Welcome to pet parenthood. And say hello to cyberspace chock-full of pet jackets, monogram pet beds, all-natural pet treats and even pet strollers. Whether you sought out a specific breed or rescued a shelter animal, new pet owners really only need a few must-haves for day one.
Accessorizing fun aside, pet ownership demands a high level of commitment for the entire length of their lifetime. As of 2020, seventy percent of households in the United States owned one or more pets.
Americans certainly enjoy their relationship with pets, but pet parenthood isn’t all snuggles and unconditional love. Pet owners must protect their health, safety and welfare. The American Veterinary Medical Association’s Guidelines for Responsible Pet Ownership lays out a number of directions for pet owners that include licensing, leashing, identification, spaying or neutering, vaccinations, socialization, training, food, water, shelter, companionship and regular visits to the veterinarian.
Now that you’ve committed to pet ownership, it’s time to head to your local pet supply store for these can’t-live-without supplies for you and your new pet — pet strollers, not included.
Right out of the kennel gate, your sweet fella or little lady needs a nutrient-rich diet. Pet food comes in a variety of ingredients (i.e. beef, poultry or fish), nutritional needs (i.e. puppy, low calorie, high energy, or grain-free) and price points.
Trust your veterinarian to advise you on the needs specific to your new pet. Next, examine pet food labels to ensure you’re buying high-quality food. The FDA considers the nutrition adequacy statement (on the back label in small font) to be “one of the most important aspects of a dog or cat food label.” Avoid ingredients like dyes, sugar, high salt and preservatives like propylene glycol, BHA, BHT and ethoxyquin.
Unlike food that requires deep-dive research, pet owners can be a little more frivolous with their pet bedding. Sure, a pet will perch, curl up or sprawl out on just about any home surface — the sofa, under your bed sheets, or in the bathroom sink — but having a sacred spot for a pet provides peace of mind for them and tidier human hang-outs for you.
Cat owners can choose from baskets, cat caves, deep-dish beds, mats, bolster beds or crate beds. Similarly, dog owners can take their pick of donuts, bolsters, mats, orthopedic memory foam, dog sofas, heated beds, cool cots, loungers, waterproof beds and beds made with materials for chewers.
Pet Travel Supplies
Pets will roam, no doubt. Here’s where pet owners create some fun for themselves. Collars, leashes and harnesses exist in every pet shop — from big-box chains to neighborhood boutiques — in a variety of materials, colors, styles and budgets. Have at it, new-pet parent. Choose one set or several for that new fur baby of yours.
Crates support your pet while inside a vehicle, and you’ll likely need one to transport your new critter home for the first time. Crates vary from inexpensive pop-ups that owners can throw in the car to more expensive heavy-duty kennels, wire crates, and air travel-compliant cases.
Once pets are transported, fed and have a cozy spot to nap, furry friends require supplies to eliminate and stay clean. Kitty owners need litter and litter boxes, while doggie owners may try indoor potty pads before taking training outside. Cat people can revel in having a pet that is mostly self-cleaning. Dog parents, however, should stock up on pet-specific shampoo (not human shampoo), toothpaste, toothbrush, and a fur brush.
Take this small warning about pet waste. A quick read on any neighborhood social site will likely lead to an angry post about pet waste in yards, school fields, sidewalks, trails and parks. Stock
up on waste bags as soon as possible to avoid being “that” dog owner.
Pets need playtime. These busy creatures appreciate the roll of a ball, the jingle of a bell, the sensation of a scratchpad, or the crunch of a chew toy. New toys trends offer treat and puzzle toys and AI-based smart toys.