Working for an animal welfare nonprofit, one of our favorite things is matching families with a brand-new pet! It brings us great joy to find homes for shelter animals, knowing that they’ve found love in a new family. And we bet as new pet owners, you’re also very excited to bring your animal home. You also might be a little nervous too. After all, you now have a living thing under your care. So what should you be doing in those first 30 days? Here’s our new pet guide!
One of the best things you can do for your new pet is to get them a microchip. All of our pets at Adopt & Shop already come with a microchip. You just need to register it at Found.org. Registering the microchip connects the chip to your contact information, so if your pet ever gets lost, they have a greater chance of being returned to you.
We also tell all of our new adopters to get an identification tag for their pet’s collar. While microchips are permanent, an ID tag is an easy way for a Good Samaritan to recognize your animal as your pet and not a stray. We even custom-engrave the ID tag for you on the spot at our store with your phone number and pet’s name.
Making your home safe for a pet is similar to baby-proofing a living space. You want to tuck away any sharp objects or cords that could become choking hazards. You should also hide any fragile belongings that could fall and break or you wouldn’t want chewed or scratched up. Be sure to also keep human food and substances that aren’t pet-safe (cleaner, alcohol, marijuana, etc.) out of reach of animals. Know that some clever pets are capable of opening cabinets, drawers and refrigerators! And if you leave your dog outside in the yard, your fence should be tall enough to keep in your pup.
Some new pets immediately acclimate to their new surroundings while others can be quite nervous. This is completely normal. Moving to a new place is scary! It’s full of new people, sights, sounds and smells. Give your new pet a comfy space of their own with a bed and blanket. Some pets also initially do well in a more contained space, like a closed-off room or crate. This smaller space is less intimidating than a whole house or apartment.
Start house-training with your new dog or cat immediately. It’s much easier to make good habits right off the bat than to break bad habits later. With dogs, take them outside to go to the bathroom before you even bring them inside your home. Don’t go inside until they’ve pooped and peed outside, and when they do, reward them with a treat. Then you can keep up the good work by taking them back outside frequently until you’re sure they can go longer periods without needing a potty break.
With new cats, first confine their living area to the same room containing their litter box. Cats need to easily find their litter box so this is an easy way to help ensure they can do so. Once you’re sure they’re completely litter box-trained, you can give them free run of the house.
Exercise is paramount for cats and dogs. Pent-up energy can lead to a lot of destructive behaviors like scratching, digging, chewing and whining. So play with your animals! Take them on walks! Your pets will thank you.
How were your first days with your new pet? Let us know on Facebook!