Adopting a new pet can be a life-enriching experience but it also comes with responsibility for the whole family. If you’re thinking of bringing a new best friend into your family from LHS or any other shelter, we want to help you be best prepared!
Below are five generalized but essential things you need to know before you bring their paws into your place:
Make sure your home is pet ready
Pets of all ages and species are curious, energetic, and occasionally rambunctious. They always seem to get into the places and play with the things you least want them to. That’s why, when considering adopting a pet, it’s important to make sure your home and any outdoor space is a suitable environment for your new family member.
As you look around your home, do you see cords to chew? Do you have a bunch of plants that may be toxic (https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants) to your new furry friend? Is there ample space for the breed/species you’re considering?
Though your home certainly doesn’t have to be the perfect environment to provide a happy and healthy home for your new pet to live, small changes can make sure your animals are safe and happy in their forever home. Pay attention to things where cleaning products are stored, how easy it is to get into the garbage or pantry, and what chemicals like salt or fertilizer you’re using outside – these can all be essential for mitigating risk and making your pet comfortable.
Make sure your finances are pet ready, too!
A new pet can come with both expected and unexpected costs. Food, toys, routine vet appointments – these are known costs and can be budgeted for. However, animals, like people, often have unexpected needs like medication, emergency veterinary intervention, and more – and it helps to be prepared.
Pet ownership is a life-long commitment – sometimes lasting into decades. With that in mind, it’s helpful to think about what kind of financial commitment it may take to keep your new friend happy and healthy.
Pets can be a great addition to any home regardless of income level and there are great resources available for affordable treatment and food options for families that may need it. Be sure to do a little research about what’s available in your area so you know where to turn in times of need.
Get ready to make your pet part of your daily life
Life is stressful and busy for many of us, and adding an animal to that mix can be a welcome source of comfort and joy. However, animals (especially dogs) require time and attention to make sure they are living happy and fulfilling lives – and that time and attention comes from you!
Make sure you’re ready to commit to playtime, walk time, cuddle time, and more to ensure you’re meeting your pet’s emotional, physical, and health needs. Carving out time to give them your full attention can help with the transition into a home as well as ongoing health and happiness.
Buy the essentials!
Whether it be a cage, a litterbox, a food bowl, a water bowl, a tank, a toy – your new pet is going to need a few essentials that they’ll use on a daily basis. Make sure your home is stocked and ready with the things you know your new pet will need before you bring them home. Not sure exactly what you might need? The shelter where you adopt can help you create a list of essentials.
Another vital part of pet ownership: finding a veterinarian. Make sure you do some research as to what vet clinics and services are available in your area and start building a relationship with them. In our current climate, appointments can be backed up months in advance – so it never hurts to start looking even before you adopt.
Be patient, be observant, have fun!
A new pet is like any new experience: regardless of how much you research, plan, and anticipate, you can never predict exactly what’s going to happen. But that’s all part of the fun.
Whether you’ve had a pet before or this will be the first animal addition to your family, keeping an open mind, being patient with your new pet during their adjustment period, and keeping an eye out for any worrisome behaviors that might indicate medical or adjustment issues are simple steps to ensuring your life together with your new best friend is as smooth and wonderful as possible.
If you do come across any concerns, be sure to report them to your vet. Otherwise, embrace your new best friend and have fun!
Bringing a new pet in your home can be one of the most rewarding experiences there is – and being prepared will help ensure great outcomes for all. Follow the simple steps we’ve outlined above and you’ll set yourself up for a long and happy relationship with your new best friend.