Bringing home a new cat or dog of any age – puppy, kitten, adult, or senior – can lead to a lot of excitement. It can also lead to questions on the best ways to introduce them to a new home, children, and resident pets. Before bringing a pet into your home, consider these tips from the Westfield Veterinary Group team.
Remember Pets are a Lifetime Commitment
Be sure you are prepared to provide medical care, love, and essential items – food, water, training, enrichment activities, exercise, and guidance – for the lifetime of the pet.
Give Your New Pet Time to Adjust to the Household
A new home is overwhelming to humans and pets alike. In the early days, watch for cues on how your furry companion is feeling. If they appear scared or timid, sit quietly and let them come to you. If they are full of energy and ready to pounce and play, encourage playtime and work on building the human-animal bond at that moment.
Provide Structure for Your Pet
A pet will always look to its family for structure and rules. Dogs, especially, crave routine, rules, and household boundaries – but remember that cats need structure too. Rules and ongoing training helps pets better understand what behavior you want – and providing a day-to-day routine helps them feel more confident, comfortable, and secure.
Do Not Allow Full Run of the House
When a new pet first enters your home, resist the urge to let them explore and have access to the entire house. This is especially true if other pets are already living in the home. Set up a small, secure area for your new cat or dog to help establish a safe environment, all while allowing any resident pet to adjust to their presence.
Introduce Resident and New Pets Gradually
Introducing pets can be stressful. To help ease the potential tension between fur babies, allow them to interact at appropriate times. Never allow a rambunctious kitten or puppy to run up and start playing with a sleeping senior pet. And vice versa. Do not allow the older, larger pet to scare the smaller, younger pet.
Keep all dogs on a leash until they are comfortable with other dogs or cats – and then allow monitored off-leash playtimes. It is best for cats to meet through opposite sides of the same door. Over time, gradually crack the door so they can start seeing each other, even if just for a few moments.
Create Rules for Children
Caring for a dog or cat is a wonderful experience for children, but they must know that a pet is not a toy and they need to be treated gently and handled with great care. Never allow young children to play unattended with the new feline or canine (or resident pet). There should always be adult supervision for everyone’s safety and comfort.
Schedule a Visit with the Westfield Veterinary Group Team
As soon as you welcome a fur baby into your family, we encourage you to contact our team to schedule a wellness visit. We have developed preventive wellness programs tailored to puppies and kittens, adult pets, and senior pets.
Learn more about our services here.