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Getting a family pet: 4 top tips to make sure you don’t end up in the dog house

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Taking home a new family pet is a hugely exciting moment that adds a lot of fun to everyday life. You’ve been through the process of choosing which type of animal suits your family and lifestyle, you’ve debated the pros and cons of different breeds, you’ve done the shelter visit or found a breeder you can trust – and now it’s almost time to bring your new addition home to meet the family. You need to ensure that the environment you bring them into is safe, comfortable and well prepared, so that you can just get on with getting to know your new pet and bonding. We’ve got some ideas here to help make getting a family pet a lot simpler that it might first seem.

Kitten playing with a mouse toy on a bad.

Make your home safe

Dog looking up with a lead on.

There are lots of hazards for pets in a typical home environment, so start by going through and systematically pet proofing your home before your new pet comes through the door. It could be removing hazardous or easily breakable objects, sealing off your rubbish so pets can’t get into it, locking away any poisons such as cleaning products or gardening chemicals, removing toys with small parts, storing electronic cables off the ground and making sure any medications are out of reach. 

Give your new pet their space 

getting a family pet: puppy in a red and white polka dot mug.

Coming into a family environment can be a little bit intimidating and stressful at times for any animal, so it’s very important to make sure that you have prepared a space that is just for them. Before getting a family pet, you may want to decide to restrict your pet to a certain part of the house from the off – dogs and cats not being allowed into the bedroom is pretty usual. You also want to ensure that they have a bed or a habitat that is somewhere they can be alone if it’s all getting a little overwhelming when they first come home. Prepare a cosy pet bed or set up their cage with plenty of food, water and bedding to help them relax. Source your pet care products ahead of time from a site like Time for paws and have them delivered so everything is ready for their arrival. 

Provide some toys 

getting a family pet: 2 cats playing with cat toy

Having lots of toys to hand can help your pet settle, take ownership of something and give you something to help them play. Dogs need plenty of items they can chew – this also helps to get them not to chew things they shouldn’t – while cats like things they can chase around. Hamsters and small animals should have access to toys in their cages and also something to help them exercise, whether that’s a wheel or an exercise ball. Pets like to explore their new environment and they use their mouths to do that, especially when they’re young. So make sure you remove things which shouldn’t be chewed but also provide something they can chew on to satisfy this natural urge. 

Secure the premises 

getting a family pet: 2 dogs - 1 black and 1 white - walking side by side

When new to a home, a pet can get easily confused and if they manage to get outside this can be bad news, especially if they don’t recognise your place as home yet. Before getting a family pet, do make sure that all doors and windows are fully secured and brief the family on the importance of not leaving them open, especially if it’s summer. This also goes for the toilet – keep the lid down so curious small animals can’t fall in to it – as cars and dogs often try to drink out of it. 

With a little preparation, your home can be ready to welcome a new furry friend in no time!

We really hope you liked this – but if you want to explore our animal content a little bit more, why not take a look at these?

  • Tips for helping when a child is afraid of animals, and getting a pet can help (it worked for us),
  • Reasons why WE decided to get a cat for the family – and we still have them too, love them to bits, and
  • Some rather gorgeous dog colouring pages for adults and kids, so that if you do decide to get a pet, you’ve got something gorgeous to go with them!

We trust you will want to subscribe to us after all that gorgeousness (!), so do pop in your email address below.

Take care and see you again soon people!

Getting a family pet graphic: small cat reaching for cat toy.

Helen is a mum to two, social media consultant, and website editor; and this site is (we think) the only Social Enterprise parenting magazine! Since giving up being a business analyst when juggling travel, work and kids proved too complicated, she founded KiddyCharts so she could be with her kids, and use those grey cells at the same time. KiddyCharts has reach of over 1.1million across social and the site. The blog works with big family brands (including travel) to help promote their services, as well as offering free resources to parents of kids under 10. It gives 51%+ profits to Reverence for Life, who fund a number of important initiatives in Africa, including bringing running water and basic equipment to a school in Tanzania. Helen has worked as a digital marketing consultant (IDM qualified) with various organisations, including Channel Mum, Truprint, Talk to Mums, and Micro Scooters. She loves to be creative in the brand campaigns she works on. Get in touch TODAY!

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Wednesday 25th of September 2019

These are really great tips for when you get a pet. It is so important to think of everything when you want to get a pet because they are a lot of responsibility


Monday 23rd of September 2019

This is such a great post. I totally agree with you that getting a pet is a serious decision and there are preparations that we should consider.

I have 3 dogs and it is important that we give our new pets their space. I remember when I got my first dog. He was so scared and just wanted to stay in just one corner. For the first few days, we just let him stay in his preferred space so that he won't get stressed.


Friday 20th of September 2019

OMG i feel like everyone needs to read this! Nice tips!

Cyndi Buchanan

Friday 20th of September 2019

Great tips! We just got our first pet this year and we are in love. We made sure to allow them time and space to get to know their new home so that they felt safe.


Friday 20th of September 2019

Thank you so much for sharing your insights! I think so much more goes into having a pet than meets the eye, especially when you have children. Safety is the most important thing for all involved.

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