All in the Family: Bringing a New Pet Home
Adding a four-legged family member this summer? Check out Zootoo’s tips for making a new pet feel right at home.
Bringing a new kitten or puppy home is like welcoming a new member of the family. Whether it’s a cat or dog (or something with feathers or scales), there will be a lot adjusting for the little guy... and for you as well. So before you drop lots of money at the pet store to "please" your pet upon setting eyes on your new and strange home, check out these tips on creating pet-happy homes.
Pet-Proof Your Home
Look around your home. Do you see lots of electrical cords lying around? Little knickknacks that little paws can accidentally choke on? What about rubber bands, paper clips, or other small desk debris that ends up on the floor the day before you clean? You will need to pet proof your home, especially if you are welcoming a puppy or kitten into the fold, says Sarah Hatfield, a behavior specialist at the Shelby Humane Society in Alabama.
Before bringing your pet home, get down on your hands and knees and examine your surroundings from your potential pet's point of view. If you can blindly bring down a bunch of books or get into a shelf filled with harsh cleaning chemicals or little plants with possibly toxic leaves, get them cleared away where prying paws can't reach. A garbage can with a locking lid may be a good investment, says Hatfield, especially when curious kittens and pups looking for the source of food smells may create a mess all over the kitchen floor.
In the Dog House
You may have a fantasy about treating your pup like a prince. But think about what would make him the most comfortable first. Before you order a canopy bed for your newcomer, try starting with a good, old-fashioned crate.
In addition to assisting with housetraining, the crate also gives you a safe place to leave the dog while you are unable to supervise him for whatever reason, says Hatfield.
Even if you are told that the dog you are adopting is already housetrained, plan to treat him as if he’s not for at least the first two weeks. Moving to a new home is stressful for a dog, so sometimes he might forget his past training.
Before trying out new brands of dog food, find out what he's already been eating and get some more of the same, at least at first. If you want to change to a different food, do so gradually, says Hatfield. A gradual food switch will let your pet adjust and avoid digestive upset.
Scaredy Cats and Dogs?
All cat lovers know that kitties can have a mind of their own. You make a cozy cat bed for them and they'll sleep on your bath mat. Give them your bath mat and they'll suddenly fall in love with the cushion on your favorite chair.
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