Finally! The day when you’ll bring your new animal friend home is drawing nearer and nearer! With all the excitement going on and the interviews plus finalizing the adoption process, it is too easy to forget to make sure that you have everything your pet will need once it gets home with you.
You must be thinking, “That’s not a problem! I’ll simply go shopping!” But do you know what things to look for when shopping for pet supplies? Can you reuse some of the things you already have that belonged to a previous pet? What are pitfalls to avoid?
In this article, we will address all the questions above and more! While it is true that making your home ready for some animals may require little or no preparation at all, it still pays to look up things and do your research to make the animal’s life with you as pleasant and as positive as possible.
Remember how we touched on creating a good first impression in the previous chapter? Well, how would you feel if someone made you wear a horrendous outfit? Getting the wrong collar size or wrong type of food for your pet is even more offensive than that! Surely, you would want the animal to be as comfortable and to feel as welcome as possible, right?
Here are our compiled guidelines and tips regarding pet supplies so you don’t commit some pet faux pas:
Get The Food Part Right!
Whatever the animal is used to eating and what the animal should be eating are two very different things. As a new pet parent, you may get all giddy with shopping for pet supplies and go for the most expensive or the most recommended type or brand of food for your animal friend - that can go wrong and we’ll discuss how below.
Moving to an entirely new environment is stressful enough, how about not wanting to eat or not being able to eat what’s given to you and you can’t say anything about it?
Getting a new brand of food may be for your pet’s own good but he or she does not know that. Think of this scenario: all the animal knows is he’s used to eating brown pellets and now he’s being given a mushy brown cubed thing. He does not know what to do with it. He stares at it, looks at it, and checks it out with his paw. You get stressed about why your pet isn’t eating and why he is acting up…then you start thinking that this pet is not your perfect match. See where this is heading?
Making sure that you get the exact same brand and type of food the animal is used to eating (at least initially) is a highly important aspect of helping the animal adjust to living with you.
Can you change this later on? Sure! But the process of changing the animal’s diet or food should be a gradual step by step process, not to be treated as some sort of switch which you can flick on and off whenever you like.
Food is one of the very basic needs, right between water and shelter. Since water is usually not a problem, simply make sure that you shop for at least a week’s worth of the animal’s food to ensure the adjustment process goes smoother. Let’s not forget treats too!
Not All Shelters Are Created Equal
This may not apply to all pets, (especially for cats and dogs) but for the rest of adoptable animals, the right shelter is highly important. You can’t place an eel in a gallon tank, and similarly you cannot place a horse in a garage and expect it to be happy.
Find out what type of shelter is best for your pet and make sure to get one that is safe. What do we mean by this? Some animals like to gnaw and can gnaw their way out to freedom - so making sure that the cage or hutch you get for those kinds of animals are not ones they can easily gnaw their way out of. If you are using a temporary wooden shelter, at least make sure that the type of wood used is not harmful to the animal. Forgetting to check on this would be like handing peeling lead-laden paint to a baby for a snack.
For pets that have to be kept inside a terrarium or an aquarium, ensure that you get a decent sized one which the animal can grow into. This will save you money in the long run as opposed to having to buy another when the animal gets bigger. Take a look at temperature control, filters, and other accessories. More so, try to pick one that is easy to clean.
How about if you have a limited budget? Well, head on to eBay or a similar site. If you worry about buying a used cat dome, doggy gate, and similar items, there are very cheap ways to sanitize them in the comfort of your own home. Most sellers sanitize and disinfect used items too so it would just be like getting something from the thrift store. In the end, try to look for sturdy brands and high quality items which you can snag for cheap. If you cannot afford a posh shelter for the pet, it doesn’t mean that it has to look shabby.
Shop For The Right Accessories
Okay, we all know that almost all pet parents has been tempted to get cute little things for their animal friends but for pet accessories, comfort and safety should come first before looks.
Food Bowls and Dispensers - Let’s talk about food bowls for dogs. Do you know that there are specific types or designs of bowls depending on how long the dog’s muzzle is? There are also specialized ones for those who are fast eaters and for tall dogs. The same goes for other animals. Even water dispensers for caged animals should be the right one for the cage and the pet’s drinking style.
