Look at this puppy!

A puppy scratching at a pet store window.

Have you ever gone to a pet store and had the desire of buying or adopting a dog, a kitty, or a fish? This happened to me some years ago. I went to see puppies and 15 minutes later I was the proud owner of a Westie terrier.

I was happy but lost at the same time. It was my first time taking care of an animal. I wasn't ready for the responsibility and I had to learn how to be a pet owner the hard way.

If you're thinking about getting a pet for the first time, let me share with you what I wish I'd known before getting a pet.

WIlly Wonka says,

1. Pets Are Unique

Animals have been known to accompany humans for thousands of years, and there is a reason for that. They are wonderful!

But you need to understand that they are living beings with unique needs. You need to research the features of the pet you want.

Here are some examples:

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Dogs are loyal, sociable companions that bring joy and require regular exercise and social interaction.

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Cats are independent yet affectionate. They're known for their agility and grooming habits.

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Turtles are peaceful and low-maintenance. They bring a sense of tranquility to their owners.

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Hamsters are adorable and low-maintenance. They provide entertainment with their curious and playful nature.

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Birds are colorful and melodic. They require mental stimulation and social interaction with other birds and humans.

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Fish are visually captivating. They create a serene and relaxing atmosphere in their aquatic habitats.

Research is the key!

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Make sure you know the needs of the pet you want to get. Each one will need something different from you.

You also need to find out if the place where you live will allow you to have a pet, or even if it's legal to have it.

An informed decision will help you make the right decision and avoid suffering for you or your pet.


Mary always wanted a pet but she is in college, works a part-time, and lives in a small apartment with three roommates. Which pet should she consider getting?

2. Pets Require Money

Cat holding bills

Having a pet is like having a baby. It's a financial commitment that you need to make sure you can fulfill.

It is important that you create a budget for your pet. Here are some of the expenses you need to consider:

Veterinary Care

A veterinarian holding a dog. Photo by Karlo Tottoc on Unsplash

You'll need to find a veterinarian close to you. The vets will be an important part of your support system. They'll know and care for your pet in a special way.

Make sure you choose someone you feel comfortable with and who gives you security.

Here are some reasons why you'll have to visit a vet:

  • Vaccines — some types of pets require periodical vaccinations to ensure their well-being.

  • Annual checkups — just like humans, prevention is better than cure.

  • Spaying and neutering — you need to research if it's the best option for you and your pet.

  • Medication — for parasite prevention, infections, allergies, and illness.

  • Surgery — for emergencies or illness.

  • Nutrition — the vet knows what food is best for your pet.

  • Dental care — some animals have teeth that need care, just like people!

Nutrition and Diet

A hamster eating its food. Photo by Andy Holmes on Unsplash

Food is very important for animals. Make sure to ask your vet what food is better for your pet.

Some other nutrition expenses include:

  • Treats — for training purposes or for pampering. Always check the nutritional info of treats.

  • Supplements — minerals and vitamins to balance the diet of your pet.

  • Human food — pets can eat certain fruits and vegetables, but some are poison for them! Always research first.

Grooming and Hygiene

A cat being groomed. Photo by Reba Spike on Unsplash

Keeping a pet clean isn't a luxury but a necessity for them. Some pets will require daily cleaning, and others periodically.

Some pet owners pay for grooming, and some learn how to do it. Either way, you will spend some money here.

Here are some basics that you'll need.

  • Brushes and combs

  • Nail trimmer

  • Pet shampoo (different from a human's)

  • Toothbrush

  • Cleaning wipes for ears, eyes, and paws

Living Environment

A yellow fish in a tank. The tank is illuminated with blue light. Photo by Krys Amon on Unsplash

Your pet will require a place to live. You don't have to build a castle, but you need to make sure your pet will be safe and comfortable.

Some pets will need more than just a bed. Some will also need feeding bowls, potty supplies, and toys.

Pet-proofing your home is also important. Make sure it's a safe environment and remove hazards and toxic substances.


Simon wants a pet and he is soon to finish college and start a new job. What should Simon do?

3. Pets Require Attention

A happy pig being pet.

Pets require time and love to have a healthy life.

This requirement has a blessing though...you'll receive the unconditional love of your pet as a response!

When you spend time with your pet, you'll know its personality and your pet will know yours as well.

Some more specific activities that you might want to invest your time in are:

  • Exercise — some pets like dogs need to run and play to feel happy. This also includes walkings during the day, and trips to the dog park.

  • Training — this is fundamental to help your pet understand what you want. This will help with potty training and behavioral issues.

  • Socialization — with other humans and pets, especially if they are close to you.

  • Pampering — pets love to be pampered!


Lauren likes to spend time with her friends, but she just got a dog. What should she do? Mark all possible options.

4. Pets Change Your Life

A cat touching a person's finger. Photo by Humberto Arellano on Unsplash

Yes, pets require money and attention, but they also become a member of your family.

The emotional bond created between a human and a pet is magical!

You'll experience unconditional love from your pet, and this will bring happiness to you and your family. Remember that you are all the family your pet has. A dog petting its owner.

Even though we'd like them to live forever, some pets have longer or shorter lifespans. Make sure you enjoy every moment with your pet and be prepared to support your pet every time it needs you.


Sarah has a cat but she was offered a new job on another city. What should she do? Select all the possible solutions.

Take Action

A person hugging a dog outdoors. Photo by Eric Ward on Unsplash

Owning a pet brings joy and companionship, but it also requires responsibility and dedication. Take time to learn about the pet you want before making a decision. Some steps you should complete before getting a pet are:


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