Has a pet just arrived home? The first days at home are always special and critical for an animal (especially for those who have been in a shelter or suffered bad experiences). Your dog or cat may feel confused about where they are or what to expect from your best family pets.
The ideal is that you and your family work as a team so that the new member feels comfortable and adapts as soon as possible. Are you a little lost? Don’t worry, in this post we are going to guide you on how you should act the first few days with a pet at home.
Preparations before your pet arrives
There are a few things you can have prepared before the animal comes home. Take note so you don’t forget anything:
- Get everything you need according to the specific needs of your new pet: leash, collar, sandbox, bed, food bowls, snacks, toys, etc.
- Check that there is nothing dangerous at home that could put you at risk. For example, a cable that can be chewed, a hole through which it can escape, or a plant that is toxic to your pet. Take a look around every corner before it arrives!
- Choose the place where you will put their bed, the feeder, the water bowl, the sandbox, etc. And don’t move it around too much!
- Establish a routine of breaks, walks and food and, as far as possible, do not alter those schedules much either. So set from the first moment the schedule you are going to comply with.
- Then create a schedule with the tasks that each family member will have to complete.
The first day of an adopted pet at home
The first days should be as calm as possible, so that your adaptation is as easy as possible. So don’t think about having a welcome party or anything like that and limit visitors so that your new pet doesn’t feel overwhelmed. Now let’s go in parts:
- You will have to make a visit to the vet for a check-up and to check that your new pet is healthy. She will have to be vaccinated, dewormed if necessary and microchipped if she doesn’t have one.
- When you get home, let the animal take a tour of the house to sniff and explore. As we had warned you, to keep him under control in case he approaches dangerous stairs or somewhere where he can fall or escape, you can keep him on a leash.
- Show your new pet where he has his things: his bed, his food bowls and the area to do his business.
If there are many of you at home, it is better that you make the introductions one at a time so that the new pet does not get overwhelmed. Let him approach first and smell you. It can help to offer a snack so that he associates all family members with good things (food never fails!).
- It is not advisable to hug , kiss, hold, or pat the top of the head during the initial introduction (these things can frighten some animals).
- If you already have a dog or cat at home, you will have to make the corresponding presentation . In the case of dogs, it is better to do it outside the home, keeping the leashes loose without tension, without food or toys around. And don’t leave them alone until you are absolutely sure there is no chance of conflict.
- In the case of cats , the presentation will have to be inside the house, allowing them their spaces and times and avoiding contact at the beginning. The first meetings should be brief and always under supervision.
Rules and routines for the following weeks
Before making excursion plans you need to know your new pet’s behavior so you can predict how it will respond to different stimuli.
- Take your dog out frequently. Your new friend needs to learn the rules of the house. Establish a routine of walks in an area with which you are familiar and avoid interactions with other dogs and other people for the first few days until you see that your dog feels comfortable.
- The hours of play. It will be more comfortable for you if you establish play routines with your dog or cat. It is a good way to exercise , strengthen emotional bonds and create a habit in the animal’s life.
Time to relax. It is also important that your new pet is able to acclimate to the new environment. Give him his space!
- At bedtime, the bed should be closed to your room at first so you don’t feel alone.
- It would be a good idea to consult with your veterinarian about what the food should be and the recommended quantities depending on the breed , size, age and activity level of the animal. To give you an idea, you can check the amount of daily dog food and daily amount of cat food in these posts.
- Biting and scratching toys . It is convenient for your dog or cat to have these types of toys (especially when they are left alone), this way you will prevent them from entertaining themselves by biting or scratching your shoes or furniture.
- Avoid separation anxiety. Go out for short periods and return several times a day very calmly (try to make the departure not a drama or the arrival a party).