If you’re considering adopting a pet, you’re in for a real treat—not to mention, quite a wild ride. The fact is, pet owners, do reap great health benefits when they welcome a pet into their home. The emotional benefits are obvious, as pets offer unconditional love and companionship and also give humans a sense of purpose and validation. In turn, these emotional benefits lead to physiological ones, reducing stress, and encouraging physical activity.

But with the rewards come challenges, too, especially for first-timers. This will run the gamut from ensuring that your pet has everything that they need to training and housebreaking to the myriad costs of pet care. But when you set your expectations right and exercise patience, nothing is insurmountable. Let’s break down the many aspects of successful pet ownership.

The right pet for you

First of all, know that there really needs to be a compatibility between animal and human for the relationship to work. This is why it’s more than prudent to do your research to find out what sort of animal or breed is suited for you. Doing so will entail taking into account your lifestyle, health conditions, available space at home, and more. On the flipside, you will also need to consider the pet’s temperament, energy levels, size, etc.

Needless to say, it’s important to find a middle ground. Far too many pets are abandoned when the owners realize that they’re too much for them to handle because they’re ill-suited for each other. It’s your responsibility to really commit to the task and avoid such an outcome.

Your home setup

As soon as you’ve found your four-legged match, you have to make sure that your home is up to the task of housing them in comfort. Invariably, this will mean stocking up on your pet’s essentials. Food is, of course, the most important, so again, do your due diligence and find out what kind of kibble will meet your pet’s nutritional needs best. 

You will also need food and water bowls, comfortable beds (some self-heating beds retail for under $40), grooming and cleaning supplies, and toys. You can always build up on these in time, but being prepared with the basics right off the bat will ensure that your pet settles in at home quicker.

For pups, you may have to purchase a kennel to keep them safe and out of trouble when you’re not at home. For extra peace of mind, you can use the Kennel Key app, which can unlock your dog’s kennel’s door if danger from a fire or burglar is detected. 

Forging a bond

But of course, to get your pet to really settle in, you’ll want to take great pains in gaining their trust. This is especially true for rescues who may have been abused or abandoned in the past. Again, it’s not insurmountable, but it will require plenty of patience and consideration to get them to bond with and eventually love you. So make sure you are prepared to give them plenty of space, observe their quirks, and exercise positive reinforcement.

Costs to consider

Last and definitely not least, you must be ready to bear the expenses associated with caring for a pet. No doubt, veterinary costs will be your biggest concern, as these are generally quite steep. But since pets will rack up vet bills throughout the course of their lives, it might be wise to invest in pet insurance to mitigate your out-of-pocket expenditures.

And the expenses don’t end there. There will be other pet-related bills that you will encounter, ranging from pet sitters (typically charge $14 – $19 per hour) to groomers. Cleaning fees are also an inevitability. For instance, deep-cleaning furniture upholstery to get rid of dander is often not something you can undertake on your own. To give you an idea, the cost to clean furniture upholstery is typically between $350 and $1,000 (depending on the fabric), so that’s definitely something to budget for at some point.

Pet ownership is quite a big responsibility and one that you should definitely not take lightly. So make sure that you are committed to taking the necessary actions to keep both you and your pet’s lives in sync and harmonious for years to come.