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Are you thinking of getting a pet for the first time? Are you worried you wouldn't know how to provide proper care? Don't worry – we have put together a handy list of things every new pet parent must know about:
- Pet proofing your home – Pets love to explore their surroundings in a number of ways – licking, smelling, jumping, eating and scratching. A lot of pet owners don't factor in the amount of pet work they need to do before they pick out an animal. As a pet parent, you need to ensure that items like cleaning agents, chemicals, shoes and clothes are either out of your house or out of reach from your furry friend. Keep the floor and countertops clear, lock the cabinets and tuck away the electrical cords out of reach. If you are getting a dog, buy chew toys and if it's a cat, get a bunch of scratching posts.
- Creating a schedule – Routines are the best way to encourage good behavior in your pet. They are not very different from children in this regard. For starters, potty train your pet. Kittens and puppies tend to urinate quite often on account of their small bladders. If this happens with your pet, don't fret. Clean it up and show your pet where the potty should go (litter box for the cat and outdoors for the dog). A daily exercise schedule is equally important. You should encourage your pet to participate in it at least 15 minutes a day. Last, but not the least, come up with a feeding schedule and make sure that you stick to it. Use high quality pet food and measure out the portions so that your pet learns portion control early on.
- Watch out for behavioral problems and practice positive training – Ensure that you are consistent with the training regimen from the very beginning. Make it clear to your pet that you are the pack leader and insist on good behavior even when doing the simplest of daily activities, like eating dinner or preparing to go outdoors. If you encounter any behavioral issues, consult with the vet. He/she can help you determine whether the behavioral problems are caused by an underlying health issue. Also, find a way to deal with the problem of separation anxiety early on. Many pet parents unknowingly encourage this behavior by spending every moment of their weekends with their pets and leave them alone for the major part of the day during weekdays. Avoid this by leaving your pet alone with toys for a few minutes each day and gradually increase the alone time. Start doing this the very first day you bring your pet home.