You finally did it. You visited Texas Humane Heroes and you’ve found the newest member to add to your pack. While the adoption process left you and your best friend overjoyed and excited for what the future holds, it’s important to prepare for the first few weeks of welcoming a new pet into your home.
Whether you’re bringing home a dog or cat, preparation and knowing what to expect is imperative in making the transition process from shelter to home as smooth as possible.
1. Pet-Proof Your Home
Just as you would take precautions prior to bringing a new baby home, it’s also equally important to “pet-proof” before you bring your new family member home. This could mean storing items that are considered hazardous in safe places and hiding or covering loose items – such as wires, cables, or other items they shouldn’t chew on.
Think about the areas your pet will spend dedicated time in (where their crate or bed will be located) and devise a plan for what to do when you’re away from home. You might want to use a baby gate to keep your dog or cat in (or out of) certain areas while you’re away – though we can’t promise they won’t devise an escape plan of their own.
2. Set Boundaries and a Schedule as Soon as Possible
Without boundaries in mind, your pet might develop certain habits the moment they get home – and those habits will be hard to break after a few weeks or months. If you know ahead of time that your pet won’t be allowed on furniture or in the kitchen during dinnertime, it’s good to enforce this as soon as possible.
While you can set boundaries as soon as you get home, establishing a schedule might take a little longer. Even if your pet seems comfortable in your new home when you walk in the door, it’s best to allow them a little time to acclimate to the new environment. Within the next few days, you and your family can start acclimating them to your family’s schedule.
3. Talk to Your Kids About Encounters and Playing
Although your children will undoubtedly be most excited about a new pet, you should have a family sit-down regarding interactions and encounters with your new pet while they’re getting used to their new environment. Remind them that while it’s okay to be happy and excited, letting excitement grow too loud or crazy might overwhelm your pet and cause them stress.
Playing with toys is highly encouraged but let them grow comfortable at home before venturing around the neighborhood or to the dog park just yet.
4. Establish a Relationship with Your Veterinarian
After you bring your new family member, create a plan to establish a relationship between them and their veterinarian. Your veterinarian will be your best resource and your go-to in just about every aspect of your pet’s life and you’ll want to start sooner, rather than later to make sure your pet remains in good health.
5. Throw a Celebration!
Have you heard of rescue parties? They’re the latest celebration craze in special honor of bringing your rescue home. Once your new family member is comfortable with you, your kids, and in your new home, you can introduce them to friends and family – and provide the ultimate welcome to your home with food and a party, of course!
No matter if you’re welcoming home a dog or a cat, we’re proud of you for bringing home a rescue! With preparation and a plan, you can help your rescue feel right at home soon after they walk in the door so you can start creating that strong, everlasting bond.