The holiday season of 2015 has come and gone. As is typical every year, the holidays brought new additional family members into some homes, from puppies and older dogs to kittens and older cats. The one thing those pets all have in common is that they went into a new home, a new environment with new smells, new people, maybe other pets, and a host of firsts.
Whether you brought in a new dog or cat to your home, there’s an adjustment period for your beloved pet that is different than it is for humans. The best thing you can do is to get ready: Prepare your new pet and your family. Also remember that patience is key.
To start, make sure to do your research and choose a good veterinarian. It’s also important to start off with a collar, proper tags and ID. A microchip is also a great idea in case your dog or cat gets out and gets lost.
For cats, the first 24 hours in the new home are very important. Cats are all about territory, so it’s not uncommon for cats to find a place and hide for a while. If you can, start preparing before you bring in your new feline, according to Bringing Home A New Cat. Here’s some other great tips from the article and more:
- “Choose a room for the litter box” and fill it up with enough litter. A corner is an ideal spot.
- Safety is important so ensure your cat feels safe by providing “a safe haven for the cat to hide in.” Try a covered cat bed or a box you can turn upside down and cut out two doors. The box should be large enough for your new cat to spread out, stand up, take a nap and pretty much chill.
- Provide scratching posts in all rooms for your cat’s sake and yours.
- Cat-proof the rooms in your home and ensure there are raised surfaces for your cat to sit on and observe the world and his or her territory.
- Until your cat feels at home, your valuable items are best moved out of the way until Miss or Mr. Kitty is more at home.
- Give your kitty space and time to adjust to the new surroundings.
- Ensure your cat has a bowl with enough water.
- When your new cat feels comfortable he or she will approach you so just let that happen.
- Your cat may take time to eat. It may take a couple days, but be sure to have high-quality cat food available.
Whatever you do, be patient. Cats are not called finicky for nothing! They’re special, each with distinct personalities, so let them figure out their new surroundings. Before you know it, your new feline family member will be calling it home.
Welcome Home, Fido
Dogs are different than cats and bringing them into a new home is different as well. Dogs get stressed very easily, especially in a new environment. Sometimes any training or positive potty habits get lost during the move due to being unfamiliar and scared. It’s also a time when many people give up on their dogs out of frustration. Again, a little patience goes a long way.
According to Tips for the First 30 Days of Dog Adoption, “Your new dog will be confused about where he is and what to expect from you. Setting up some clear structure with your family for your dog will be paramount in making as smooth a transition as possible.”
The following advice and tips from the article and beyond can help smooth over this important transition time:
- Because your new dog will be stressed and uneasy, pick a place where he or she initially will spend most of the time, such as the kitchen, which can help in case of accidents.
- Dog proof anything and everything you feel your dog could get into that may cause accidents, from electric cords to anything that breaks. This is a great time for baby gates.
- Have a crate ready if you plan to crate train.
- Enroll your dog in training classes or one-on-one training. If you plan to train on your own, ensure the entire family is on the same page with commands and direction. Socialization classes are also great to help your dog’s socialization skills with other dogs and people.
- Give your dog time to adjust to the new home. If you have children, make sure to properly introduce them, and teach your children the correct way to interact with the dog.
- Talk to your vet and do your research on the best nutrition for your dog’s best health.
- Keep your dog on a schedule for feeding, play time, socialization, and alone time.
- Praise your dog for positive behavior.
- Try to keep things calm and stress free at home so you can try to get to know your dog. This will also help him or her become more comfortable in the home.
Remember, when you bring in a new pet to your home, patience is key, and the more you prepare and learn, the better for you and your new dog or cat as those first few days are crucial. The better prepared, the better for all.