by Samuel Bennett, FCAS volunteer
Adopting a new pet is always an exciting time, but it’s also something that should be approached carefully. Before and after you bring a pet into your life, you should take measures to ensure that their forever home will be a safe and comfortable one
Even before you meet your new pet, you should be well-prepared. Make sure you have bowls, toys, beds, grooming supplies, and a collar and tag ready for the animal when they arrive. That way, you won’t be caught in a tricky situation if your pet needs something that you don’t have.
Safety is also a priority. You have to child-proof your house for a new baby, and four-legged ones are no exception. Go through each room and remove cords, chemicals, and fragile objects from where an animal could get to them – it helps to get down to the pet’s level so you don’t miss things that you might overlook, but a pet wouldn’t.
Once you’re ready to adopt, ask the shelter or breeder what and when the animal was last fed. Keeping your pet’s diet and schedule consistent will make the transition easier. If you need to switch brands, gradually mix in more and more of the new food with the old so your pet gets accustomed to it.
After you bring your new friend home, you’ll want to work on manners. To teach pets to stay off the furniture, put a bed or blanket in each room and keep them supervised. That way, you can reward them for staying off the couch and pull them off of things they shouldn’t be climbing on. If you can’t be around, keep them in a crate until you can trust them with roaming freely. You can also give dogs chew toys and cats scratching posts so they won’t have to improvise. The first few days are important, as this is where your pet will learn the habits they’ll follow for the rest of their lives. Make sure they’re good ones!
Finally, to ensure you understand and can provide for your pet’s health needs, make an appointment with a vet in the first week they’ll be living with you. Optimally, book this in advance so you’ll get it when you need it most.
Part of being a responsible pet owner is knowing how to best provide for a new pet. It’s never too early to get started!