If you are getting a pet for the very first time, then you will probably be trawling the internet for information on exactly what you need to keep your newest family member happy and healthy. However, the pet market is literally flooded with products, some essential and some downright eccentric, so figuring out exactly what you need for your pet can be a bit of a minefield.
Pet essentials are very different from luxuries, and making sure that you have the essentials covered is the very first step in responsible pet ownership. Here is our guide to the 10 must-have products that every pet owner should have.
Even if you intend on your pet spending most of your time in and around your home, there will be times when you may have to transport him further afield.
Crates are the best form of transporting your pet. From large varieties for dogs to smaller styles for cats and rabbits, crates are a secure environment that keep your pet in and the outside world, well, out! They are often relatively effective in protecting your pet in the event of an impact, and can ensure that he is unable to distract you from driving if you are in the car. Some animals quite like to have their crate indoors too as it acts as a private little space for them to escape to, and the enclosed sides help them to feel secure.
You should make sure that your chosen crate is big enough for your pet to stand and change position comfortably, and don’t forget – if you have a canine companion he will still require bathroom stops on a long visit!
It may sound like an obvious purchase, but many new owners just rush out and grab the first cat/dog/rabbit food that they can lay their hands on. In fact, there are a great variety of pet foods on the market today and each has its own blend of vitamins, minerals and nutrients to benefit your animal. Before making a purchase you should do your research and/or get a professional opinion from a veterinarian as to the best food with which to feed your new pet. It is also worth finding out exactly how much you should be feeding him too so that you avoid inadvertently making your pet gain too much weight.
Don’t forget that you need something to serve their food and water in too! Make sure they are an adequate size and that you clean them regularly to prevent them from becoming a haven for bacteria.
While a rabbit or lizard may be happy to curl up in some soft shredded newspaper in their cage, most dogs and cats prefer more luxurious sleeping arrangements for their overnight accommodation!
Cats like to have their own special territory and a blanket or mat that is just for her will help her to feel more secure. Cats also usually prefer to sleep off of the floor and in an enclosed space with just one opening or access point. Again, this helps them to feel safe and protected and enables them to relax. Specialist cat beds are available, but if you are on a budget then a cardboard box with a hole cut out one side will probably suffice.
Dogs like an oversized and overstuffed cushion, mattress or specialized dog bed that provides them with plenty of warmth and cushioning. Make sure you buy one big enough for him to stretch out a little!
Toys may seem like luxury items, but in fact they are essential to the learning, development and socialization of your pet. Studies have shown that pets who become bored and significantly more likely to exhibit undesirable behaviour at home such as scratching, biting and a lack of toilet training. Toys help them to learn new commands, understand how to behave with other dogs and their human friends, and keep their brains active and healthy!
Unfortunately, pets are just as likely to suffer an injury or have an accident as the members of their human family! Having a first aid kit in your home (and your car too if you travel with your pet quite often) can be extremely beneficial for dealing with emergencies that may arise, even if it is just a case of patching your pet up until you can reach a professional veterinarian.
A typical first aid kit includes a lot of things you would expect to find in a human version including gauze, adhesive tape, sterile saline wash, tweezers and a digital thermometer (a pet version is necessary).
Pet hygiene is an extremely important part of keeping them happy and healthy. Items such as soap, shampoo, conditioner and clippers are crucial purchases. You should avoid human varieties of cleaning products as these may not be suitable for your pets’ skin, and instead ask your veterinarian for a recommendation as to what cleansing brands you should use. Ear cleaning and nail clipping are two of the most important things that you can do to look after your pet’s health. However, both can be quite tricky for a new owner. If you have any concerns or questions regarding grooming or caring for your new pet, arrange an appointment with your veterinarian for some friendly advice.
Our pets are a part of our family, and if they wander off, become lost or even stolen, it can be absolutely heart-breaking. Getting your pet adequate identification can help ensure that your animal gets returned to you if something should happen.
In addition to collars and tags, it is extremely worthwhile investing in microchip identification. It is quick, easy and reliable, and a painless procedure for your pet. Many veterinary surgeries have microchipping offers available from time to time too, so it doesn’t have to break the bank!
Unfortunately, pets naturally attract a lot of germs, bacteria, bugs and pests. They are also prone to bad smells and less than hygienic surroundings. Inadequate cleaning can leave your house smelling unpleasant, and at risk of harbouring a whole variety of diseases. Deodorizers, pet sprays, disinfectant and surface cleaners can help to keep bacteria at a minimum. Make sure you clean your pet’s main dwelling space as well as washing him/her regularly too.
Fleas are also a natural element of pet ownership and can be present in even the most spotless home or cleanest animal. Ensuring that you have flea protection from the moment you bring your pet home is essential to prevent an infestation of these unpleasant pests. Not all flea treatments are suitable for all animals, so make sure you consult with your veterinarian or another animal healthcare expert to ensure that you get the right preventative for your new pet.
Let’s face it, life isn’t fun without a few treats thrown in! Whether its edible goodies or a new toy to play with, treats are a wonderful thing to share with your pet. They help them to learn what positive behaviour is, they encourage them to play and enjoy themselves, and they also support the growing bond between you.