A New Furry Friend - Carolina Country

A New Furry Friend

Consider your lifestyle when picking a pet

By FamilyFeatures.com

A New Furry Friend

Pets are more than fur-ever friends—numerous studies have shown they provide their owners with health benefits such as reducing stress and lowering blood pressure levels and heart disease risk. For families, they are a great opportunity to teach kids about responsibility and can help everyone be active and fit.

If you are considering adopting a pet, it’s crucial to do research and review your lifestyle. Here are tips from experts at PetSmart Charities to help make your new pet’s adjustment a happy one for everyone.

Consider adoption over purchasing

There are literally thousands of animals of all breeds and ages looking for loving homes. Consider adopting a pet that needs a home from a local shelter or rescue group.

Select an appropriate pet

Integrating one into your household, especially for a first-time pet owner, can take some work. Consider factors like how often you travel, how active you are, your financial resources, what your schedule will allow for regarding attention and walks, and if you’re willing to provide other necessary care, such as frequent brushing for a long-haired animal.

Also consider whether you truly want a puppy or a kitten. An older or fully adult pet offers numerous benefits, such as potentially being house‑trained already. Finally, if you have children, find out as much as possible if the pet you are considering is known to get along with kids.

Involve your children early on

Set expectations with children so they don’t startle or scare their new pet with bursts of excitement. Teach them how to carefully hold and gently hug their new pet. Involve them in training the pet as well, so everyone knows the same commands. Once the basics are mastered, you can move on to fun tricks.

Educational opportunities

February is Dog Training Education Month and National Cat Health Month, both of which offer opportunities to learn more about training and caring for new pets. Look for special events on animal organizations websites.

Dog paws with a spot in the form of heart and human hand close up top view. Conceptual image of friendship trust love the help between the person and a dog

Local resources

Visit shelters in your town and county, and ask plenty of questions about an animal you like. Some offer fostering programs where you can temporarily care for a dog or cat and see if it’s a good fit. If it isn’t, you can return the animal and provide helpful information for future descriptions that will enhance chances of the animal getting adopted, such as: “knows sit and stay.”

You can also browse several web portals to see animals ready for adoption near you. For example, Petfinder.com lets you put in mileage limits from where you live and choose sizes, breeds, age range, gender and whether or not you want an animal that gets along with kids or other dogs. Rescue groups and animal shelters across North Carolina post on its site, and you can opt to get email updates on new animals available.

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