So, you’re a new pet owner. Congratulations on taking the plunge! Adopting your first pet brings countless joys, not to mention many years of love, loyalty, and companionship. Of course, as a first-time pet owner, you’ll undoubtedly want to be the best pet parent you can be. You’ll probably also want to provide top-notch pet care without overstretching your household budget. Don’t worry — there are plenty of budget-friendly ways to prepare for your journey into pet ownership. Keep reading for some practical (and cost-saving) advice.

Choosing the Purrfect Pet

 Pet ownership has its perks, like years of love and companionship, but it’s also a decision that requires a lot of commitment and responsibility. Therefore, don’t take the decision to get a pet lightly. Sadly, many people rush into pet ownership each year because they can’t resist a cute face — and then later abandon their animals once they realize the level of responsibility involved with caring for them. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), nearly seven million pets are surrendered to shelters each year in the United States alone. Meanwhile, the American Humane Society reports that over half of all shelter animals (64 percent) are euthanized each year.

Before adopting a pet, consider the kind of animal and the specific breed that might suit your situation. Let’s say you have a tiny studio apartment without a yard. While an indoor cat might flourish in that environment, your living situation might not be ideal for large dogs like Great Danes, which grow up to 120 pounds and require as much as an hour of exercise per day.

You should also consider the hidden costs associated with pet adoption. Although some shelters offer free adoptions, you’ll typically pay a small fee to bring your fur baby home. However, the fee goes toward shelter operations and pet care and is still lower than the hundreds or even thousands of dollars you’d pay to adopt a purebred pet from a breeder.

Preparing Your Home for a New Pet

Once you’ve picked the perfect pet for you, it’s time to prep your home for your new pet’s arrival. Just as expecting parents stock up on baby supplies before welcoming their bundle of joy, pet parents should ensure they have everything they’ll need before bringing their pet home.

Food, toys, litter boxes, grooming supplies, and pet cleaning supplies are just a few of the items you’ll undoubtedly want to stock up on. Since you’ll have a list of several items you’ll need to purchase regularly, look into ordering supplies directly from Target to save money. In addition to providing year-round savings on many popular items, you can also find Target promo codes that will save you time and money. Best of all, your Target purchases can be delivered directly to your home, or you can opt to drive to your local store to pick them up.

Bringing Your Pet Home

After you’ve stocked up on pet supplies and pet-proofed your home, you’re ready to bring your beloved pet home for the first time. Your pet might be nervous or fearful at first, especially if you rescued a pet that came from an abusive or neglectful home. Keep in mind that, just like humans, some pets are naturally anxious or shy. That’s why it’s important to “remain calm,” says expert animal trainer Cesar Millan. Gradually introduce your pet to your home and to the people who live there. Be patient and give your pet the time and space that he or she needs.

 Bonding with Your Fur Baby

Adopting a pet is a beautiful experience. Those first few days, weeks, and months with your new pet will become memories you’ll cherish for a lifetime. Make the best of those moments by taking time to bond with your new pet. Provide plenty of treats and affection. Spend time together doing an activity you both enjoy, such as going for a walk or learning a new trick.

Even if your pet is shy at first, know that you’re making a difference in your pet’s life. After all, you’re providing him or her with a healthy, safe home environment. If your pet is skittish or anxious, don’t worry. Your pet will probably start to warm up to you over time. As your relationship grows, you might even begin to wonder how you ever lived without your fur baby.


By: Jessica Brody (


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