So you think you want a new pet? Adopting a new pet can be a fun and exciting experience for both the owner and the pet. It is important to plan for your new arrival in order to reduce stress and have a smooth transition.
Is now the right time to own a new pet?
Adopting a new furry four-pawed friend can require a 10 to 20 year financial and time commitment. Are you committed to caring for your pet over the long term? Your pet will be with you for baby births, career changes or relocating from one home to another. Most importantly make sure to consider:
- Time – it is vital to verify that your schedule permits being able to spend quality time with your new pet. If your work schedule is super demanding or you spend a significant time away from home, now is probably not the ideal time to take on a new pet.
- Money – While it is not necessary to be a millionaire, it is recommended to have funds set aside to assist with purchasing, food, grooming services, pet insurance, pet supplies and veterinary care.
- Children and Current Pets – It is essential to consider whether your kids, alongside inhabitant pets, can handle the addition of large feline or a small canine to your family.
Do your research
After you have confirmed that now is in fact the right time to adopt a new pet, it is time to do a little research. Make sure that animal you plan on inviting is a good match for your:
- Space requirements
- Time (again make sure the time you have available is enough to satisfy the animal breed you intend on adopting)
Create a list of house rules
If you live with family members or a roommate, it would be wise to create a list of house rules. Doing so will keep everyone comfortable for the introduction and transition of bringing a new animal into the home. Decide on the following:
- What areas of the house are off limits?
- Is the pet allowed on furniture?
- Where will the dog go to bathroom (when they can not go outside)?
- Who is responsible for walking the dog?
- Who is responsible for feeding the dog?
- Who is responsible for washing out food or bowls?
- Who is responsible for cleaning up after the dog?
- Who is responsible for changing the kitty litter?
- Who will be responsible for grooming?
Depending on the size of your family these tasks and chores may change but it important to have a list of house rules so there is absolutely no confusion about who does what. The list can evolve as you see fit.
Stock up on equipment and supplies
It is important to be prepared with all of the equipment and supplies needed to welcome your new pet. At the minimum purchase the following items to get started:
- Safety gates (to block off rooms, stairwells, etc.)
- Food dispensing toys
- Grooming equipment
- Kitty litter
- Poop bags
- Pooper scooper
- Puppy pads
Safe-proof your home
A new pet will most likely be curious about her new surroundings, the first few days she will be probably sniffing around as she acclimate to her new home. Be she arrives safe-proof your home by:
- Make sure that other pet’s in the home have updated vaccinations so that illnesses are not passed amongst pet’s.
- Prepare children for the new pet, teach them that a animal is not a toy and to handle with care.
- Conceal electrical cords by taping them down, relocating them or remove altogether.
- Elevate or discard household chemicals.
- Install safety gates if necessary.
- Place trash cans in cabinets, pantries, the garage or outside.
- Put expensive and/or fragile objects in a safe place.
- Put children’s toys and small items away.
- Repair damage or gaps in fences and gates.
Find a veterinarian
If you do not already have a veterinarian for your new friend, it is very important that you establish who will give your pet both emergency and primary care. In order to find a veterinarian, ask friends and family members for referrals and do some research online to find a veterinarian that is knowledgeable about your breed. Compile a list of a veterinarians in your area and schedule a visit. At each location assess the following:
- Is the office clean?
- Observe how the staff handle and treat both the animals and pet owners.
- Hours of operation
Ask the veterinarian:
- Ask them do they like dogs? Or cats? (This is important!)
- What is their treatment philosophy?
- How emergency care and specialty care referrals are handled.
- What surgical procedures are they able to perform?
- How is anesthesia administered?
- Do they accept pet insurance?
- What are the payment options?
- How do I access pet medical records?
If your new furry friend is a dog, it could be very useful to sign him (and yourself) up for dog training or obedience classes to help with housebreaking and manners. Learn how to get your dog’s attention and handle him in various social settings.
Preparing your home for a new pet is an important task that (thankfully!) can be broken down into smaller tasks for the entire family to help out with. Keep in mind that the more prepared you and your family are for your new pet the smoother the transition will be.