Photo by Bailey Burton on Unsplash

Deciding to bring home a new furry friend is the start of a beautiful journey for you and your new pet. No matter where you adopt from, with a little extra time from an extra special person, your furry pal can have a life full of love. So how should you prepare and what should you expect when making the decision to bring a pet home? Here are some tips to get you and your new furry friend off on the right paw. 

Prepare Your Home

Before you bring your new pet home, make sure your house or apartment is ready for the new addition to the family. To make sure your pet feels at home, identify a space that is quiet and secure for your pet to claim as his or her own. Buy new toys, blankets, and bedding to ensure there are comfort objects around that your pet can play with. By setting up a crate or bed in their own specially designated area, your pup or kitten can find quiet to help them sleep in peace during naps or bedtime as they adjust to their new life with you. 


To help keep your pet safe, stow away any harmful items like cleaning supplies and tools; you may even need to move these to a completely different room. If you are a houseplant lover, you’re going to want to double-check your plants to make sure they are pet-safe. Finally, gather a variety of treats for your new pet and find an easy-access place to store them. These will be helpful in acclimating the pet to his new home and encourage good behavior. 


Change and a new environment can take time for animals to acclimate to, so taking these steps can really help ease anxiety and reduce stress during the transition to their new home.

Building Trust

Pets come from all kinds of backgrounds, some we may never know about, so some may have a hard time adjusting to you and their new life. While it may take time for your pet to trust you and feel comfortable, don’t get discouraged!  Patience is key to a happy lifetime together.


Once you have your pet home, start off with quiet quality time in the room you set aside for them. Allow them to approach you and make contact in the way they feel comfortable. Sit with them and take time to notice your pet’s body language. Using a soft and encouraging voice can help them to feel safe and build trust. Animals are very observant of body language and tone of voice, so if you’re calm and happy they will pick up on those emotions. Let your pet set the pace for bonding and what they are comfortable with, and just remember that it will all be worth whatever amount of time it takes.  

Establish a Routine

As your new furry friend is settling into his or her home, you’ll want to establish a daily routine to make life consistent, things they can expect and look forward to. One of the most important components of this routine is a consistent feeding schedule. Some pets may have been deprived in the fast and suffer food insecurity, not knowing when their next meal is coming or if they would even get a meal at all. Having a set food schedule will help ease any food aggression. It can also help keep them from eating their food too quickly, which can cause illness. 


After feeding your pet, begin training him or her where to go to the bathroom. If you have a cat, show her where her litter box is and give her a little treat each time she uses it. If you have a dog, take him on a tour of your yard or complex to show him where it is acceptable to go to the bathroom. You’ll want to take your dog out to the bathroom after each meal, and at regular intervals throughout the day. Each time he uses the bathroom outside be sure to reward him with a treat. Over time you can shorten the intervals in which you take him out. As puppies grow into adulthood, they learn to hold it longer.


Schedule time every day for play, exercise, and mental stimulation. Pets need time to play and bond with their human. This is an important outlet for their energy. Exercise and playing with toys will help your pet stay physically healthy and discourage bad or destructive behavior brought on by boredom. As you and your pet get more and more acclimated to your new life together you can start to vary the play schedule. This will help prevent your pet from developing separation anxiety when you inevitably get caught in traffic after work, or from him get stressed out when dinner is a few minutes late because you’re at an appointment. Your furry pal will come to realize that you will always be there for them and provide a happy life.


Head to the Vet

Now that you are a happy pet owner it is a good idea to make an appointment with a vet to establish a relationship and get a baseline understanding of your pet’s current health and what to watch out for. Your pet may have not had proper healthcare and they may be hidden concerns that could come up in the future. 


The reality is, all pets come with unexpected costs that you must plan for.  You may find yourself seeking help from your vet more than you expected. This is why pet insurance is important and is a great tool for single pet parents and families. Most notably, it can ensure your pet gets the best care while cutting down on the cost of appointments and medication. Just like humans, pets are prone to stress and anxiety. Your vet will be an important resource that can help you manage anxiety and make suggestions for changes in both environment and medication. Additionally, you can also ask your vet for advice on what type of food your pet needs and if he or she requires supplements or vitamins to thrive. With the coverage of insurance, you can feel confident keeping an open line of communication between you and your vet, and know that you can get your pet all the help her or she may need.


Bringing home a new pet is a rewarding and wonderful adventure, and there are so many animals that are looking for their forever home, so by adopting, you can save a life!  Taking the time to prepare for your new family member will ensure a long and happy life together, so take time to smell the roses, like your dog or cat does, enjoy every step and celebrate every milestone together!