Bringing a new family member into the home is often a much awaited event for existing members of the family. However, there are many factors that need to be considered to ensure your new pet settles in to the family.
What to consider when bringing your new pet home
Health and Well-being! – In spite of the temptation to show your new family member to everybody, the very best advice is that it should have nothing but peace and quiet in the first 24 hours. Try to encourage all family members to handle the new arrival quietly and gently, and particularly if your new friend is quite young, allow adequate periods of rest by itself.
Introducing your new puppy or kitten to older pets
When introducing new pets to old, you need to consider your older pet’s nature. For instance, a mature female dog, that is well socialised towards other animals will usually accept new puppies and kittens. On the other hand, a more aggressive territorial dog many not trust a new kitten or puppy in their yard. Often animals of the same sex may not get on and similarly, some types of pets can clash.
In all circumstances make the first meeting between your older pet and the new arrival on neutral ground. This way they are more likely to behave cautiously, rather than aggressively.
If you are particularly worried, you can put the older animal on a leash for better control, but remember this can make some pets, especially dogs, more aggressive.
It is important for both cats and dogs to develop social skills at an early age. Pets that receive insufficient exposure and contact with people, other animals and new environments during their first months may develop irreversible fears, leading to timidity or aggression. Expose your kitten or puppy to as many stimuli (people, places and things) as you can, providing they are fully vaccinated.
The first 1 to 3 months of life are the most critical periods in the social development of your pet. Puppy Preschool classes are an ideal way to develop your puppy’s social skills as well as receiving valuable information on health care and training from a trained Veterinary nurse. Click here for more information about Puppy Preschool Classes.
House training your new pet
Initially it is important to keep your kitten confined to a small area with an appropriate sized litter box. This allows you to take advantage of a cat’s tendency to go to the toilet in a loose material. As long as the kitty litter is the only loose material available, very little effort should be required to litter box train the kitten.
Generally, kittens will need to go to the toilet after they eat, after they wake up and after play. At those times place the kitten in its litter box and praise them for their work.
A kitten does not need to be confined continuously, but should be supervised to prevent accidents and frequently brought back to the appropriate litter box location.
Developing a routine will assist you in housetraining your puppy. There are times when you should always take your puppy outside to prevent accidents. Such as first thing in the morning, after - every sleep, being left alone for a period of time, every meal and just before you put your puppy to bed.
Also watch out for some simple signs that will alert you that your puppy needs to go outside including walking around in circles, sitting or whining at the door and sniffing at the ground.
Of course accidents will happen, but if you catch your puppy in the act, take them outside immediately. Never spank your puppy, rub their nose in it, or reprimand them after an accident has occurred. A puppy will not connect this with what they have done wrong. Just remember to praise whenever they do the right thing.
Healthcare for your new pet
There are many factors that need to be considered to make sure your new pet has a good start to a healthy life. A balanced diet, protection from diseases and parasites, good socialisation and general health care are all very important throughout your pet’s life.
Your new puppy or kitten requires a full regime of vaccines against potentially fatal diseases before being introduced to public areas such as parks, shops and beaches.
Intestinal worms, heartworm disease and fleas can all be easily controlled by a variety of products. Ask our healthcare team for advice on the best products for you and your pet.
Other things you should consider as a new pet owner…
- A healthy diet for your pet and keeping your pet’s teeth clean and healthy – for a long healthy life
- Microchipping - for identification and peace of mind
- Grooming and coat maintenance
- Bathing your pet – how and how often
- Nail trimming - we can do this for you if you have difficulties
- Ear cleaning – correct methods
- Sterilisation – responsible pet ownership
- Early training and socialisation
- Safety in the home - dangers of human medicines, and common poisons in the house and garden
- Local council regulations and licensing