Congratulations! If you are reading this, you are likely the owner of a new furry friend! This is an exciting time in both your life and the life of your pet. Therefore, it’s important to be equipped with some helpful tips on how to make this transition as seamless as possible.
Any pet, regardless of age, breed, or circumstance, will have to adjust to their new home. By taking steps before, during, and after your adoption you can increase the chances of your new friend adapting beautifully.
If you are considering adopting a new cat or dog, think first about the responsibilities and whether you have the time, money, and knowledge to take them on. Many times, pet owners jump into an adoption on an impulse and, while these adoptions may result in a happy ending, this approach causes unnecessary stress for both the animal and their new owner. Instead, follow these guidelines:
- Talk to everyone in your household months before adopting a new pet. While you might bring a puppy into your home with open arms, your roommate, child, or spouse might not be as ready.
- Make a list of everything you will need to buy before your new cat or dog comes home. Don’t forget beds, toys, food, water, accessories, carriers, and more. The earlier you start thinking about this list, the better.
- Ask friends and family that already have pets if they have any suggestions. Every introduction will be different, but those that have adopted a pet before might have some helpful insight.
- Make sure you “pet-proof” your home, including cleaning up anything a frisky kitten or puppy might like to eat, securing all trash cans and cabinets, and providing a space where your new pet can sleep, like a kennel.
- Find a vet in your area that can see your new pet for an introductory exam. Do your research and find a vet that fits all of your criteria, such as experience, knowledge, and level of care.
These are all considerations that should be addressed six to 12 months before adoption.
The day has finally come for you to take home your new fur baby! Now that you have everything set, you can prepare to welcome your new family member in the healthiest and most comfortable way possible. Remember to:
- Take things slow. Even the most outgoing of animals will seem shy in a new place. It is normal for your new kitty or puppy to seem skittish and scared. Don’t rush.
- Provide safe spaces for them to hide and lots of fresh food and water. Both dogs and cats establish routines early, so make sure your new pet knows where they can find the litterbox, food, water, and beds.
- Show your new pet that you are happy that they are there! Some animal behaviorists say that animals can sense fear and anxiety, so embrace this exciting time with joy and give lots of love to your new furry friend.
It may take your new dog or cat weeks, or even months, to fully adjust to their new home. Be patient and provide a safe and caring place that they feel comfortable calling “home”.
The weeks and months that follow getting a new pet are some of the most important for bonding between parent and animal. Some tips for making the most of out this time:
- Introduce your new pet to children and other family members slowly, but make sure they are adequately introduced. If your new dog or cat is going to be living in your home for the rest of their lives, they need to know who else is living there, too.
- Give your animal friend the time and attention they deserve. Play with your cat, take your dog on walks, and give them love and attention.
- Set them up on a feeding and bathroom schedule. Animals thrive on routine, so showing your dog and cat what they can expect right away will help you both transition smoothly.
- Schedule a check-up vet appointment the week or so after you get your pet. Even if they came from a shelter or breeder that had them looked at, it’s always wise to take your new pet to your local vet to make sure everything looks good.
Adopting a new pet is an exciting time and shouldn’t be rushed into or neglected. This is an important bonding time for both owner and animal. Following some of these basic steps will help you create a friendship with your pet that will last a lifetime!