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Helping Your New Pet Get Settled In

April 1 2024

Are you going to be adopting a new pet soon? Congratulations! Bringing a new pet into your home can be quite thrilling! Gotcha Day is a pretty big deal for both you and your new buddy! However, it is vital to recognize that major changes can be highly stressful to pets. Continue reading for some suggestions from a local Haddon Township, NJ veterinarian on how to welcome your new pet home.

What Do I Need To Get Before Bringing My New Pet Home?

A trip to your local pet store is certainly on the agenda. If feasible, you should go before bringing your pet home, so you can have everything ready in advance.

Here are some of the items you’ll need to get:

  • Dishes
  • Grooming supplies
  • First-aid kit
  • Toys
  • Bedding
  • Crate or Carrier
  • Food
  • Paw care (dogs)
  • Litterbox and Litter (Cats)
  • Treats

Some of these options should be chosen with your pet’s age and size in mind. A toy breed treat will not be big enough for a Saint Bernard! This also holds true for litter boxes and litter in cats. You should not use clay or clumping litter with kittens. Baby cats are pretty clumsy, and they occasionally consume litter by accident. These types can create intestinal obstructions, which are extremely harmful and can even be fatal.

If you can figure out what your new friend has been eating, start with that brand. It is generally advisable to make adjustments gradually. Otherwise, your pet’s stomach could get upset. Ask your Haddon Township, NJ veterinarian for specific advice. 

Create A Safe Haven

It’s best to prepare a separate space for your new arrival. Set aside a room or area for your pet, and put all of their things there.

This will allow your pet to rest, decompress, and get adjusted to their new surroundings. 

You may notice that your new pet sleeps a lot at first. That’s normal! This is very common, particularly with pets that were adopted from shelters. That’s a very stressful environment, so pets often need to rest a lot as they decompress. 

If you have other animals, that separation is even more important. 

What Is the First Thing I Should Do When Bringing My New Pet Home?

This will depend on the type of pet you get. If you’re adopting a dog, take Fido for a walk around the neighborhood. This is useful for a number of reasons. He will be able to expend any nervous energy he has. It will also provide him with a chance to reset and process what’s happening. In addition, he’ll be able to get a sense of his new environment.

This would obviously not apply to a kitty. If you get a cat, bring Fluffy to her designated spot in her carrier. Don’t force her out; instead, open the door and let her explore when she is ready.

What Is the “3 3 3 Rule” For Helping New Pets Adjust?

Basically, expect your pet to take three days to adjust to new surroundings, three weeks to settle in, and three months to truly feel at home. However, keep in mind that this is a general guideline. Every pet is a bit different. 

How Should I Prepare My Home For My New Pet?

Petproofing should be the top priority here. Many everyday household products are hazardous to our four-legged friends. You’ll want to remove or secure anything that is unsafe.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Poisonous plants: Lilies top the list for cats, while Sago palms are among the most harmful for dogs. For additional information, visit the ASPCA website here.
  • Plastic bags/ties:
  • Ropes and cords: These include drape cords, wires, thread, and yarn.
  • Medicine: both prescription and over-the-counter medicines are unsafe.
  • Chemicals: Any chemical, whether a cleaning agent, an automobile product, or something else, is hazardous.
  • Small and sharp things, such as beads, buttons, coins, craft kit parts, jewelry, safety pins, paper clips, and so on.
  • Lawn/Garden Products: This category contains fertilizer, fungicides, and herbicides. Pesticides are also quite harmful. Slug bait, for example, is a common source of poison in dogs.
  • Personal items, such as shoes, earbuds, phones, wallets.

Pay attention to outdoor areas, too. If you are obtaining a puppy, make sure your fencing and yard are in good condition. Ask your Haddon Township, NJ vet for advice on this.

How Do I Form a Bond With a New Pet?

Don’t expect this to happen immediately. 

Some pets will instantly determine that their new human is the greatest thing ever. Fluffy may immediately curl up on your lap, and Fido may quickly fetch you a toy or begin wagging his tail when you approach the treat jar.

Some pets, though, will need some time to get to know you. Rescued pets often need time to feel comfortable. Even if they’re heading to a great new home, it’s still a significant adjustment, and they’ll need time to decompress and appraise their new circumstances.

 Don’t force it. Love can’t develop without trust, and trust must be earned.

That being said, we do have some pointers.

Small Comforts: It’s easy to make your home cozy and welcoming for Fluffy and Fido. Comfortable bedding and other small comforts are essential. Scratching posts, boxes, window seats, and, of course, cat towers are all popular among cats. (Tip: If you have a limited budget, consider upcycling a stepladder or storage cabinet.)

Conversation: Talking to your pet in a soft, friendly tone may help them become accustomed to you. The inflection of your voice is more important than what you say.

Stability: Consistent schedules help pets feel safer. Get your furry friend started on their new routine straight away. Consistency with the house rules is also vital. If you don’t want Fido on the couch, don’t let him ‘get away’ with it the first night; he’ll be puzzled afterward.

Snacks: Food can go a long way in this situation. While we typically advise avoiding spoiling your pet, you can indulge your furry friend a bit more than you usually would during those first few days. Just stick to the safe selections and don’t go too too crazy.

Toys and Playtime: Not only do fun toys assist pets in relieving anxiety and zoomies, but they also help them develop a positive relationship with their new home and humans. Try several things and observe which ones your pet likes the most.

How Can I Introduce a New Pet to My Existing Pets?

If you have cats, do this gradually over a few days. Allow your furry friends to become accustomed to one another’s scents and meet when they appear to have accepted each other’s presence.

With dogs, you should preferably introduce them before finalizing the new pup’s adoption, to make sure they’ll get along. Otherwise, they should meet for a walk on neutral ground. Keep an eye on both puppies’ body language!

Schedule an Appointment at Your Haddon Township, NJ  Animal Clinic

Contact your Haddon Township, NJ veterinarian and schedule an appointment as soon as you can. Your new animal companion will require a full exam. Fido and Fluffy may also require parasite treatment, immunizations, microchipping, and/or spay/neuter surgery. Remember to bring any existing records. This is also an excellent opportunity for you to get personalized advice on your pet’s nutrition and care requirements!

Do you have any questions about your pet’s new health or treatment? Contact us, your Haddon Township, NJ, neighborhood pet clinic, now!

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