Welcome Home! Adding a New Pet to Your Family
Congratulations! Adding a new dog or cat to your furry family can be an exciting time. While welcoming home your new family member should be fun, a little legwork ahead of time can go a long way towards making the transition a smooth one. Prepare yourself to be sure that you are ready to welcome your new pet into your home.
Making the Decision
Before committing to a new pet, it is important to be sure that your household is prepared to take on another four-legged friend. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Does anyone in your home have a medical condition that might make a new pet a bad idea or limit your options?
- Do you feel that your existing pets will adjust well to a new pet in the home?
- Do you have the time to dedicate to another pet? Are you able to take on the training involved with a puppy or kitten? Can you care for a pet with special needs?
- Are you financially able to properly care for another pet?
- Do you have the space in your home for all of your pets to have a harmonious existence?
Answering these questions honestly before taking the plunge is very important. It is not fair to bring a new pet home only to have to rehome him or her because you don’t have the time or someone in your family has an allergy.
Take your time choosing the right dog or cat. Hopefully this is a forever decision, you want to make the right one.
Prepping Your Home
If you have decided that a new pet is a good fit for your home, it is important to prep your household before bringing him or her home. You need to address this on a few fronts:
Pet proof – Pet proofing your home is very important, especially if adopting a puppy or kitten. Be sure to stow away potentially poisonous or harmful items, secure electrical cords, and strategically position baby gates to keep your new addition safe.
Prepare your family – This is particularly important if you have children. Be sure that everyone knows that your new family member will need a little space when acclimating to his or her surroundings. Try to get into a routine so that your new pet knows what to expect on a day to day basis.
Make it a home – Before bringing home a new pet, be sure that you have everything they need to feel at home. You will need food and water bowls, food, toys, a collar and leash, a safe place to rest (consider a crate), and a place to eliminate.
Being sure that your home is ready to welcome your new pet can make the introduction go much more smoothly.
Introducing a New Pet
When introducing your new pet to your existing ones, it is important to go slowly and have realistic expectations. No one can force two pets to like each other, but with some time and patience, most animals can get along. Use the following tricks to help ease the tension:
- Be sure that your new pet has had a wellness examination before introducing him or her to your household.
- Introduce your pets to each other’s smells using a blanket or cloth.
- Let them sniff each other under a door at first. You might try feeding each pet on opposite sides of the door.
- Be sure to introduce dogs in a neutral area.
- Watch body language.
- For cats, you might keep the new cat in his or her own room initially. Spend time with both the new and resident kitties during this phase.
- Be sure all pets have their own “safe” place to escape such as a crate.
- Don’t forget that you need a litter box per cat plus one!
- Do not introduce toys, food, or treats into the mix until you are sure that they will not cause a problem.
- Supervise closely.
New pets are so exciting, but be sure to continue to provide the resident pets with the attention and routine that they are accustomed to. This will ensure that your pet family remains happy and harmonious as it continues to grow.
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Schertz Animal Hospital
Since 1976, Schertz Animal Hospital has offered the greater San Antonio area outstanding pet care. Our state-of-the-art animal hospital in Schertz, TX compliments our stress-free handling and experienced veterinary staff. Make an appointment online or give us a call at (210) 659-0345 today!