When you’ve finally settled on your new pet, bringing it home is very exciting! Of course, some new pets are easier to plan for (such as hamsters and reptiles, which will ultimately be going into a cage or aquarium). So, let’s focus on bringing home a new dog or cat, who require far more considerations. And, it’s important to get it right, as these first few days and weeks can set the stage for things to come!
8 Tips for Bringing Home a New Dog or Cat as a New Pet Owner
There are a few things new pet owners should do before their feline or canine companion even enters the home, and then there are the rules to begin to live by after they’ve been introduced into the home. Remember, try to plan to be home for at least the first few days, whether it requires taking time off work or planning their arrival on a weekend.
1. Establish House Rules (for Humans and Pets)
The details of your dog and cat care regimen should be worked out in advance. If you live alone, you’ll obviously be taking care of the regimen! But if there are other household members, you’ll want to establish who will:
- Feed the dog or cat
- Let the dog out/Walk the dog
- Bathe the dog
You also should work out:
- Where they will sleep at night
- What furniture they are allowed on
- Off-limit rooms
2. Purchase All Necessary Supplies
You don’t want to have to run to the store for puppy pads or kitty litter in the middle of training! So, have what you need on hand before the new pet comes home. This may include:
- A crate and bedding
- Litter boxes and litter/puppy pads
- Collar and leash/ID tags (be sure to check into microchipping too)
- Food and water bowls
- Grooming supplies
- Cat scratching posts/dog toys
When considering the items you’ll need, it’s a lot like packing for a road trip with your pet! Check out this blog for more information.
3. Remain Calm (Especially Children)
This can be easier said than done, of course, but, do your best to keep your cool, and instruct children not to act too excited or rambunctious. Arriving at their new home for the first time is a big adjustment for any dog or cat, and their senses will be on overload, so it’s best not to overstimulate them with too much attention.
4. Give Them the Tour
A pet may be wary of their new home at first, so it’s ideal to take them on a tour of your home, allowing them time to check out their new surroundings, without other people or pets around (do not hold a “welcoming party” in the first few days; wait until they’ve had time to adjust). This guided tour with only you gives them time to explore and introduces them to the scents of their new human and pet family before meeting them all.
Do you have another pet? You may be wondering, “how do you get a cat and a dog to get along?” or “how do I go about bringing a new dog home to another dog?” The best way to get them together is to introduce them to one another gradually, in a safe and controlled way. You may introduce them in a neutral space, such as a friend’s home or in the park. If that’s not possible, make the introduction at home, but do it through a pet gate, or introduce your existing pet to the new pet through a crate so they can safely sniff one another. If there appears to be any hostility, separate them and try again later after they’ve calmed down. It could take a few tries; even normally gentle pets can get territorial at first when a new pet enters the home.
5. Restrict Their Room Access
Once the full tour is done, you should temporarily restrict your pet to a smaller area of the house (you can give them full access later, if you choose). This allows you to keep an eye on them and keeps them from becoming overwhelmed. Be sure they have everything they need in this space, such as a bed, toys, litter box/puppy pad, etc.
It’s also a good idea to provide a crate for your dog. Don’t think of it as a cage; just like us, pets like to have a place to call their own to relax, retreat, sleep, or hide a toy or treat. You’ll probably be surprised at how quickly they’ll take to it, and even run to it at night if you want them to sleep in it. A crate can also help with potty-training your pooch.
6. Prepare for Housetraining
Cats are usually a cinch to housetrain, as they instinctively cover their messes to hide them from predators. So, after a few trips to the litter box following a mishap, they’ll usually get the idea.
Dogs, on the other hand, usually take more time and patience. We could write an entire book on the topic, so we suggest you check out The Humane Society of the United States on the topic. They cover the need for establishing a routine, supervising your puppy, confining your puppy, and understanding that mistakes happen. Check it out here: How to Housetrain Your Puppy.
7. Watch for Signs of Illness
It’s recommended that your pet see a vet before and after adoption or sale to be sure they’re in good health. But, viruses can go home with a pet, or another issue could have been missed, so it’s always a good idea to watch for any signs that something is amiss after you’ve brought them home. These signs could be lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, sneezing, lack of appetite, scratching, or hair loss. If your new pet is experiencing these, you should contact your veterinarian.
8. Consistency is Key
It’s important to be consistent with rules from day one. While it might be tempting to hold your new puppy or kitten on the couch or let them sleep with you at first, if you ultimately don’t want them on the furniture or in the bed, don’t do this; it’s not fair to alter what’s expected of them later on, and causes confusion. Remember, it’s harder to break a bad habit than instill good habits from the get-go.
Creating a Happy Home with Your Pet
Dogs need routine and structure. And while cats may act like they rule the roost, they should understand some rules, too. Bringing home a new dog or cat is a big but exciting responsibility, but by following these tips the experience can be a good one for new pet owners and their furry friends.
Need help safely moving your pet over a long distance? Contact us today!
My Pet Cab
Subscribe to our Blog
Enjoy our content? Get them sent to your inbox!Subscribe Now