Preparing for Your New Pet

kids in a car with newly adopted kitten; preparing for your new pet

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably decided to get a new pet, or are at least considering the possibility. Congratulations! Pets are a wonderful addition to the family and bring unending joy to their owners. They enrich our lives and teach children responsibility. There are so many rewards that come from inviting a pet into our homes and our lives. But, pets also come with a set of new challenges. Bringing a pet home consists of far more than simply walking through the door with the newest member of your family. You must properly prepare for your new pet to ensure they are comfortable and the first few weeks go smoothly. It is a big change for both you and them. Below, we’ll detail out a few tips to make your pet’s welcome warm, inviting, and well-prepared.

Understanding the Specific Needs of Your Pet

Just like people, animals are all different. The way you prepare to bring your new pet home will depend on the type of pet you’ve chosen to add to your family. Obviously the needs of a dog and cat will be very different, and if you’ve decided on a hamster or bird, the differences will be even more significant. It’s important, before you adopt or buy your new pet that you do proper research on the type of animal and specific breed you’ve chosen. Small dogs, such as chihuahuas have different needs regarding temperament and health than a large breed, such as a golden retriever or German shepherd. It’s important to know everything you can about the animal you’re bringing home.

Once you know their temperament, how well they get along with certain animals or children, their health strengths and weaknesses, and their anxiety levels, you’ll be better equipped to handle whatever comes. If you’re adopting an older dog, bringing it home will be much different from bringing home a puppy. And disabled animals will need even more detailed and specific care. Again, research is key. Don’t simply look up information about dogs, search for specific information about breeds. Same with different types of birds, cats, and any other household pet you might be considering.

Get Supplies

Now that you understand the specific needs of your new pet based on age, breed, and physical condition, you can begin to buy pet supplies. You should always purchase everything you’ll need for the first several weeks after bringing your new pet home. Whatever area you’ve designated for your pet should be completely stocked with a bed, food/water bowls, toys, and any other necessities.

Food Considerations

You should buy a stock of whatever food your new pet has been eating, even if you plan to switch to a different type of pet food. It’s important not to shock your pet’s system. Changing food completely as soon as you bring your pet home can severely upset their stomach. You must wean them off of it slowly. A good rule of thumb when preparing your new pet’s meals is to do it over the course of a week-ten days. Start with a mixture of 25% new food and 75% of the food your dog is used to. Feed your pet this mixture for three days, and then switch to 50% of each. After three more days, you can switch to 75% of your preferred food and only 25% of the old. Then make the switch completely. This gives your pet’s stomach time to adjust to the changes.

About Toys

When choosing toys, make sure to do research, not only for the proper size and safety, but also for the correct age. Your new pup will need something good for teething, something they can’t easily tear apart and swallow. An older dog, however, won’t need such specific toys. If you’re bringing home a dog or cat, make sure to purchase a crate for traveling. A crate can also be a useful tool while training a young puppy. Crate training, or confinement training, are the best ways to potty train your new four-legged friend.

Pet Proofing Your Home

Just as new parents would baby proof their home, you should pet proof yours. Make sure all medications, cleaners, chemicals, or any other harmful products are on high shelves and out of reach. If you’re confining your new pet to a specific spot in the home, you should check for any small spaces, nooks, or holes they could escape through or get stuck in.

Make sure there are no dangling cords or wires, as cats like to paw at these and teething puppies see them as chew toys. Keep common houseplants that could be poisonous to animals out of reach. Check for any AC drafts in the area. Your new pet should not be placed under any vents or in a particularly drafty area. Keep trash cans securely covered so your new pet can’t help himself to a buffet of trash.

You might even consider installing child proof latches on cabinets. Pets are naturally curious and some are clever enough to pry open your cabinet doors. Again, while pet proofing, you should think specifically about your new pet and their individual needs.

Have a Detailed Plan

So many new pet owners bring their new pet home and then realize they didn’t properly prepare or adjust their schedules efficiently. It’s important to talk with the members of your household and formulate a solid plan before your new pet arrives. House rules should be firmly established. Where is the new pet allowed to go? Which areas are forbidden? Where will they sleep? Are they allowed on the furniture? Everyone should know the answer to these questions. Schedules are also vitally important. Who will walk the dog in the morning? What time will you feed the cat? How many hours a day will your new pet be left alone? Will anyone be there in the middle of the day to take the dog out for a potty break?

These are important things to think about before your pet arrives. Making these decisions after bringing your pet home will cause confusion for your pet and extra stress for you and your family. You should especially plan for the day of your pet’s arrival. You should try to bring your new pet home when you, or someone in your family, can stay home with the new pet for a few days. This way you can help your pet adjust to his new surroundings, get him accustomed to the schedule, and get to know each other better.

Make Sure Your Pet is Healthy

You should always take a new pet in for a vet checkup as soon as you can after bringing them home. You will need to ensure that they’re current on all their vaccinations and schedule any future shots they might need. It’s important to check on your new pet’s health sooner rather than later to ensure they get the proper care.

Bringing home a new pet is a very exciting time. And we hope these tips make the process go smoothly. If you have any questions about your new pet, or you’re looking for a vet to help care for the newest addition to your family, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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