Getting a new pet is an exciting time, but it’s also a challenging one. In fact, it takes approximately three months and 23 days to fully integrate a new pet into your life, according to a new study.
The report, commission by Royal Canin, asked 2,000 U.S. dog and cat owners about the highs and lows of the first year of pet ownership.
According to the report’s findings, 80% of respondents said that the first year of pet ownership is the most important. It’s when the majority (73%) of owners said that they bonded the most with their new animal companions. This was even more true for those who added a new puppy or kitten (79%).
However, the first year isn’t all sunshine and rainbows—64% of respondents said that this period of pet ownership is also the most difficult. Some of the biggest challenges faced by new owners in the first year include: how to train their pet (46%), what type of food to feed their pet (40%), the best feeding schedule (39%), what tricks to teach (37%), and what rules to implement (35%).
Luckily, there are resources to help make the transition into pet parenthood easier. More than half of survey respondents (69%) said that their vet was an invaluable resource during the first year. And 70% of owners agreed that taking their pet to the vet set them up for success in the future.
“One of the most important things you can do for your new kitten or puppy is to establish a relationship with a veterinarian,” said Dr. Jill Cline, pet nutritionist and site director of Royal Canin’s Pet Health and Nutrition Center. “A veterinarian will help create a plan for your pet’s health in the early stages of life, including routine care, annual vaccines, tailored nutrition and provide advice for helping the new pet get comfortable in a new environment.”