Thinking about bringing a new furry friend home to be a part of your family? Before you start looking at breeders online or visit a pet store in town, you may want to consider adopting a shelter pet. Each year, nearly 3 million pets are euthanized in the United States, simply because there aren’t enough people coming to shelters to adopt them. So before you buy a pet, take some time to visit your local shelter. Not only will you get a great pet, but you will also save money compared to purchasing a pet from a store or a breeder. Most shelters include essential services, such as the cost of spaying and neutering, the first vaccination, and in some cases, even microchipping.
Preparing for a New Pet
Adopting a cat or dog should never be an “impulse buy,” as there are lots of things that should be planned for and considered in advance. Taking time to research breeds, sizes of dogs, and figure out what type might work best with your lifestyle, can help to avoid a lot of problems down the road. For example, some dogs require more active lifestyles, such as daily walks or runs, and some cats might demand more attention than others. You should also make plans for vet care for cats and dogs by choosing a clinic and emergency veterinary hospital in the local area for the ongoing care of your new pet. Anchor Animal Hospital is a veterinary clinic in Dartmouth that has been providing services to locals in the Southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island area since 1965.
Things to prepare before adopting a dog or cat can include:
- determining where you want the pet to be located inside your home while he or she gets used to all the people, sounds, and new environment
- making plans for housebreaking or litter box training, and initial feeding, just in case there are any accidents
- if your goal is to try crate-training, make sure to have the proper size crate ready and set-up inside your home; learn all you can about crate-training in advance
- pet-proof any space where your new cat or dog will be alone while you are away from the house; moving cleaning chemicals, plants, rugs, and breakables
- have a collar, leash, and ID tag ready with your contact information on it in case the cat or dog escapes on the way home; for cats, make sure to bring a carrier as well to provide extra security during the ride
Bringing Your New Pet Home
Do you already have pets in your home? Do you have small children? You will want to make sure that your new cat or dog gets a proper introduction when they come into your home for the first time. First impressions make a big difference in the adjustment for everyone involved. Do not overwhelm your new pet with too much attention. Westport pet owners who already have a cat or a dog should put the existing pets in a bedroom or bathroom during introductions. Make sure that your children know not to overwhelm the new pet. Take time to read up on introducing new pets to children before you go pick up your new shelter pet.
Some other things that you can do to make the first day easier include:
- ask the shelter what type of food was being given; even if you plan on changing it, make sure to continue with the same brand and schedule for the first few days before making the switch
- schedule an appointment with your local veterinary clinic in Dartmouth within the first few days – sooner if you have other pets, just to make sure that nothing was missed at the shelter; consider keeping the new pet secluded for a few days until you get the all-clear with vet care for cats and dogs at the general or emergency veterinary hospital
- take your new pet to the “bathroom” area to see the litter box, backyard, or training pads right away before you do anything else; this will help them know where to go
- make sure to show your new pet where the food and fresh water is located, so they will feel more secure about feeding
- play with your new pet, introducing toys or just hang out together, so that he or she will feel more comfortable in your home; if you have a basket of toys or a cat tower to climb on, feel free to introduce those things to them, but don’t expect them to play with or use them until they settle in for a few days
Ongoing Vet Care for Cats and Dogs
Speak with your local veterinarian about creating a schedule for vaccinations, check-ups, and other follow-up appointments. Once your pet is settled into your home, you may only need to return for booster shots and annual check-ups, depending on your pet’s needs. Westport pet owners should discuss a plan of action with the local emergency veterinary hospital to make sure that they are providing comprehensive care for their new pet. You can contact our veterinary clinic in Dartmouth by calling 508-996-3731. Anchor Animal Hospital has been providing top quality vet care for the South Coast, MA region for over 50 years!