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What to do before adopting a pet

So, you’ve decided to welcome a furry friend into your home – congratulations.

Adopting a pet is a rewarding experience, but it comes with responsibilities and considerations. Before you bring a dog or cat into your life, here are 10 essential tips to ensure a smooth transition for you and your new four-legged family member.

• Prepare yourself and your family

Before committing to adoption, understand the responsibilities involved and find a pet that aligns with your lifestyle. Consider factors such as energy level, size, compatibility with other animals and children, and the noise level of the pet. Establish clear roles for pet care in your family.

• Spend time with them before you bring them home

Visit local shelters and spend quality time with the dog or cat you plan to adopt. This face-to-face interaction is crucial for assessing their personality and compatibility with your lifestyle. Take note of their behaviour and how they respond to you because this initial meeting lays the foundation for a long-lasting bond.

• Set up a space just for them

Prepare a dedicated space in your home for your new pet, equipped with essentials like a crate, bed, blanket, toys, and, for cats, a litter box. Creating a safe and comfortable space helps your pet adjust to their new environment.

• Pet-proof your home

Temporarily secure areas where you do not want your pet to roam freely. Remove potential hazards, such as cleaning supplies, poisons, and small items the pet could swallow. Provide appropriate toys for them to chew on and discourage undesirable behaviour early on.

• Find a local veterinarian

Promptly schedule your pet’s first veterinary visit. Gather information on the animal’s vaccinations and health status from the shelter or breeder.

Choose a veterinarian based on personal preferences, considering factors like clinic size and whether you prefer a consistent relationship with one vet or a larger clinic.

• Look into pet insurance

Investigate pet insurance options to mitigate the costs of veterinary care. Pet insurance can be a valuable investment, covering unexpected illnesses or injuries. Research different plans, considering coverage and costs, to find the one that best fits your needs.

• Plan to introduce them to other pets

If you have other pets, plan a gradual introduction. Follow expert advice on introducing cats to other cats, dogs to other dogs, and even dogs to cats.

• Find a good dog trainer

Enroll in a dog training programme to establish effective communication between you and your pet. Training is an ongoing process that benefits you and your furry family member.

• Learn, learn, learn

Educate yourself about pet ownership through reputable sources. Continuous learning will enhance your understanding of your pet’s needs.

• Be patient with yourself

Understand that adjusting to life with a new pet takes time. Mistakes will happen, and that is okay. Seek guidance from experienced pet owners, refer to helpful articles, and most importantly, be patient with yourself and your furry companion as you embark on this exciting journey together.

• Remember the .3.3.3 rule

In the first three days, your adopted pet will:

• feel overwhelmed;

• be scared and unsure of what is going on;

• be uncomfortable being themselves;

• possibly not eat or drink;

• shut down and want to curl up or hide;

• test the boundaries.

In the next three weeks, your adopted pet will:

• start to settle in;

• feel more comfortable;

• realise this could be their forever home;

• figure out the environment;

• get into a routine;

• start showing their personality;

• possibly start showing behaviour issues.

In the next three months, your adopted pet will:

• finally feel settled in their new home;

• build trust and a true bond;

• gain a sense of security with their new family;

• set into a routine.

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