10 essential tips for new pet owners

Welcoming a pet into your home can be an exciting time. But if you’re a new pet owner, you might be a little nervous about getting everything right. Read our guide to find out everything you need to know about preparing for a pet.

    Published:27 September 2023


    1. Shopping for pet supplies

    What you need will depend on what type of pet you’re getting. Here are a few must-haves if you’re getting a dog or a cat.

    • A comfortable bed or cage for your pet to sleep in.A comfortable bed or cage for your pet to sleep in.
    • Pet food and bowls for them to eat and drink out of.Pet food and bowls for them to eat and drink out of.
    • A few toys to keep them stimulated and entertained.A few toys to keep them stimulated and entertained.
    • Grooming supplies to keep your pet’s coat, teeth and claws clean and healthy.Grooming supplies to keep your pet’s coat, teeth and claws clean and healthy.

    For more information on the things you might need, check out our guide to buying a cat or guide to buying a dog.

      2. Setting up a pet-friendly space

      To help your pet feel at home, it’s a good idea to set up a space that’s just for them. Put their bed in a quiet corner where they can relax and sleep undisturbed. If you’re getting a cat, it’s important to make sure their sleeping spot is in a separate space from their litter tray.

        3. Registering with a vet

        Look into local vets before you get your pet so that you’re ready to register with one right away. Then you’ll know where they are and who to call if you have an emergency. You should also book in your pet’s first check-up as soon as possible after you bring them home.

          4. Choosing pet insurance

          Pet insurance can help cover the cost of veterinary treatments or emergency care if your pet becomes unwell unexpectedly or is injured in an accident. If you want to make sure your pet is covered from the get go, it’s a good idea to to research your options and choose a policy before they arrive.

          Tesco Bank Pet Insurance provides cover for pets aged 8 weeks or older, with dog insurance, cat insurance and multi pet insurance options.

            5. Settling in

            Introducing your pet to its new home is very exciting but try to stay calm so they don’t get too overwhelmed. Let them investigate at their own pace and have food and treats on hand to reward good behaviour.

            Once they have started to settle in, you can start basic training such as teaching them some simple commands and toilet training.

              6. Working out a routine

              Having a routine will help your pet get used to their new surroundings. Try and stick to regular times for feeding, walking, playing and grooming.

              We know it's not always possible to stick to a routine but there are ways to help your pet get used to change, whether that's working from home or spending more time at the office. Find out more about keeping your pets happy with our Pet Effect Survey.

                7. Make an exercise plan

                Dogs need to be walked and exercised regularly. How much exercise they need, will depend on what breed they are - some breeds are naturally more energetic than others. Find out more in our guide to different pet breeds.

                If you have a cat, you need to decide whether they will stay indoors or be allowed outside. If they will be staying indoors, you will need to help them get enough exercise by playing with them regularly.

                  8. Sorting out dental care

                  The idea of brushing your pet’s teeth may seem like a strange one at first, but if you’re hoping to find ways to avoid unexpected vet bills in the future, it’s an important habit to get into. Start training when they’re young and use pet-friendly toothpastes and brushes. Find out more in our handy guide to cat and dog dental care.

                    9. Microchipping

                    Dogs over the age of eight weeks are legally required to be microchipped so be sure to book an appointment early on. By having a tiny microchip with a unique code placed under your pet’s skin, you’re giving them the best chance of being found if they are lost or stolen.

                    If you're getting a dog, they'll also need a collar and tag displaying your name and address when you're out and about.

                      10. Bringing your pet home

                      Remember to think about how you’ll get your pet home safely too. As part of the Highway code dogs should be properly secured in the car, to keep them safe and to stop them from distracting the driver. Make sure you have a pet carrier ready or a harness that can be clipped into the seatbelt fastening.

                        Looking for more information?

                        Important information

                        Tesco Bank Pet Insurance is arranged, administered and underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Ltd.

                        The content on this page aims to offer an informative introduction to the subject matter but does not constitute expert financial advice specific to your own situation. All facts and figures were correct at time of publication and were compiled using a range of sources.

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