Advice for First-Time Dog & Cat Owners


Getting a new pet can be a very exciting time for everyone involved. There is a lot to prepare for before picking up your new furry friend, as well as a lot of questions. Whether you’re picking up a new dog or a new cat, they each have their own needs and preparations before you welcome them to your home. If you’re thinking about being a first-time pet owner, this advice is for you.

Advice for First-Time Dog & Cat Owners:

Welcoming a new pet to your family is a big deal. You want to make sure your dog or cat as relaxed as possible when bringing them to a new home. Here’s some helpful advice if you’re thinking of getting a dog or cat for the first time:

What dog or cat breed should I get?

Before getting a new pet, research is an important part of choosing which dog or cat to bring home. Research the type of breed that best fits your lifestyle, home size, and activity level. This will not only help you adjust to being a pet owner but it will make the adjustment on your dog or cat that much easier.

After you’ve decided on a breed, it’s vital that you understand the needs of the dog or cat, especially during which ever life stage you decide on. Adult dogs need more time to adjust to a new home and lifestyle, while puppies need to be trained.¹ Cats, on the other hand, are typically more independent pets than dogs but they still need to stay active.

Bringing your dog home for the first-time:

Part of making your pup feel safe and comfortable in their new home is providing them with the necessary supplies. Toys, a couple dog bowls, beds, leashes, collars, and crates are some of the supplies you can get to prepare for the arrival of your new pup.

Dogs are incredibly social creatures and that’s what makes them such great pets. Socializing your dog almost immediately after taking them home is a great way for them to become better adjusted to new people and other animals. Granted, it’s easier to socialize new puppies because of their young age. But with a little patience and training, an adult dog can learn as well.

As a first-time dog owner, it’s important to be prepared for the downsides to dog training. When dogs are feeling nervous or unwell, they can act out of character. Some minor behavioral changes to expect during house training are:

  • Barking
  • Chewing
  • Destructive tendencies
  • Anxiety
  • Minor aggression¹

There’s no one-size-fits-all guide to house training for first-time dog owners, but being wary of these changes in behavior may help you to have a smoother experience overall.

Preparing your home for a new cat

Preparing to welcome a new cat or kitten to your home is very different than welcoming a dog. Cats are territorial, so their adjustment period to a new environment is much trickier. Here are some general guidelines for bringing a new cat home.

Though cats don’t need to go on regular walks like dogs, they still need to stay active. Because of their predatory nature, they need stimulation or they might find it somewhere you won’t be happy with. Some first-time cat owners may not taking into account how much cats love scratching! If you don’t provide adequate toys, you could risk having them tear up some of your favorite furniture.

When picking out a scratching post, get something tall enough for a full grown cat to stretch on as well as something sturdy. Cats also love staying up high to survey their area. Provide them some book shelfs or cat trees for them to climb and observe from. This will help them feel calm and safe in their new home.²

Though cats are generally easy-going, they can be particular about their bathroom situation. It’s important for first-time cat owners to get familiar with different types of litter before choosing one to meet your pet’s needs. Avoid any noisy or busy rooms when placing a litterbox, your cat loves as much privacy as you do. Always clean the litter box regularly too so they have a comfortable bathroom situation overall.

What to Feed Your Pet: Advice for First-Time Dog & Cat Owners

Puppies and adult dogs have different nutritional needs. Understanding these nuances as a first-time dog owner will help your pup maintain health and happiness. Puppies need a more regimen of nutritious meals in order to stay healthy as they grow.

Adult dogs might not need as specific formulas, but they still need hearty nutrition to keep them active. The right nutrients in the right proportions also helps to maintain skin and coat health. Made with omega-rich avocados and avocado oil, AvoDerm Natural® Dog Food fulfills dogs’ nutritional needs with the right balance of nutrients in the right proportions. Try our Triple Protein Meal Dog Food Formula for All Life Stages to help your new adult dog or puppy maintain good health from the inside out.

Since cats are a bit more independent than dogs, they are also more independent with their food. It’s important to understand your specific cat’s feeding habits. Can you leave food out for them to pick at all day or do they need a set menu and time? If you’re unsure, you can always check with your vet for better information.

First-time cat owners should schedule a visit as soon as possible after bringing your pet. This will help your new cat get acquainted with vet visits and avoid any future nervousness about them, making your time together that much easier.

Your new cat may have a particular palate for pet food, but sticking to their needs as an obligate carnivore is a good place to start. Many AvoDerm Natural® cat food recipes include a variety of real-meat proteins to minimize the risk of food sensitivities and to keep your cat interested in their plate. Start with our Grain-Free Sardine, Shrimp & Crab Entree in Gravy to give your new cat a taste of his or her decadent life at your home.

Proper preparation and research can go a long way to make sure you and your new furry friend have a long and happy life together. If these tips aren’t enough to prepare you as a first-time dog or cat owner, meet with a vet to help you better understand your new pet’s needs.


  1. STREGOWSKI, JENNA. “The Beginner’s Guide to Dog Care.” The Spruce Pets, TheSprucePets, 29 June 2018.
  2. Weymouth, Monica. “8 Essential Tips for the First-Time Cat Owner.” PawCulture.

AvoDerm Natural® is a registered trademark of Central Garden & Pet Company.

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