Getting a new pet

Preparations for a new pet start way before your new little companion comes home.

It will need somewhere to live, sleep, play and toilet. Small animals will need somewhere to live and be comfortable. Larger animals like dogs will need a bed and possibly a crate. They will all need water bowls, food, grooming products and treatments, treats and toys.

In all the excitement it’s easy to forget that your new pet could be frightened by its new living environment. Sounds, smells and sights it’s not used to can make it anxious and unsettled.

How to prepare your home

Make your home safe if the pet is one that is allowed to roam:

Close up any small gaps
or spaces

Move any chemicals that are laying around, from toilet bleach to toiletries

Screen off open

Place electrical cables out of reach to avoid your pet getting tangled

Move any food that is in reach and toxic to animals, e.g. chocolate

Clean your house before the new arrival moves in

Spray a deterrent to stop chewing or scratching onto wooden table legs or furniture

Move plants as many indoor plants are toxic if ingested

Ensure doors and windows can close properly

Make sure your garden gate and fence is secure and ponds covered or fenced off

If you are a new dog owner you will need to invest in some dog shampoo and conditioner in preparation for its first bath. Choose one that suits the dog’s hair type. Take advice on the best brushes or combs to buy and maybe buy some scissors too in case you need to do the odd trim. You might also decide to buy nail trimmers.

Choose a towel that will be your puppy’s own and have some treats ready to reward him or her after their first bath!

A cat will also need brushing and its claws clipping. They do tend to groom themselves so you would only need to bath a cat if it got into something dirty and smelly.

Small animals groom themselves and are not usually bathed unless they come into contact with something toxic that needs to be washed off.

A new puppy or kitten should be taken to the vet for a wellness check and any vaccinations that are needed. It’s important to take them within days of bringing them home so they can be started on preventative treatment.

Introducing your new pet to other family pets can feel a bit overwhelming so make sure you manage the introduction carefully and supervise the new pet closely.

If you have a cat and are bringing a new puppy home, put the cat in a room with a litter tray, their bedding, food and water. Allow the dog to explore the home and sniff around. Then when your dog tires put it in its crate, or a room with the door closed and let the cat out into the house to get used to the dog’s scent. Alternate this for a few days before they are introduced.

If you are introducing a new dog to your existing dog it’s a good idea to start off in the garden with them both on leads. Let them sniff each other and run around and play, but if either gets aggressive separate them and try again later. Don’t favour either animal and give lots of treats as rewards for good behaviour. Your new dog needs his own area for sleeping and eating in the early days.

Your new pet may be tired and a little intimidated when it comes home so aim to keep children calm and not overexcited. Sit on the floor with your child and the puppy or kitten and wait until they approach you. Stroke them gently and ask your children to speak in soft voices. 

If you have a small pet let them get settled in to their cage or hutch before opening the door. When they are ready they will come out and explore. Keep their time with children limited at first and be conscious of safety first.

The general advice when bringing a puppy or kitten home is to continue feeding what they are used to but slowly introducing a new food of your choice.

We can advise you on the best way to do this to avoid upset tummies.

The food preference may be down to the owner – e.g. raw, dried or wet food. Or it may be dictated by a health condition of your pet. Again, we can advise you on this if your vet has suggested your pet is allergic to something, or would suit a certain type of food.

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