Monday, February 29, 2016

Quick Start Guide To Bringing A New Pet Home

Pets, unlike human children, are most likely to come into our lives with little to no warning. As unexpected as a human pregnancy may be, you still have 9 months to prepare. But with pets, when your eyes meet the eyes of your new fur child there is no delaying. You simply want your new cat or dog to come home as soon as possible- you've found the newest member of your family. And, whether you took in a stray off the street, fell in love with a wagging tail at the shelter, or eagerly awaited the birth of a new litter of kittens next door, you'll need to have a few things on hand when you bring a new pet home for the first time.
Considering where your new pet is coming from, and if you have existing pets, will have a big impact on how much preparation you need to make. If you already have a cat, and are bringing another cat home, you will likely have a lot of the basic supplies on hand already. However, you will want to think about issues such as integration and introductions with your existing pets. In most cases it is good to purchase and provide all new toys and bedding for the new pet to avoid issues of jealously or territory right out of the gate. If your pet is an adult it will likely already have it's own defined personality and it will be crucial to learn as much as is known from the previous care takers to help accommodate and special needs like private hideaways for anxious cats, tall furniture for active climbers and scratches or indestructible chew toughs for heavy chewers.
Sorting out toilet arrangements will be one of the first orders of business on your list when bringing a new pet home. Even older, house trained, pets will need guidance and definition of routine when transitioning to a new home. As silly as it may sound bring home the same supplies you would for house training a kitten or puppy, regardless of the age of your new pet. It may be absolutely un-necessary, but it's always best to be prepared on this topic if needed! For houses with multiple cats always set up a fresh little box in a defined space designated for the newest feline. They may still choose to use existing boxes, but having a fresh, clean, neutral box available will really help ease any anxiety when cats consider their scent a very important part of marking their territory.
Consult with the previous pet caregiver and a veterinarian for the specific food and treats appropriate for the age and breed of pet you are bringing home. While you may be tempted to spoil a new pet with a large variety of foods and treats it's best to keep the food to one brand or flavor, and treats the same when you first bring pets home. This helps establish a sense of stability while also allowing you to judge immediate reactions to the foods you are feeding your pets.In the first week pay special attention to your pets eating and waste habits to ensure that the foods you have chosen are the right ones. And, as with any pet, make sure water is readily available in multiple places throughout your home.
Consider any special healthcare or cleansing products your particular pet will need. Are you bringing home a stray or shelter pet that may have been exposed to fleas and parasites? Are you bringing home a puppy or kitten that needs gentle cleansing formulations for their weight and size? You will also likely want to invest in a coat moisturizer and ear cleanser- the coat cleanser to help soothe any dry skin related to climate changes (outdoor to indoor even) or stress induced shedding, and ear cleanser to establish a baseline of good hygiene and health in your home. If you notice your pet is handling the transition especially stressful you can as your veterinarian for supplement suggestions that may ease the stress, or consider a Thundershirt to help with this.
If you've had many pets in your family before you likely have a home that is well defined as pet friendly. However, if this is your first pet you will want to make sure you have a pet friendly space that is as equally safe as it is welcoming. Cats inherently need to be able to climb, and will do so with your own furniture if not given pet stairs, shelves, or cat trees to do so. They also need to scratch, it's a natural instinct, so encourage them to scratch on the right furniture with designated scratching posts and loungers. Dogs needs will vary on breeds, consider the age and shape of your dog when thinking about furniture does your pet need special furniture to get on and off the couch? Do you want to discourage your pet from sleeping on human furniture by providing extra comfortable beds? Make sure your pet has items that are clearly defined as their own, while considering ways to turn extistng furniture and space into welcoming ones as well.
And speaking of beds- Giving your pet it's own designated 'safe space' is a must when bringing a new pet home. Place any toys that may have traveled with your pets on the journey home with personal bedding in a space that is quiet and fairly private, but still allows for them to visibly see the family and goings on within the home around them. This can be as simple as a crate with an open door, or more fancy like a dog cabinet or memory foam pet bed with toy bin. For the first week, after bringing your new pet home, do not disturb or remove your pet when they put themselves in this space willingly. This will help encourage a sense of security and home where your pet will return to when they are stressed or tired.
Of course there will be other things you will want to pick up for your new pet along the way. Toys, training aids, collars, leashes, and accessories are all great to have on hand and consider. Most importantly, you'll want to have plenty of love and understanding on hand for that inevitable transition phase. While you will be overjoyed to have your new pet home at last, remember that your pet will be experiencing a whole variety or overwhelming emotions as they define their new home and make life-lasting relationships and impressions. Congrats on your new pet!

For more articles on bringing your first pet home, visit a few of my favorite bloggers.