Visiting a shelter, rescue home or a veterinarian to adopt a new pet is an exciting time for any new pet owner. There are so many things to think about when welcoming your new pet into your family, so we have picked five of the most important things to consider:
1. Make sure everyone in the house is prepared for a new pet
Prior to bringing home your new pet, discuss with your family any changes that may need to take place as well as committing to a consistent approach to training, using positive reinforcement and acceptable boundaries and rules for your new addition. This important step will prevent frustration and confusion and will also setup your new addition for success.
Here's a few things you might want to discuss and allocate responsibility to:
- Feeding times and location - including a daily ‘treat budget' so your new addition stays trim and terrific
- Exercise and playtime
- Training (use positive reinforcement and a consistent approach for everyone )
- Water - daily bowl change
- Medication or prevention treatment e.g. providing regular doses of flea/ heartworm/ worming treatment
- At home healthcare - checking teeth and providing dental care such as brushing teeth or feeding dental chews where required, checking ears and eyes and any other problem areas.
- Grooming (such as brushing and washing)
- Litter removal and disposal
- Laundry for clean bedding
- Veterinary care schedule (for regular check-ups and vaccination boosters)
2. Patience and persistence
When it comes to training and getting to know your pet's new personality and behaviour, patience is the key. It is possible to train an older pet but you will need to be persistent and positive!
3. Pet proof your home
If you are bringing home your first pet, you will quickly learn to be cautious of leaving things lying around the house. A chicken sandwich left on the kitchen counter may soon be your pet's next lunch. We recommend checking your home, garden and shed for potential poisons which could harm your pet. You can read more here - Poisons in the household. Also, check your fence and gates for escape routes as well as the fence height for dogs that are able to jump.
4. Go slowly when introducing your pet to new friends and family
t can take several weeks for a pet to relax in a new environment. It is a great idea to keep cats in a secluded room with all of his/ her goodies (toys/ scratching post/ litter tray) until he/ she is familiar with their new surroundings. Socialisation is important, but take it slowly for older pets. Read more information on socialising puppies here.
5. Consider more than one pet
In particular cats require exercise, mental stimulation, and social interaction which can be provided by having two cats. Similarly if your dog is left at home whilst you are at work during the day, another pal is a great idea. In saying this, every pet is different and some pets are more than happy to be left at home alone.
Finally, congratulations if you are already on a journey of pet adoption. No doubt your pet will bring you many moments of joy and become your new best friend. If you have any questions about adoption or how to care for your new pet please contact our pet health care team.