Bringing a new pet into your family can be one of the best experiences of your life! But there are a few things to keep in mind first – both before you get the new pet and also protocols to keep in place for the first few weeks that they live with you. None of these steps are hard and they will all make for an easier, more enjoyable, healthier transition for both you and your pets!
Bringing Home a New Pet
Adopting a new pet
Before bringing home a new pet (whether a puppy, kitten, dog or cat), do your best to make sure they are as healthy as possible. You can start by acquiring the animal’s complete medical history. If possible, see if you can find out the following:
- Whether your pet is up-to-date on vaccines.
- Whether your pet has been tested for heartworm disease and has been on a consistent preventative. Ask which heartworm prevention medication the animal has been taking and whether the medication has been well tolerated.
- Whether your new pet has been on flea and tick prevention. Again, ask for the specifics of which preventative has been given and whether any side effects were noticed.
- What food your new pet has been eating. If you’ll be feeding the animal something different, you’ll want to make a gradual transition to the new diet to avoid gastrointestinal upset.
You should ask for copies of all medical records and give them to your veterinarian in advance. If your new pet hasn’t been examined recently, make an appointment with your vet for a physical exam. At the appointment, your vet can administer any necessary vaccines and test for fecal parasites.
Cat-proof or dog-proof your home
Once the basic medical needs have been assessed, take some time to inspect your surroundings. Are your home and yard appropriately dog- and cat-proof? Some common safety concerns: toilet seats, electrical cords and outlets, house plants (some are toxic to pets), garbage cans and inadequate kitchen food storage.
You may want to move valuable or fragile items. It’s a good idea to have a crate or a safe room where you can confine new animals when unsupervised, or for gradual introductions to existing pets.
Bringing home a puppy or kitten?
For young animals, keep in mind that they are still babies. Puppies and kittens do best with consistent feeding and eating schedules; this also helps facilitate potty training and litter box training. Some other things to consider:
Use age- and size-specific pet toys. Also, be watchful of objects or toys that might look interesting and tasty from your pet’s perspective, and that could be ingested and cause potential stomach and bowel problems.
Use caution when exposing puppies and kittens to older animals and don’t take them to high-traffic locations such as dog parks or pet events until they are fully vaccinated.
Bringing home an adult pet?
Getting a tiny puppy or kitten can be fun, but people often don’t think about the benefits of adopting an older adult dog. There are countless dogs who live in shelters, needing a forever home; many of them with incredible personalities just waiting for someone to love.
You can often build a different level of loyalty with your dog when you’ve adopted them as an adult. Many say it’s because they know you were the one to rescue them. Either way, you can save a life and gain an incredible companion at the same time!
For older animals, see if you can learn about any training or health problems they have, and be proactive: Make a plan to deal with any issues. Don’t try to do everything at once, though; gradually introduce new experiences under controlled circumstances.
Remember, lots of quality time is very important during the first weeks that a pet is in a new home, and consistency and routines make things easier for everyone. Adult animals should also be confined to a safe room or crate when unsupervised, particularly during the first few weeks.
Read more — New Pet | Best Friends Animal Society
When was the last time you brought home a new fur baby? Did you learn anything important about the process along the way?