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Helping Your New Pet Settle In

April 1 2024

Are you planning on adopting a new pet soon? Congratulations! Welcoming a new pet into your home can be very exciting! However, it’s important to realize that major changes can be very stressful for our furry friends. It’s important to take steps to help your new buddy ease into their new home. Read on as a local Urbana, IL vet offers some advice on welcoming your new animal companion.

What Is The 3 3 3 Rule For New Pets?

This is a good rule of thumb to keep in mind. It’s usually used in reference to dogs, but it pretty much applies to other animals as well. It will take Fido three days to get used to a new home, three weeks to settle in, and three months to really feel at home.

What Do I Need To Get Before Bringing My New Pet Home?

A trip to the pet store is definitely on the agenda. If possible, you’ll want to go before you bring your furry friend home.

Here are some of the things you’ll need to pick up:

  • Toys
  • Bedding
  • Crate or Carrier
  • Dishes
  • Leash
  • Collar or Harness
  • Scratching Post Or Board (Cats)
  • Grooming Supplies
  • First Aid Kit
  • Paw Care (Dogs)
  • Litterbox And Litter (Cats)
  • Treats
  • Food

Some of these things should be selected with your pet’s age and size in mind. A treat made for a Pomeranian isn’t going to be big enough for a Great Dane! With cats, this also applies to litter boxes and litter. You really should never use clay or clumping litters with kittens. Baby cats are quite clumsy, and they sometimes accidentally ingest litter. These types of litter can cause intestinal blockages, which are very dangerous and can even be life-threatening.

As for food, if you can find out what your new pal has been eating, get that brand to start. It’s always best to make changes slowly. Otherwise, your pet could get an upset stomach.

In many cases, you’ll want to put these things in a quiet area, such as a spare room. This will give your pet a place to relax, unwind, and just get used to their new home. That separation is particularly important if you have other animals. Ask your Urbana, IL veterinarian for more information. 

What’s The First Thing I Should Do When Bringing My New Pet Home?

This is going to vary a bit, depending on what sort of animal you’re getting. If you’re adopting a dog, then you’d want to take Fido for a walk around the block. This is helpful for a few reasons. For one thing, he’ll be able to burn off any nervous energy he has. It will also give him a breather to reset and process what’s going on. Plus, he’ll have a chance to scope out the lay of the land and get an idea of what his surroundings are.

This, of course, wouldn’t apply to a kitty! If you’re getting a cat, bring Fluffy into her designated area in her carrier. Don’t pull her out: open the door and let her explore when she’s ready.

How Do I Prepare For A New Pet?

Petproofing should be first and foremost here. Many common household items are dangerous to our four-legged pals. You’ll want to remove or secure anything that isn’t safe.

Here are a few things to address:

  • Small/Sharp objects: Beads, buttons, coins, craft kit pieces, jewelry, safety pins, paper clips, earbuds, etc.
  • Toxic plants: Lilies are at the top of that list for cats, while Sago palms are one of the most dangerous for dogs. Check the ASPCA site here for more information.
  • Plastic bags/Ties
  • Ropes and Cords: That includes things like drape cords, wires, thread, and yarn.
  • Medicine: both prescription and OTC meds are dangerous
  • Chemicals: Any type of chemical, whether it’s a cleaning agent, automotive product, or anything else, is unsafe.
  • Lawn/Garden Products: This includes things like fertilizer, fungicide, and herbicides. Pesticides are also very dangerous. Slug bait, for instance, is a common cause of poisoning in dogs.

Don’t forget the outdoors! If you’re getting a pup, check your fencing and yard as well. Ask your Urbana, IL vet for tips on this. 

How Do I Bond With A New Pet?

Don’t expect this to happen right away. To be fair, some pets will immediately decide that their new human is the best thing ever. Fluffy may immediately curl up on your lap, and Fido may not take long to bring you a toy or start wagging his tail when you go for the treat jar. However, some pets will need time to get to know you.

Rescued pets often need time to feel safe. Even if they are going to a much better place than they were, it’s still a big change, and they’ll need to assess their new surroundings.

The biggest thing to remember is don’t force it. Love can’t form without trust, and trust has to be earned. That takes time, as well as love and great TLC.

That said, we do have some pointers.

Snacks: Treats can go a long way here. While we normally would advise against spoiling your pet, you can pamper your furry pal a bit in those first few days. Just stick with safe options, and don’t go too crazy.

Toys: Fun toys not only give pets an outlet for any anxiety or zoomies, they also help form a positive association with their new home. Playtime is also great, though of course you don’t want to force this. Offer a variety, and see what your pet likes best.

Small Comforts: It doesn’t take much to make your home cozy and welcoming for Fluffy and Fido. Little luxuries like comfy beds are a must. Kitties will appreciate scratching posts, boxes, window seats, and, of course, cat towers. (Tip: if you’re working with a tight budget, go the DIY route, and upcycle a stepladder or storage unit.)

Conversation: Talking to your pet in a gentle, friendly tone will help them get used to you. It doesn’t matter what you say: it’s the inflection of your voice that’s important.

Stability: Pets tend to feel safer when they are kept on steady schedules. Get your furry pal started on their new routine right away. Consistency is also important when it comes to house rules. If you don’t want Fido on the couch, don’t let him ‘get away’ with it the first night: he’ll only get confused later. 

How Do I Introduce A New Pet To My Other Pets? 

If you have cats, you’ll want to do this very gradually, over the course of several days. Let the kitties get used to each other’s scents, and let them meet when they seem to have accepted each other’s presence. 

With dogs, you’ll ideally want to introduce them before bringing Fido home. Otherwise, let them meet on a walk on neutral ground. Keep a close eye on both pups’ body language! 

Make An Appointment At Your Urbana, IL Animal Clinic

Of course, one of the first things you’ll want to do is contact your vet and make an appointment. Your new animal companion will need a thorough exam. Fido and Fluffy may also need parasite control, vaccinations, microchipping, and/or spay/neuter surgery. Be sure to bring any records you have already. 

This is also a great chance for you to get some specific advice on your pet’s diet and care needs! 

Do you have questions about your pet’s new health or care? Contact us, your local Urbana, IL pet clinic, today! 

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