While the pandemic has been challenging on many fronts, there is one good thing that has come out of it – pet adoptions have skyrocketed. Many animal shelters around the country have reported that their cages are empty as more Americans decide to adopt a pet while we’re staying at home. And while pet adoption can be a wonderful thing, it is important to make sure you – and your home – are prepared. Here’s what you need to do when you’re bringing home a new pet.
Have your supplies ready
Don’t wait until you’ve brought your new pet home to get the supplies you need. You should have everything you need for the first few weeks before introducing your new furry friend to your household. The types of supplies will vary by pet, of course, but some common necessities include:
- Food as well as food and water dishes
- Toys and treats
- Collar and leash
- Cleaning supplies that are safe for your new pet
Adopting a pet is a big commitment. Everyone in your family should be on board with welcoming a new pet. Have a family meeting before bringing your pet home to discuss who will be in charge of what. Determine who is responsible for feeding the pet every day and who will take the dog for walks. Discuss where the pet will sleep and if there are any rooms in the house that are off limits. If everyone is on the same page before your new pet comes home, then the transition will be much easier.
Prepare your home
For dogs and cats, you shouldn’t give them full reign of the entire home on the first day – especially if you have other pets. Give your new pet a chance to explore its surroundings before introducing other pets. In the beginning, restrict your new pet to a small area of your home. You can simply keep them in one room, such as a bedroom. Or you can create a smaller space by using baby gates. If you adopt a cat, make sure your cat knows where the litter box is, and show any new pets where their food and water dishes are located.
Know what will happen on “coming home day”
Create a plan for the first days that your new pet will be with you. If possible, try to schedule your pet’s “coming home day” when you will be home as much as possible. It’s good to bring a new pet home on the weekend or when you’re on vacation. You want to spend a lot of time with your new pet when they first arrive. And don’t neglect your other pets! Make sure to spread the love around, or you current pets may get a little jealous and act out.
Finally, it’s important to remember to have patience. Try to imagine things from your pet’s perspective. It must be very scary to be in a new environment with all these new people! Give them time to adjust and come out of their shell. Be prepared to deal with “accidents” as your pet adjusts to their new home. You’ll be rewarded with many happy years together.