What to Do Before and After You Bring Your New Pet Home
Bringing a new pet into your home is both a challenging and rewarding experience that can be made easier if you prepare yourself first for what to expect.
Now that you’ve picked out your pet, whether it’s a dog, cat or something more exotic, and you’ve made the appointment to pick up your furry friend, arm yourself with knowledge of what to do before and after so you’ll become the best pet parent ever.
Decide where your pet will live in your space. Will he be able to run all over the house right away or need some potty-training time in the tiled bathroom or laundry room first? If you have roommates, make sure they know you will soon bring home a new furry flatmate.
Then see your space from your new pet’s point of view. Crawl around on the floor to see what your new pet may get into. Watch out for:
- Electrical cords and wires
- Shoes not intended to be toys
- Trash cans and recycling bins
- Cleaning supplies and chemicals
- Pools or water sources outdoors
Ensure a dog does not have access to certain harmful foods, like chocolate.
Next, purchase your new pet’s necessary supplies. For any pet, this includes items like:
- Food and water bowls
- Collars and identification tags
- Pet beds
- Safe toys
- Flea, tick and worm medications appropriate for your pet’s breed, size, age and health condition
For dogs, you’ll also need baby gates to keep them out of off-limits rooms and staircases, a crate for nighttime (for puppies) and a leash.
For cats, you’ll need a litter box, scratching post or two, supply of cat litter and litter scooper.
Set everything up before your pet walks in the door, and decide which vet you’ll use nearby in case there’s an emergency.
Now it’s time to bring home your pet and introduce him to his new environment – your home.
Try to pick up your pet in the morning on a weekend so he has a whole day to adjust to his new surroundings before bedtime, or schedule to bring him home when you have vacation time. Let him explore and smell his new surroundings – if you’re bringing home a puppy, make sure you give him a chance to go to the bathroom outside first.
Understand that your new pet will be a little nervous about living in a new environment, especially if he has just come from a kennel. If you have other pets already, you may need to introduce them to each other in a neutral environment – such as a family member’s house or park – so they won’t feel territorial. Cats may require a period of hissing at each other before they feel comfortable. Supervise the old pet and new pet for at least a week so you can be confident they’ll get along.
Be careful not to give your pet anything to play with except his designated toys. You don’t want him thinking that all socks, shoelaces or neckties are up for grabs.
Set boundaries from the beginning so your pet knows your limits, such as putting your dog in his crate at night – in a room other than your bedroom. Reinforce good behavior with treats and a positive tone. Try to keep as cool as possible, as accidents are bound to happen. Above all, enjoy your new pet!
Photo credit: Shutterstock / Oksana Kuzmina