Leashes, Collars, and Harnesses - Pet accessories would’t be complete without leashes and harnesses. There are those made for cats, dogs, and other animals. Try to get one that the pet is used to or as close to it as possible. Don’t make a cat wear a heavy collar with the cat’s full name spelled on it in some metal buttons if the cat has never worn something like that before. It would look cute, yes, but the animal won’t ever trust you again to place something around its neck if it is not comfortable to wear.
Clothes and Footwear - How about pet clothes? If you’re getting a dog or a cat, you may have aspirations of having the pet dress up in sweaters, booties, and all the cute things pets are seen wearing in social media like FB, Twitter, and Instagram but don’t get carried away. Maybe try just one thing, like a cape which attaches to a collar before going crazy with pet clothes. Some animals do not care about getting dressed up and would put up with anything you want, while for others, this may mean an open declaration of war. You surely don’t want that.
Complete The Basics!
When we think of basic needs, we often think that this only includes food, shelter, and water. Though that is right to some extent, an animal needs more than that to live and not merely survive. The pet needs mental stimulation (treats and toys), safety (identification plus right collar/harness), and of course, a bit of tidying up every now and then. Make sure that you have all the basics covered by checking off everything below.
Treats and Toys - Lets talk about bribes A.K.A treats and toys, are they advisable? Of course they are! However, you won’t want to spoil the animal so please keep it at a minimum.
Sometimes new pet parents feel sorry for an animal with a history of being deprived so they shower the pet with toys and treats. That does more harm than good. How so? Most animals do not understand emotions and thoughts the way we understand them and this is a good thing. Why? Because if you say no to a pet who’s begging for a treat, it won’t write it down to its diary that you withheld something it wants and then go on to plan your demise (just kidding!).
Animals don’t bear grudges and they live in the present. They don’t get hung-up about something unless their human guardian rewards them for acting out a negative behavior. Lesson to be learned: It is okay to give treats but it is also okay not to always give in to begging. Your animal friend will thank you for it!
Grooming Supplies Galore
Grooming is essential and yet it is often overlooked. If a pet is a long haired one, not being groomed can result in skin problems, matted fur, and infections. Untrimmed nails (for some dogs) can get painful, and living in a dirty aquarium is like being forced to live in a dump site.
You don’t want your animal friend to get sick, right? Then you have to do your part and get to shopping for grooming supplies! This can be as simple as buying just one nail clipper and pet shampoo for a dog (a very low maintenance one) or as complex as needing to buy special combs, special scissors, detangling shampoo, dry shampoo, dental sticks, and the list may go on and on.
If you’re adopting a cat, make sure that you have kitty litter and at least two litter trays in strategic areas of the house before the cat gets home with you. This is extremely important especially if you have other cats. The new cat will either never use the litter that is being used by your existing kitty or would feel very weird about it and this could result in your other things around the house getting soiled. We guess it is almost the same as some people not being able to do number 2 in public restrooms or in another person’s house. The litter box etiquet is very important when it comes to cats, so you better be taking notes!
Update The Animal’s Identification – Whether it may be a microchip or a collar, making sure that your animal friend’s identification is updated is very crucial. Some cats and dogs may try to run away or will panic and then run away when newly adopted. This is why such a layer of precaution (not really under pet supplies but you get us, don’t you?) is highly important so you can get your friend back.
Get a First Aid Kit for Your Pet - Not all animals qualify for this (we mean, there is no emergency kit for a carp, right?) but if you have a furkid like a dog or a cat, having a pet emergency kit can come in handy especially if the pet is allowed outside.
Include Some Emergency Food Too! - If you live in an earthquake, hurricane, or disaster-prone area, make sure that you update your emergency pack to include some supplies for your newest family member. It is better to be ready than sorry.
We hope that this installment of the Ultimate Guide To Pet Adoption series has been helpful for you. We know how intimidating the tips above are and of course it may not be possible for you to do all of them. Just try your best and things will be okay. At the end of the day, it all boils down to you wanting to be the best of all best friends your new animal buddy can have.
Be sure to check out the previous parts of this series and let us know how this article have helped you. Procuring pet supplies is not just about shopping and getting the most expensive things money can buy. It is about assessing what your pet needs and doing what you can to meet those needs. For more articles like this, be sure to sign-up to our newsletter and head on to our Facebook page to meet other animal parents like you. Until next time!