Spring often makes us think of welcoming new lives into our world. You may be expecting a new child, grandchild, or pet. While pets and babies are wonderful household additions, they may be more responsibility than you were expecting. There are lots of books on what to expect before you welcome a baby into your home. Do you have one on how to welcome a new puppy or kitten?
If you’re new to getting a puppy or kitten (or it’s been a while since you had one in your home), here are five tips to keep everyone happy and healthy before bringing a new one into your home.
1. Get a pet health insurance plan while your pet is still young. This is especially recommended if you have concerns about paying for unexpected veterinary bills. Otherwise, budget around $250-$500 for annual care needs, and up to $5,000 (or more) for unexpected veterinary care for chronic, urgent, or emergency medical care needs. There are nearly 15 pet health insurance companies in the U.S. A list of them can be found through the North American Pet Health Insurance Association. If you like supporting local businesses, consider purchasing your plan from Embrace Pet Insurance.
2. Understand what veterinary care your new puppy or kitten had before you got them. If there’s no health history available, your first job is to find a veterinary clinic that provides general health care services for dogs or cats and get a health plan in place. If you do choose to get a pet health insurance plan, make sure your veterinary clinic accepts payments from your pet insurance company.
3. Your new pet will need all those vaccinations and booster shots your veterinarian recommends. Just like babies, young pets need them, too. You may need more veterinary visits than you thought you would, so make sure you understand how many visits you will need the first year, and about how much each visit will cost.
4. Listen to your veterinarian about how to make sure your new puppy or kitten doesn’t accidentally bring parasites into your home. Not only can parasites make your pet sick, those parasites can also make you or other family members sick if you’re not careful. These are preventable through your veterinarian.
5. Make sure your home is ready for a puppy or kitten. Just like babies, protect your puppy or kitten from accidentally eating or drinking chemicals or medications that can harm them. Keep your home clean, free of clutter, and have a variety of toys to keep them engaged and out of trouble (such as chewing socks, furniture, etc.).