Being at the intersection of “first-time homeowner” and “first-time pet owner” can be an exciting, rewarding experience, but not one without its challenges. Adding a furry friend to your home can mark a significant change not only to your routines but also how you care for your home. Even if you grew up with animals, you may still find yourself unprepared for some of the maintenance pet ownership entails. Here are few ideas of what homeowners should know when getting their first pet.
Get Ready To Dust and Vacuum
Cats and dogs shed—a lot. Unless you’ve welcomed a hypoallergenic pet into your home, you’re also welcoming a great deal of loose fur, dry skin, and similar detritus that come off your pet’s body. This can not only trigger known allergies, but you may also discover allergies you didn’t know you had. Not only can accumulated dander be bad for your health, it’s also terrible for appearances. In owning a pet, you’ll be dusting, vacuuming, and generally cleaning up a lot more than you would without one, whether it’s a rambunctious dog or a low-key cat.
Give Your HVAC System More Attention
In addition to the increased upkeep you’ll be doing around the house to deal with dander, your HVAC system will also feel the effects of a pet in the home. Pet dander can circulate through your ducts, meaning that even if you diligently prohibit a pet from entering a bedroom, you could still find yourself dealing with associated allergens. Taking care of your air filter and replacing disposable filters regularly will go far in intercepting troublesome particles and keeping your furnace and air conditioner working cleanly.
Make Room To Train and Play
Cats don’t need much training to use a litter box—make sure they know where it is, and they’ll do the rest. But dogs require a little extra training, and a lot more space to do it. Make sure your dog has ample space outdoors to properly learn the rules and avoid accidents in the home. And no matter the pet, make sure they have plenty of room for safe recreation, whether indoors or outdoors.
Budget for a Pet
One thing homeowners should know when getting their first pet is that, just like there’s no such thing as a free lunch, there’s no such thing as a free companion animal, either. Between food, toys, and veterinary costs, the costs of owning a pet can add up to a higher figure than you might think, especially if they turn out to be picky eaters, have health issues requiring frequent vet visits, or harbor an unusually destructive streak. Make sure you can afford both the readily apparent and not-so-readily apparent costs of owning a pet.