Bringing Home A New Pet
Bringing home a new pet is an exciting moment for your household! Along with all the excitement, preparing for your new furry family member can also feel overwhelming.
Here are a few tips to make the transition easy and comfortable for both you and your new pet:
Request copies of all medical records and give them to your veterinarian before their exam. Find out if your pet is up-to-date on vaccines, if they are currently on any medications, whether or not they’ve been tested for heartworm disease, and which heartworm, flea, and tick preventatives they take. Be sure to schedule an appointment with your vet well in advance if you know when you are bringing your pet home.
Pet-proof your home. Take time to evaluate your home to ensure it is safe for a new pet. Make sure your yard is safe and any debris has been cleared. Thoroughly check the yard and fence for items that could result in cuts or lacerations, such as nails in the fence or exposed sharp branches. Inside your home, be sure to pet-proof toilets, electrical cords and outlets, house plants (some are toxic to pets), garbage cans, and food storage. Put fragile items away or out of reach and make sure your pet has a crate or designated space.
Make a plan for training. For new puppies and kittens, start training as early as possible. Adult pets may have special training needs. Make a plan to help them and discuss your training plan with your veterinarian for further suggestions.
If you have children or other pets in the household, it is important to introduce them gradually.
Introducing children: If you have children in your household, teach them how to welcome a new pet appropriately before bringing your furry family member home. Families should make sure children give new pets the space they need to get acclimated and allow them an opportunity to settle without being overwhelmed with their energy.
Introducing a new cat to a cat: Two weeks before bringing a new cat home, consider using a pheromone diffuser. Cat-appeasing pheromones — such as Feliway — help ease the stress of new cat introductions. In the beginning, keep your new cat separated from your current cat and let the cats adjust to each other’s scents. Make sure to have an additional litter box, separate food bowls, new toys, and beds for your new cat. Cats who previously ruled the house solo may not take kindly to having their belongings taken over by a new feline family member.
Introducing a new dog to a dog: Allow dogs to meet in neutral territory and on a leash. If possible, bring the dogs together several times before they live together. After you bring the new dog home, avoid leaving them together unsupervised. Separate new dogs during feeding time, and remove toys, treats, and beds during the transition period.
Introducing cats and dogs: If you’re introducing a new cat to a dog or a new dog to a cat, keep them separated for a few days and allow them to become familiar with each other’s scent in the home. Once they are relaxed, allow them to be in the same room but keep the dog leashed. Repeat this process until both pets are calm while in the same room.
Follow these tips and you’ll be on your way to success! If you have any questions or concerns, we are here to help. Call us at (703) 729-0700 — we look forward to meeting your new pet!