Avoiding a “Ruff” Transition: Adding a New Pet to Your Home

Imagine moving somewhere new to live with people you do not know who speak a language you don’t understand. You depend fully on your new housemates for your every need, but you have no way to communicate to them what those needs are.

This is the experience faced by thousands of pets each year as they transition into their new homes. Many are young puppies or kittens, just beginning to figure out that there is world beyond their whelping room. Others are adults who may have just experienced the confusing and heartbreaking loss of their first family.

The excitement of adding a new pet to the family can often lead us to overlook the important steps of transition, but a little bit of planning and preparation can go a long way towards making your new family member’s introduction as comfortable as possible.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  1. Pet-proof an area where your new pet can begin to become acclimated with your home. Leaving a new pet unsupervised with access to the entire house can be a recipe for disaster. Curiosity may lead them to destroy treasured household items and inability to find their bathroom area may lead to accidents.
  2. Transition food gradually. Many pets will experience stomach upset when transitioning to a new food too quickly. Mix new food with what the pet has been eating, gradually transitioning to more of the new food and less of the old over the course of a week until the pet is eating only their new food.
  3. Integrate your new pet with current pets slowly. Even friendly pets may take time to get used to a new housemate. Take your time to introduce pets slowly. Take dogs for a walk where they can meet away from home. Confine your new cat to one room at first so that other cats can get used to their smell and your new cat can acclimate to their new surroundings before meeting. Always supervise interactions until pets are completely comfortable with one another. If you can not supervise, confine pets in separate areas while you are away. The time you take for good introductions will pay off with a lifetime of friendship between your furry family members.
  4. Be prepared with plenty of chew toys or appropriate scratching areas: Dogs need to chew and cats need to scratch, regardless of their age. Be prepared with appropriate items to entice your new family member into practicing these skills in places you prefer, instead of with your household items.
  5. Make an appointment with your vet. It’s important to make sure that your new family member has the vaccinations they need for the activities they’ll do with you. Different pets need different levels of protection depending on whether or not they will be going outside or interacting with other pets. Even if your pet has already had some vaccines, they likely will not come with the exact protection they need for their new lifestyle and may also need boosters for the vaccines they already have. Also, it’s important to start them on parasite prevention right away to avoid exposure to potentially harmful pests and diseases. All of this starts with a visit to your vet. At Animal Care Clinic, each new pet’s first exam is just $25, a small price to pay for the peace of mind of knowing your pet is off to a healthy start!

Have more questions about adding a new pet to your household? Give us a call at 859-223-8866 and we’ll be happy to help!


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