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  • Writer's pictureSherry Groom

Bringing Home a New Cat or Dog

Updated: Nov 30, 2021

Congratulations on your new family member! If this is your first pet, or your first dog or cat, you might be a little nervous. First-time-parent jitters are normal so take a deep breath. You can do this!

Outfit Your Pet with External ID

Before you start thinking about bowls, toys, and treats, make sure your pet has a collar and ID tags. Even if your pet is safely enclosed in your home, mistakes can happen. There are many options for collars and tags for dogs and cats. No matter the design of collar and tag you choose, make sure to engrave your pet’s name and your phone number on the ID tag. If your animal doesn’t have a name yet, just put down your last name and phone number. Also invest in a leash for a new dog.

Pet-Proof Your Home

Look around your living quarters. Pet-proof the same areas that you would for a small child. Wires and sharp objects should be safely tucked away. Also make sure that your new pet is unable to knock over fragile items. Lastly, lock any cabinets that contain toxic chemicals.

Keep an eye on your pet during your first few days together. While your average animal can’t open a refrigerator, some clever pets, such as Siberian Huskies, are known to open fridges and gates without locks. If you leave your pet alone in your yard for extended periods of time, verify that your fence is tall enough to enclose your new animal.

Provide Some TLC

It’s normal for a new pet owner to be nervous. It’s also normal for the pet to be nervous. Moving to a new home can be scary and your living space, as familiar as it is to you, is full of brand-new sounds and smells to your new friend. Give your new dog or cat a comfy bed and blanket. Sometimes it’s helpful to initially limit your pet’s living space to one room or a crate. A smaller space feels less intimidating.

Start House-Training Immediately

It’s easier to establish good habits immediately than to break old habits later. Before bringing a dog into your home, make sure they have eliminated outside. Then bring your dog outside regularly to make sure they understand that they should pee and poop outdoors. Reward them with treats for proper bathroom habits. When you bring a cat home, confine their living space to one room with a litter box. They’ll be more likely to establish good habits from the get-go if they can easily find their litter box.

Keep Things Interesting

A busy pet is a happy pet. Dogs and cats don’t like being bored just like humans. When not occupied, they’re more likely to engage in destructive behaviors like chewing, scratching and digging. Keep your pet intellectually stimulated with games. Give them access to toys and provide plenty of exercise to burn off excess energy.

Bringing a new pet home can be difficult. Welcoming a new family member is quite a transition, but by taking these steps, your new dog or cat will be safe. Don’t be surprised if your pet shows signs of fear or anxiety or they don’t pick up on their training right away. When in doubt, contact your veterinarian or search for more helpful and specific tips on new pet ownership.

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