Veterinarian in Costa Mesa provides first time pet owners with tips to make you a great pet parent
Having a pet is a great experience for many families, but it is a responsibility that should not be taken lightly. Taking care of an animal involves more than just a loving heart. It also takes time, patience, and education. If you are a first-time pet owner looking for tips to make you a great pet parent, Dr. Rand Spongberg and the team at All Creatures Care Cottage in Costa Mesa, CA can help you take charge of your pet’s wellbeing to improve his or her quality of life.
If you have just decided to add a pet to your family, take time to consider which type may suit your lifestyle and personality. Training a puppy requires time, patience, and plenty of chew toys. Energetic kittens need safe play toys and to be shown where the litter box is. Animals in general need supplies such as food, bowls, and beds. Speak with your vet for specific information on the best types of food for your animal. It is also a good idea to schedule an appointment with the vet for a baseline check up, information on how to keep your pet active, and how to trim your pet’s nails. This visit may also include information on heartworm and parasite prevention to keep your animal healthy.
During your initial appointment, your vet can provide information on how to properly and safely care for your new addition. Common tips for a first-time pet owner include:
- Keep your pet safe and comfortable in the home environment
- Provide proper identification for your pet
- Train your pet
Keep the home environment safe and comfortable
Your house is now your pet’s home as well. It is important to make him/her feel comfortable and safe. Always keep the water bowl full. Keep the cat’s litter box clean and accessible. Provide your pet with a bed or blanket. Clean the food and water bowls, and bedding regularly. Dirt and germs build up and can make your pet sick.
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Just as you may have baby-proofed the house for a child, special precautions need to be taken for a pet too. Anything hazardous that your pet may try to eat should be removed from your house or at least placed out of reach. Items such as chocolate, Xylitol, small toys, household cleaners, and even certain plants are toxic for pets. Beware of squeaky pet toys or toys with small parts on which the animal could choke.
Keep pets’ play areas clear of electrical cords and strings in which they could become tangled. If your pet will spend time outdoors, make sure there are no holes in the fence. The fence should be secure, so the pet cannot get loose. As you did inside, make sure there are no toxic lawn or pest chemicals within reach.
Identify your pet
No one wants to think about losing their pets, but accidents can happen. To prevent losing your pets, make sure they have comprehensive identification. At a minimum, your pets should wear a collar with identifying tags. The tags should contain the animal’s name and the owner’s name and number.
Microchipping pets is a good way to keep them safe. Visible tags are always a good idea, but they can fall off. A microchip is a tiny computer chip that contains a unique identification code. The chip is painlessly placed under the skin. If the animal shows up at a clinic or animal shelter, the identification code can be read with a scanner. When the code is entered into a database, the pet owner’s information can be pulled up. Remember to update your information on the database if you move.
Train your pet
Pet owners often have the misconception that animals magically grow out of the puppy phase and start behaving. Although animals may calm down with age, they need guidance to learn how you want them to act. Training them when they are young creates positive habits. You can try obedience classes, private lessons, trainers, or animal behaviorists. Basic training is often available through general obedience classes. If your dog needs additional training, private lessons may be beneficial.