Adopting a pet can be a very rewarding experience, but it is not without its challenges. It’s a lifetime commitment to care for another living creature. Depending on where you get your pet, they may have medical issues or behavioural problems that must be addressed. Animal shelters are a great place to get a loyal cat or dog that will love you just as much as one from a breeder, but these pets may have special needs that new owners may not be able to provide.
Learning how to properly care for a pet after adoption can make the difference between a stressful first couple of months and a fun, memorable experience that you’ll cherish for the rest of your time with your pet. You may even enjoy it so much that you become a pet lover for life. It’s not unheard of for former adoptive pet parents to become absolutely enamoured with animals. Some even look into how to become a registered cat breeder or dog breeder so that they can provide others with great, family-friendly pets.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. First up is actually taking care of a new pet. Here are some things to keep in mind as you take on the responsibility of caring for a new furry companion.
What to Do After Adopting a Pet
1. Choose the right pet for your lifestyle. Think about how much time you realistically have to devote to caring for a pet. If you work long hours or travel frequently, a low-maintenance pet like a fish or reptile might be a better choice than a dog or cat. Consider also whether you have enough space for a pet—both in your home and in your yard. If you live in an apartment, you might want to stick to smaller pets that don’t need as much exercise, such as hamsters or guinea pigs.
2. Prepare your home for your new arrival. Make sure you have all the supplies you need before bringing your new pet home, including food, water bowls, bedding, toys, and litter (if applicable). If you’re adopting a dog or cat, you’ll also need things like a collar and leash, ID tags, and grooming supplies.
3. Introduce your new pet slowly to your other pets and family members. If you already have other pets, introduce them slowly and carefully to avoid any aggression or territorial issues. Give everyone plenty of time to get used to each other before leaving them alone together unsupervised. The same goes for introducing your new pet to young children— supervise their interactions closely at first until you’re sure everyone is comfortable with each other.
Very young children often don’t know their own strength, and can easily harm a puppy or kitten if they aren’t careful. The same goes for the puppies and kittens, as their teeth and claws can be very sharp. In general you will want to keep them separated until they’re old enough to play nicely with each other. A couple of pets here and there is okay, but refrain from letting them run around together.
4. Take your new pet to the vet soon after adoption. This is important for several reasons: first, so that the vet can check for any health problems; second, so that the vet can give you advice on things like diet and vaccinations; and third, so that you can establish a relationship with a local vet in case you need medical care for your pet in the future.
This tip is especially crucial for senior pets, who often have medical issues. Frequent check-ups will help ensure that they are getting the care that they need to live out their golden years in good health.
5. Be patient and consistent with training. Whether you’re teaching your new dog tricks or simply potty-training a kitten, remember that it takes time and patience to train any animal effectively. Be consistent with your commands and rewards (or punishments), and don’t get discouraged if it takes awhile for your pet to catch on—every animal learns at their own pace.
This can be easier or harder depending on the type of pet that you get. An intelligent, biddable dog should be a breeze to train, while an independent cat may take a good deal of effort even for experienced cat owners. Do some research into training your pet, and don’t be afraid to seek out professional trainers in case you need help.
6. Be prepared for accidents.
Pets have accidents, it’s just a fact of life. Be prepared with some pet-friendly cleaner and some old towels. And remember, accidents happen, so don’t get too frustrated if they happen to your new pet.