

Are you happy-go-lucky, or do you love to lounge in bed, reading a book all day?  Pets need your time and attention, some more than others.  It is crucial to match your character to the pet that you are getting.  It has to be a good match.  Remember, pets have feelings too.  They can feel neglected and unloved.  They can not tell you what they need, so you have to be attentive and sensitive to them.

Dogs are fun-loving and playful.  They love your touch and cuddles.  They like happy and sunny surroundings.  Cats, on the other hand, like relaxed environments where they can just stay in their corner and be pensive.  They do like human touch and cuddles, but they also like their space.  They will come to you when they want attention, whereas dogs can't get enough of you.

Like having children, getting a pet is a long-term commitment for you and a lifetime one for your pet.  You can’t change your mind at any time and decide you don’t want them.

Ultimately, your gut will tell you if you are a dog person or a cat person.  With all things considered, the heart wants what the heart wants. Not enough studies or guides can tell you what to get when your heart already knows.  Sometimes, meeting a pet can also lead to the decision.  When your heart connects, there is nothing you can do about it. Pets change lives.  They can change you for the better.

Good luck, first-timer!.  May your first lead to a second, a fourth, and many more pets. Share your feedback with us in the comment box below. Is your cat sleeping too much?.

Author - Karol Joyce
Author Bio - Karol