Adopting a new dog or cat is a wonderful and fulfilling experience! But if you're not prepared to welcome your newest family member, you could be in for a few challenges down the road. To ensure a smooth start to your relationship, here are five steps you should follow to welcome your newly adopted pet into your family.
1) Shop for essentials
Before you adopt your pet, it's important to make sure they'll have everything they need. This includes food and water dishes, toys, a bed, and the right food for their nutritional needs. For a dog, you'll also need a leash and a crate, although it may be better to buy the latter after you adopt so you'll know what size you need. Don't forget to get an ID tag for your pet as soon as possible!
2) Establish a schedule (and stick to it)
After you bring your new pet home, one of the first things you'll want to do is set up a feeding schedule (and a walking schedule, if you've adopted a dog). Establishing a routine early on will help your cat or dog feel more secure and adjust to their new life faster. It's a good idea to use the same words as a signal each time so your pet will always know when it's time to eat!
3) Make time to bond with your pet and help them adjust
Your newly adopted pet won't feel welcome in your home unless you treat them like family! Set aside some time every day to bond with your dog or cat and help them get used to their new space. Adjusting to a new life can be difficult, but with enough love and patience on your part, your newest family member will soon feel right at home!
4) Slowly introduce them to new people and environments
Adjusting to a new home and family is hard enough for an adopted pet. You don't want to stress them out even more by bringing too many new people and things into their life at once.
Try to introduce only one new person to your pet at a time. Cats can be especially timid, so be patient if your cat takes time to adjust to new people. If you've adopted a dog, you may not want to take them to the dog park until a few weeks after they've gotten used to your family and friends.
5) Take your pet to the vet for their first checkup
You should schedule a visit to the vet within the first week of adopting your pet. Try to arrive early to fill out the registration paperwork and be sure to bring any medical and vaccination records provided by the rescue or shelter.
The vet will run some basic tests and may ask you a few questions about the dog or cat's history. Keep in mind that this first checkup is a great time to ask your vet any questions you have about caring for your new pet, as well as to get some clues about the pet's personality.
Adopting a pet can be a little daunting, but by following these steps, you can help your new cat or dog feel welcome in your home. Help them start their new life on the right paw!