A newly adopted pet needs veterinary care and lots of loveYou’ve found the perfect pet at your local shelter, rescue, reputable breeder – or maybe you’ve fallen in love with a friend’s kittens. It’s time to bring your new pet home, but now what? Maybe you’ve never had a pet before, or maybe you’ve always adopted older pets and now you have a new puppy or kitten – or vice versa.

Newly adopted pets are so exciting, fun, and rewarding. But, it’s also a big responsibility. Beverly Hills Veterinary Associates has some ideas for how to help your new pet become acclimated to your home, your family, and your life.

Before you bring your newly adopted pet home

Determine where your new pet will be spending most of his or her time. In the beginning, a smaller, safe, and secure space is important until your pet gets acclimated.

  • A kitchen for a dog or puppy
  • A laundry room or mudroom, or small bedroom for a cat

New pets may forget their house training or litter box training for a few days with the stress of a move (you know how stressful moving is on you – same for a pet!). In addition:

Make your home pet safe – Pets can (and do) get into things, so make sure your house and yard are pet safe. Store any chemicals, essential oils, toxic houseplants, and medications out of pet’s reach. Cats are amazing athletes and will climb and jump, so make sure any valuables are out of harm’s way.

Bone up – Training your pet will begin right away, so make sure you and your family are on the same page with what commands will be used and what will be expected (er, allowed) with your new pet.

Stock up on supplies – Every pet will need some basic supplies to help him or her feel at home. Research what’s needed for your individual species of pet and make sure you contact us with any questions or concerns. We’re here to help!

Get ID – If your pet was adopted from a shelter or rescue, chances are he’s already microchipped. Make sure you register the chip with your contact information right away. Bring an ID tag and collar with your to pick up your new pet, so that there is an extra safety measure for the car ride home as well as those first few uneasy days.

The First Day

There will be an adjustment period after bringing home any newly adopted pet, but you can help to smooth the transition with our tips:

  • Your new pet needs time, patience, and understanding to acclimate to his new home. Give him some time with your family alone before introducing him to all your friends and extended family.
  • Make sure your children know how to approach your new pet without overwhelming them.
  • Set a routine for feeding and going to the bathroom. When you pick up your new pet, ask what he has been fed, and when. Then, try to stick to that routine for awhile. If you do wish to change pet food, do so over a period of 7-10 days, gradually mixing more and more of the new diet in (sudden change to diet can cause vomiting and diarrhea).
  • When you first bring your new pet home, take him to his toileting area in the yard, or to his litter box and stay with him, allowing him to sniff, spend some time, and hopefully go to the bathroom.
  • Have a set schedule at home for feeding times, going outside to the bathroom, and exercise or play times. It will help your pet to know what to expect and he’ll acclimate faster and be more confident if he knows the routine.
  • For the first few days, plan to spend a lot of time with your new pet, observing him, getting to know him, and petting and talking to him. Try to keep things calm at first so that he’s not overwhelmed or over excited. When you leave him for the first time, keep it to a short outing so that he learns that you’ll come back, and give him positive praise for good behavior.
  • Keep in mind that if your new pet came from another home, you don’t know what kind of training (or lack thereof) and environment he came from. Certain words or even household objects (such as brooms, vacuum cleaners, or rolled up newspaper) can elicit a response that you may not expect – so go slowly when introducing new things to your pet, and watch carefully for anxious behavior.
  • Of course, we recommend that you bring your newly adopted pet in to see us within the first week, or even the first day if you suspect he’s sick or you have other pets or children. We’ll make sure he’s healthy and well, and also answer any of your questions about behavior, nutrition, preventive care, vaccinations, and training.

The Following Weeks with Your Newly Adopted Pet

Many people say that their pet’s true personality came out after a few weeks. At that time, your pet is more relaxed and knows what to expect from you and your family. Be patient and understanding, keep to your feeding, toileting, and play schedule, and maintain your kind expectations.  

After we’ve determined your pet is healthy and up to date on vaccines, you may wish to schedule training sessions or fun outings with your pet. Keep an eye on him for reactions to other pets and make sure he’s safe and having fun.

If you encounter a behavior that you’re unfamiliar with, don’t hesitate to call us for support or to schedule a consultation. By following these tips, you’ll be bonded with your newly adopted pet in no time!