Welcoming Your New Pet Home
According to the Humane Society, the main key to helping your pet adjust to a new environment is being both prepared and patient. It is important to understand that your new addition to the family is going through a lot and may take some time to adjust.
Before you bring your new pet home you should have the house set up for him or her (i.e. food and water dishes, bedding, litter box, toys, etc). If you are going to switch their food to a different brand than the rescue/shelter was feeding then introduce the new food gradually so you don’t upset their stomach. It is recommended that you take some time off of work or pick them up just before the weekend so you can spend the first few days with them to help them adjust. The first few days are critical in developing a bond with your new pet, but make sure not to neglect the other pets in the home! You don’t want them to get jealous! Also keep in mind that it is best to be “low-key” during these first few days and try not to overwhelm your new cat or dog with a lot of visitors, etc.
Sometimes new pets can develop minor issues due to being introduced into a new environment. It is not uncommon for kittens or full grown cats to develop a minor Upper Respiratory Infection (sneezing, runny eyes, etc). For both cats and dogs it may take time for them to develop a healthy and normal appetite or go to the bathroom regularly. If the decreased appetite is accompanied by vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or any other symptoms then your pet should be seen by a veterinarian.
When adopting your pet you should ask the rescue/shelter that you adopted them from if they need any booster vaccines, wellness testing (fecal testing, FeLV/FIV test (cats only), etc), or an examination. Often times new pets need at least one booster vaccination after adoption, especially if they are a puppy or kitten. In this packet, we have provided a coupon for a free first time examination as well as discounted booster vaccines if needed.
You should also decide on a plan of action when it comes to training and house rules. House rules and general routine includes things like: how many times a day will you walk the dog/let them out? What times will the dog/cat be fed and how much? Where will they sleep at night? Are there any areas in the home that are “off limits?” Please read the article on training your pet for further training information. Dogs especially rely on routines in terms of potty breaks, meals, etc. Cats also rely on routines to a certain extent but tend to be more independent.
If you already have pets at your home, and you are introducing a new pet, then you should take extra precautions. You should make sure that the existing pets are vaccinated and the new pet has been tested or medically cleared by a veterinarian for potentially infectious diseases (Upper Respiratory Infections, FeLV, FIV in cats are the biggest concerns, and in dogs we worry about Kennel Cough and Parvo).
When it comes to introducing the new pet to your existing animals patience is still key. The Humane Society has provided the following articles to help you integrate your new pet into your home:
If you have any further questions or concerns please feel free to contact us at University Veterinary Hospital at 510-841-4412 or [email protected].