There are many things to consider when bringing home a new pet. The temperament and activity level, grooming, feeding and the pets already in the home. Hopefully you are adopting and not shopping at a pet store. These dogs come from puppy mills where they are treated inhumanely for breeding purposes only. So many new pets are given up because they don’t get along with pets already in the family. Some owners even go so far as to keep the new and out with the old!
So you found your new puppy or kitty to join your family. Socialize, socialize, socialize. You will hear me say that a lot. Do not keep one pet for 5 or 10 years and then try to socialize. As a pet sitter and foster mommy, I see constantly how important this is! First order of business is making sure your pet is healthy. Another plus of adopting, pets are healthy and up to date on shots and spayed/neutered. (If there are any health issues, you will be told). Pet store pups usually have some kind of medical issue.
You have a cute 10 or 2o lb. dog that is going to grow up. How big will he get and how much food will he need? Same for a kitty. Do you live in an apartment or do you have a huge yard to roam around in. Is there a place or way to separate pets if needed? There is going to be an adjustment period, some take longer than others and cats especially are picky and need their own space, a place to get “away”. It is a good idea when adopting to bring your pet with you. An initial visit cannot predict their future relationship, but will give you an idea. If you are not sure if your dog is cat friendly, for example, adopting a cat is not the way to find out.
Introduce new pets slowly, whether a pup, kitten or adult, to their new home and other pets. The first thing they will do is sniff the whole house, maybe a room at a time. They should have their own bedding, water and food bowl, toys and litter box for each cat. The rule of thumb is one more litter box than cats in the house. I have 3 cats and & 3 boxes. (Each one does not have it’s own designated box, but they have a choice of which to use). Cats should be put in a separate room for about 24 hours to get used to their new environment. Dogs should be introduced slowly to the other pets. Use your judgement to see how quickly and how much to interact with other pets in your home.
If you show a cat once where the litter box is, they usually get it right away. If you have a pup, take them out to their designated “potty” spot at least every two hours. If you have an adult take them out about 4 times a day to their “potty” spot. A word about a potty patch. FYI: I got one for my Shih Tzu who refuses to go “out” in the rain. She will not poop on this pad. I have often heard people get two, one for pee and one for poop. I still have only one.
Give your new pet lots of love. Walking is a great way to bond and train your new dog. Get appropriate toys depending whether you have a strong chewer or a gentle giant. I would recommend getting an interactive toy also. They are just not for dogs left alone. They all need some type of mental stimulation.You do not need to spend a lot of money on cat toys, they usually are happy with household items, such as strings, bottle caps, rubber bands. Keep in mind if these should be kept away from other pets. Cats are happy with a cardboard box with a blanket, you do not need to spend a lot on cat furniture, this is more for you than the cat. Cats do like to climb and need that outlet someway. Female cats will spray, too, it is just not for males, over territory. A scratching post is a necessity!
Take your dog the dog park as often as possible, even if you have a yard. This is a great way to socialize your dog. Start socializing ASAP , whether 4 months (after all shots) or 4 years. Please walk your dog, play and talk to your dog. They understand more than you think. Find out what your dog’s or cat ‘s favorite game is. Please spay/neuter your pet. This will not harm your pet and male dogs will be less aggressive, and cut down on a male cat spraying.
Note: Pet Rescue Remedy is a flower essence remedy great for cats and dogs that are getting use to a new home environment. Helps restore emotional balance whenever your pet is under pressure and needs help overcoming a variety of emotional or behavioral problems. So many pets are given up, simply because the owner did not realize what they were getting into. The shelters are full of homeless pets! Adoption should be a lifetime commitment, please adopt with this in mind.