The holidays are a popular time to bring home new pets. If you are considering bringing a new pet into your home this holiday season, here are some things to keep in mind.
- Always research a pet before getting it. Whether it is a certain breed of dog, a mutt from the shelter, or something different like a snake or a bird, do plenty of research before bringing the animal home. Every animal has it’s own unique set of needs that need to be met, and some of those needs might be very expensive. Make sure that you can meet those needs BEFORE bringing the animal home. Sometimes when our animals are older, or if we’ve just lost an animal, we forget what it was like to introduce an animal into our homes. It can be a long, messy process so you have to be prepared for and willing to deal with the worst aspects of pet ownership (accidents in the house, destroyed furniture, chewed shoes, loud vocalizations, behavioral issues, emergency vet trips, etc.).
- If you have done all the research and mentally prepared yourself for all the highs and lows of bringing a new pet into your home, the next step is to prepare your house for the pet’s arrival before getting it. Get all the supplies, decide on what rules you and your family will implement, know which veterinarian you will bring your pet to, make a plan for who will stop home for potty breaks in the middle of the day, and pet proof your house.
- Now that your house is ready, it’s time to bring the pet home. This is a very exciting time, and you and your family can’t wait to start bonding with your new pet but remember that coming to a new home can be stressful. Give them time to acclimate and don’t overwhelm them right away. If you have kids, teach them to be calm, quiet, and gentle with the new pet, and to respect their need for space.
- If you have other pets in the home, it is best to keep them separated while your new pet adjusts. Let them explore the new environment on their own first, and then gradually introduce new and old pets once the new pet feels confident and comfortable.
- If you are bringing a dog home to another dog, chances are you have already done dog-to-dog introductions and know the dogs get along well. However, bringing a new dog into the home is a very different experience for your current dog. It might have been all fun and games when they met before, but now this dog is on their territory, using their favorite items and getting attention from their owners. Make sure each dog has their own set of toys, bowls, and beds, and give your current dog plenty of attention while the new dog is settling in.
- If you are bringing a cat home, keep the cat in a single room for about a week. When cats are moved to new houses their first instinct is to hide. Giving them a small, secure place helps them acclimate faster to the smells and sounds of your house, and also helps you to know where they are. If you are introducing two cats, make the introduction very slow! Introducing two cats properly can take up to a month. Putting them together right away and saying “they will work it out” will not go well and could lead to those cats always having a bad relationship. Most shelters give you plenty of instruction on how to introduce cats to other pets. Listen to their instructions because they will work!
Recognize that as your pet gets more comfortable their behavior will change, especially if you adopted them from a shelter. It can take shelter animals up to two months to feel fully comfortable in a new home. As they become more comfortable they will start to show you more and more of their personality. It may not be what you expected, but learn to love that animal for who they are and adjust accordingly. Bringing home a new pet is a very rewarding experience, especially as you begin to build a bond with them. The staff at TGDS is very knowledgeable about bringing new pets home and doing pet introductions, so please ask us any questions as you consider bringing a new pet into your home.