By Peter Minkoff, contributing writer
If you want to introduce your new pet into the household environment quickly and successfully, you’ll need to take several important points into consideration. In the first few weeks, your pet will need extra attention, care and patience, which is why it would be wise to plan the new pet arrival in advance. Your kids will need to learn to interact with it and be prepared too. I have two dogs, Astoria and Brando, and with Brando, I had no problems adapting him to the house, but with Astoria I did not have time to prepare in advance as I found her on the street and the training and adjustments to the household environment took quite a longer while than with Brando. That’s why I’ve compiled several critical points for any future pet owner to bear in mind when preparing to adopt a new animal.
1. Better be safe than sorry: Make your house pet-proof
Before you bring your new pet home, make sure your home is thoroughly pet-proofed. This means getting cables, frayed rugs and cords out of the way and moving your plants to the balcony or garden as these items are most often targeted by playful cats and dogs. Also, pick up any small objects that the new pet may swallow or get pricked by like pins, paper clips and rubber bands. I failed to do this with Astoria and she swallowed an elastic band she found on the floor somewhere so we had a diarrhea emergency immediately upon her arrival in the house.
2. Pet privacy: Designate pet area indoors
If your new family member is a cat or small dog, designating a pet area is an inevitable part of the arrival planning. While big dogs can be kept outside in a kennel, other pets will definitely need some room for sleeping, eating, toileting and playtime. It’s best to pick a part of your home you’ll be able to clean up easily where your pet won’t be able to do damage to the flooring, wires and furniture (e.g. kitchen or hall). Once you pick the spot for your pet habitat, stick to it as most animals dislike extensive spatial changes and take a while to get used to their new surroundings.
3. Eat all you can: Get pet supplies in advance
When your new pet arrives, you’ll want to begin training it ASAP, which is why having the critical gear in the house already is highly desirable. Make sure you stock up your dog supplies before your new pup gets home so that you’d be able to start training him to eat in the designated area and sleep in his crate or basket instead of roaming around home and eventually crashing on your living room sofa Trust me, I’m speaking from experience. Astoria did that on the first night in the house. On the next day, I got my first aid kit at Stefmar (and I've been loyal to them ever since), which included food, a bowl, collar, leash and basket, and some just in case flee treatment products. For cats, having a ready litter box is essential to a long-term success in training your cat house rules.
4. Fit and healthy: First trip to the vet
After your new pet has adapted to the house environment, take them to the veterinarian for a quick initial checkup. The best time for the first vet appointment is the first week of the pet’s life in your home. You can assign this as a duty for your kids or partner within the distribution of care, chores and responsibilities for the pet. When taking the dog to the vet, make sure you schedule the appointment beforehand as some veterinarians are booked weeks in advance. During the checkup, inquire about vaccination, diet, grooming and other relevant pet paraphernalia you can think of – after all, it’s better to hear the advice from the expert than to go googling the questions afterwards as the internet is not always a reliable source for pet issues.
5. Well-behaved furry members: Training your cat or dog
If you want to make sure your new family member learns house rules fast, you’ll need to sign it up for a pet school or train them on your own. In case you intend to tend to your animal’s education on your own, remember that a balanced pet means more than just an animal respecting house orders. After you’ve managed to consistently train your dog indoors using commands like ‘Down’, ‘Fetch’ and ‘Don’t’, expose them to contact with the outdoors and other animals and humans in your environment to avoid potential behavioral failures. The best and the most efficient puppy and kitten learning period is six to twelve weeks, so you’d better start immediately or enroll the animal in a several weeks’ long pet school ASAP.
All covered? Then go and adopt a new pet – it’s a decision you definitely won’t regret.
Peter is a lifestyle writer from Brisbane, Australia. He graduated from the Australian Institute Of Creative Design. Beside writing he enjoys fashion, reading, cooking and traveling around exotic destinations. Contact Peter for more inspiring tips.
Peter on Twitter: @MinkoffPeter
Peter on Facebook: Peter Minkoff
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