The More the Merrier: Adding Another Pet to the Family

BevHills_iStock_000008668096_LargeA New Year, a new pet? You may be considering a way to enhance your already loving pet household or perhaps you noticed how much happier Fluffy seemed during the holiday break with all the extra time and attention. With things back to normal, now may be the perfect time to add another pet to your family.

There’s no doubt that pet adoption is a wonderful choice. However, there’s definitely some preparation involved before bringing home your next adorable fur friend.

Before You Adopt Another Pet: Key Factors to Consider

Most animal lovers have a hard time walking into a rescue or shelter. Where do we begin? Do we have room to adopt just one?

To avoid an impetuous decision, it helps to have the following information at your disposal:

  • A solid understanding of your current pet and any problems that might arise with another size, breed, or temperament
  • An understanding of your family’s time constraints, lifestyle, and how much space is available in your home and yard
  • Any existing behavioral challenges with a current pet
  • Your willingness to provide training and socialization and additional veterinary care (consider extra care requirements for exotic or unusual breeds)
  • Preferences in lifespan, breed, and age

By being honest with yourself about what you can offer, you will be much more likely to be matched with a great new pal for the family.

Tips for Finding the Perfect Match

Now that you have considered the preliminary questions, you can begin your search. To encourage the most harmonious pet match, follow these simple tips:

  • When visiting a potential new pet, make sure all family members are present, so you can gauge his or her response.  
  • Talk to the shelter and provide some insight into your family’s ideal new pet.
  • Spend some time with your potential pet – observe body language, overall temperament, and how he or she interacts with you and other family members.
  • For those of us who prefer a purebred pet, make sure to contact reputable breeders, clubs, or the American Kennel Club (AKC). If you’re not sure who to contact, give us a call and we’ll help get you squared away.
  • Inquire about the pet’s history, as well as his or her behavior at the shelter.
  • If your pet seems like “the one,” arrange to introduce other household pets, and carefully consider the interaction (is it aggressive, fearful, friendly?).
  • Focus on complementary traits that are realistic for your family and the potential pet – don’t rely on the cute factor alone (stay strong!).

Other Pre-Adoption Advice

Before exposing household pets to shelter adoptees, ensure all vaccinations and parasite preventives are current. Also remember that behavioral challenges with current pets cannot be solved by adding another furry pal to the mix. Address any underlying issues before taking on the responsibility of another pet.

Keep in mind: the first few weeks after adoption can be tough for everyone. Practice patience, provide training and encouragement, and make sure your adopted pet is seen by a veterinarian before exposing him or her to other animals.

To schedule an appointment or for more tips about managing a multi-pet household, please give us a call.