Making the decision to bring home a furry companion requires a lot of forethought and planning. You have to consider what type of pet you want, age, training level, and even the environment you’ve created in your home. Once you make the choice to adopt a pet, it becomes a whirlwind of activity, joy, and maybe even a bit of frustration. Here are a few tips that will help you make that big decision and give you the best chance of success for raising your new furry friend!
CHOOSING THE RIGHT PET
When it comes to adoption, you have plenty of options for welcoming a new member to your family. It’s easy to fall in love with the first puppy or kitten that you see, but you need to ask yourself a couple of questions before taking one home from the shelter.
Should you get a dog or cat?
Initially, younger dogs require more time for training, exercise, bathroom breaks, and mental stimulation. Different breeds and life stages require different activities to keep their training on track—and to keep them from eating your furniture when they’re bored! Cats tend to be more independent, meaning they don’t need as much human interaction or training. However, kittens still need to know things like where their food and litter box is, and adjust to feeding schedules—or else you could end up with a new kitten alarm clock on the weekends.
Can you afford it?
When it comes to adopting a pet, cost is always a factor. To help you prepare, set aside a budget for food, vaccinations, toys, and vet bills. It’s also wise to remember unforeseen things like injuries and sickness can factor into your budget. However, most pet owners understand if they care for their pet at the highest level then there is nothing that can compare to the unconditional love a dog or cat brings to a household.
YOU’VE MADE THE DECISION
You’ve decided what type of pet you want—now it’s time to bring your new family member home! Make sure you have a few essentials on hand for their welcome party.
Prepare your home
Have proper food and fresh water available. Find out information about their prior diet so that you can gently transition them to their new food. Feeding raw? Check out our Transitioning pages for dogs and cats!
Have a variety of toys. Your pet is going to go through an adjustment period in their new home. Different toys like plushies, tug ropes, or chew toys will make it easier for your pet to settle in and bond with you!
Start a file
Ask if your new companion has a vaccination history. Like humans, our fur friends are susceptible to a variety of illnesses. The shelter should have a prior record of which shots your pet has received to prevent Kennel Cough, Canine Parvovirus, Parainfluenza and other common viruses. Keeping these vaccination records in a file will help you track your new dog or cat’s health history and stay up-to-date with preventive health.
It’s natural for us to expect our pet to snuggle up next to us in bed when we bring them home, but it’s also important to make sure dogs and cats have their own space. Just like us, pets need alone time. By providing a pet bed or crate, we give our pets a space in our home to call their own.
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU NEED
Your new companion will require a lot of patience. Regardless of age, species, or breed, you have to remember you are bringing your pet into a new environment. It will take time for them to adjust, and sometimes even longer to train. Every difficult day will be worth it when you see your pet’s tail wag, or they jump up next to you on the couch after a long day at the office.