Preparing the Family and Home
Finding the right veterinarian is important and something that you should handle before bringing your pet home. To ensure you choose a vet that you can keep long-term, put the time in now to confirm you’re making a good choice. Visit veterinary practices to ask important questions and observe the staff. Once you choose a vet, make the first appointment within a week of bringing your pet home. Go ahead and get a referral for after-hour and emergency veterinary services if they’re not provided at your vet’s office.
If you have children at home, teach them some basic rules to protect the health and safety of your children and your new pet. Children need to understand that pets are living creatures and not toys. Also, new pets may be scared, anxious, and timid at first and need time to adjust, so be careful not to overwhelm the pet. Allow the pet to approach you when the pet is comfortable, and hold out your hand so the pet can sniff it before you pet him or her. If the pet attempts to wriggle out of your arms, don’t restrain the pet. When they’re sleeping, eating, or chewing on a toy, leave the pet be. Never pull a tail or fur, twist ears, or chase a new pet.
Safety proofing your home before your pet arrives is crucial. New pets will probably want to sniff around and explore the new environment, so take a few steps to ensure his or her safety. Tape down electrical cords, remove houseplants, and place household chemicals out of reach. You may also want to put away high-value or fragile items. Get on your hands and knees to view the floor and check for small items. Place trash cans in cabinets or attach a secure lid. Consider installing pet gates as well. If you have a fence, ensure there are no gaps or broken areas.
Helping Your Pet Adjust
Give your pet time to acclimate to your home and family before introducing him or her to other people. If you’re using a crate for a dog, leave the crate open so that he or she can go in whenever he or she feels like it or gets overwhelmed. When you pick up your pet, ask what he or she was fed and what the feeding schedule was like. From there, start your schedule of feeding, bathroom breaks, playtime, and exercise. Dogs in particular need plenty of exercise. Consider hiring a dog walker if you have a busy work schedule and will be working long hours.
When bonding with your pet, the most important thing to remember is to be calm and patient and to provide consistent attention. Many activities you do with your pet provide bonding opportunities. Stroking, patting, and gently grooming will comfort your pet and build a bond. Playtime and training are enjoyable for your pet, important for his or her health, and strengthen your bond. There are many activities that a dog can accompany you on, including sporting events, restaurants, hiking, and more.
Choosing to adopt a pet sets you on a journey that will last until your pet reaches his or her senior years. To ensure that journey creates a loving and rewarding relationship, it’s important to provide a safe and comfortable environment from day one. Take the time to prepare your home for a pet. Bonding with your pet and helping him or her adjust will make the transition as smooth as possible, and the two of you will be companions in no time.