Bringing home a new pet can be both an exciting adventure and a challenge. Patience and planning will help make the transition from shelter to home much easier for you and your new pet!
Get all the necessary pet supplies ready before bringing your new family member home. Toys, bowls, food, leashes, and whatever else your pet may need. This will make the transition much easier and less hectic as you get use to taking care of your new friend.
Prepare your home before the pet shows up. Have plenty of kitty litter boxes for cats, a fenced in yard if you are going that route for a dog, and a “pet proofed” living area to help keep your new companion out of trouble.
Help your new pet ease into life co-existing with any current pet as easily as possible. Have them meet any current pet in a neutral location such as outdoors on a walk for dogs or a shared living area for cats. If you are curious about your current dog’s compatibility with a new dog, you can do a meet and greet at the shelter. If you are bringing dogs and cats together, make sure the cat has an area to escape to such as a high perch so it won’t constantly be harassed by the dog.
Set up a space for your new animal to call its own. Whether it’s a sunny window ledge for a cat or a comfy dog bed, having this space will help make the new pet feel comfortable in your home.
Set up rules ahead of time for your family to help take care of the pet. Make decisions on important questions such as: When are dogs going to be taken out? How often are litter boxes going to be cleaned? Thinking about these things ahead of time will help you be more realistic about the needs of a new pet and how your family will adapt to them.
Remember that everyone needs to be on the same page to help train the new animal if you want to be successful. If all members of the family are teaching a dog not to beg during dinner, all it takes to undo that training is one person feeding table scraps. Remember to be united and work together!
It’s best to plan to bring your new pet home when you will have some time to spend with it and make sure it is adapting well. Whether this means adopting before a long weekend or before a vacation, this will help you get a jumpstart on training and monitor your pet’s transition.
Start working on housetraining right away. Have enough litter boxes for new kitties. Bring new dogs out even more often than you normally would. This will help them learn that the correct place to go is outdoors and in the litterboxes- not in your home!
Make sure to keep up to date with your new animal’s health. Shelter staff that helped you with your adoption will also be able to tell you about current health concerns or medications the animal is taking that need to continue at home. It is also important to set up a vet visit to get a clean bill of health and get your new pet established with its veterinarian!
It’s important to have patience and realistic expectations when bringing home a new pet. Not every animal relationship will be easy from the very start. You may need to work to build trust and comfort with your pet or between the different pets in your home. But remember, if you give it time and effort, your new pet will be fitting in soon!