Congratulations on adopting your new furry friend! It’s an exciting time for all of you — including your new pet.
You’re all learning to live with each other and adapt to life as a family. Help your pet feel safe and happy with these welcome-home tips from the pet’s point of view.
5 Ways to Make Your Newly Adopted Pet Feel at Home
#1 Give Your Pet some Space — literally
Your pet is happy to be home, but he might want to take a rest from all the attention. And you might sense that he needs a break, even before he does.
Designate a safe place where he can be away from the action — by his choice or by yours. He should be able to access the place himself. You can also put him in there and close the door. It might be a crate, or even a whole room.
This place helps you establish boundaries by showing what areas are pet-safe and what spaces are off-limits. Starting small, with a crate or a room, enables you to do this in a convenient way. You can also consider to Buy Best Wireless Dog Fence to give them good space.
#2 Provide Structure for Your Pet
In a new group, any pet will look for where they fit in and what the rules are. Dogs, especially, crave routine, boundaries and rules. Cats like to know what to expect, too. When pets don’t understand, they feel uncertain — and some pets might hide out under a bed or behind a chair until they feel a little more comfortable. (A bit of advice: Don’t drag them out; wait it out.)
Sensible rules help pets feel secure in their environment. Being consistent with training, helping pets understand what behavior you want and providing a solid routine is good from a pet’s point of view. They become more confident when they know their role and what you want them to do.
Think of it this way: it’s hard to be the new kid, right? Well, your new pet is the new kid in your house. If you help him figure out where he fits in, what you want him to do and what happens when, he’ll get comfortable and confident faster. The earlier you give him that guidance, the smoother the transition will be.
#3 Choose the Right Stuff
Every pet needs his own bowls, toys and places to rest. Pick up the basic items first. Save splurging on the extras for later.
For a dog, you’ll need a food and water bowls that don’t slips around and are used only for him. Cats also need non-slip bowls which are also wide enough to accommodate her whiskers without squishing them (so uncomfortable!).
When choosing toys, think about what your pet will do with them. Dogs like a toy that rolls, one to chew and one to chase. A rolling toy will get a dog’s interest. Select a chew toy made of rope or hard rubber — your dog will be less likely to tear it apart and swallow its pieces.
Cats are interested in toys that move. Wand toys encourage interaction with you and provide exercise and mental stimulation. Balls are also interesting to cats — cats can chase them, and some balls make noise or roll unpredictably. Some cats also like to carry toys around with them.
Cats also like scratching posts that won’t wobble and are tall enough to stretch on. Rope is an excellent material for these, because it’s a good surface for scratching and it’s easily replaced. Usually they’re the only places in the house with that surface, so your cat won’t transfer her enjoyment to similar-feeling fabrics.
Resting spots give your pet a place to chill out. Put them in places that make sense to your pet, so they can see everything, but still be alone if they want. Help them feel safe by setting them up out of the way of main foot-traffic areas.
Dogs like beds and crates, and you can train your dog to be comfortable going there whenever he needs a break. You might place a couple of toys in his area, along with an old t-shirt that smells like you. He should be able to stretch out comfortably in his bed, and it shouldn’t make any noise, as waterproof liners or covers sometimes do.
Cats like cozy surfaces, too, and the parent-smelling shirt trick works great with all pets. Cats also like to be up high. A cat’s perch should be sturdy and not wiggle around when she jumps on it, but it should also be tall enough to be interesting. She’ll be able to keep watch, or she can zone out on her own.
#4 Introduce Him to his Housemates
Your pet has walked right into an established household. Everyone knows everyone else, and he doesn’t know anyone. This new place may be much bigger than the last place he lived, too. It’s a lot to take in all at once.
When making introductions, slow is better. Think like a pet — if you were a cat or a dog, you’d use your nose to figure out who’s who — and introduce smells first.
For people smells, the best way is using dirty laundry. Put a piece of each person’s dirty clothes, like a t-shirt or pillow case, in a place where your pet will spend time. Let him get used to having the smells mingle around him.
To introduce your new pet to your other pets, try scent swapping. Use a small towel, to rub down each pet so their scent transfers to the fabric. (Use one towel for your new pet and another for all of your resident pets combined.) Put each towel in the other pet’s space so they get used to each other’s important smells before they actually meet.
Next, let them play “footsie” under a door (this works especially well for cats), then through a baby gate or a screen door, keeping the mood mellow and easy. This might all happen in a day or two, or it might take more than a week. Just remember to go slowly.
#5 Keep Your Expectations Realistic
You love your new pet, and you might be so excited that you want everything to be perfect… immediately! Well, perfect isn’t realistic, and neither is immediately. So your first couple of months with your newly adopted pet will be a lot easier if you reel in your expectations.
That’s especially true if you’re new to the world of pet parenting. Don’t stress yourself about doing everything right. You won’t understand everything right away, just as your pet won’t. Be patient with yourself, too. You’re learning each other together.
Don’t expect everyone to get thrown together and get along immediately. Understand that your pet is probably overwhelmed with his new climate.
It’s OK for your pet to hide out for a few days. Even a housetrained pet may have accidents in the house, while you learn all your signals and routines together. It may take a few weeks for them to get used to anything.
Pets are not little people — they won’t understand English, so just because you’ve explained to your cat that she should scratch the post instead of the sofa doesn’t mean she gets it. If you’ve never had a cat before, she isn’t a dog; likewise, your new dog won’t be like your previous cat.
Above all, be fair. Be kind. Any transition is going to take quite a while. Don’t expect everything to happen right away. Their world was unsettled before you arrived, and they haven’t yet figured out that you’re going to provide food, shelter and love forever.