It was love at first sight. You’re head over heels for your new furry friend, and you can’t wait to get them home from the shelter to start your new life together.
But making a healthy, comfortable home for you and your pet to share is more complex than simply opening the door and pointing them to the food, and it’s easy to forget that in the rush of excitement.
Dogs and cats have their own particular needs. And every pet, just like every human, comes with their own sets of anxieties and preferences. How can we make sure our new pet has the easiest, safest transition from the shelter to their new forever home?
Healthy Home, Healthy Pet
Your veterinarian’s office is the place to begin. There might be vaccinations or spaying/neutering that needs to be scheduled, so you should take care of these practical considerations right at the beginning.
Your vet will also be a great resource from the start of this new journey. They can help you plan how to set up your home so it’s a safe and non-toxic environment, how to begin a training regime, where to put the litter box, and how to establish a healthy diet.
Making your home a safe, pet-friendly environment is key to creating a space your new pet can explore without worry. Many common items, from houseplants to essential oils, can be very toxic to animals, and it’s best to research this before welcoming your pet into your home.
Puppies and kittens love to explore, sniff, and chew. A good inspection of your living space will ensure a healthy environment where you and your pet can be safe and happy.
A strange environment can be unsettling to a new pet, especially to a rescue pet who might have a history of abuse or being a stray. You’ll want to take things slowly.
If it’s possible, it’s best to plan your new pet’s homecoming around a weekend or a few days when you can stay with them.
Keep things quiet and calm, because your new pet has a lot of unfamiliar information, objects, smells and sounds to process.
It’s often best to introduce a new cat to your home by limiting them to one room for a while. There are so many new smells and stimuli in a home that your feline friend will be overwhelmed.
If you already have pets and you’re introducing a shelter pet to them, you want to do some research and take your vet’s advice. With dogs, it’s best to introduce them first in neutral territory, like the park, and let them get to know each other there first. Cats are a little different. And again, you’ll want to reserve one room just for your new cat, so that each can get used to the other safely.
Your first night with a new dog will require some patience. You want to make sure your doggo has gone to the bathroom. If you’re planning on crate training, you’ll want to begin on the first night, keeping your crated pup in your bedroom. You’ll probably want some earplugs, because that dog’s gonna bark. But remember that a puppy’s going to have to go to the bathroom again sometime in the night.
An advantage to having your new pooch in a crate from the first night is that it keeps them from getting into anything dangerous while you’re sleeping.
Whether your shelter buddy is a puppy, kitten or adult animal, there’s sure to be some settling in anxiety. Not only is there a new home to adjust to, there are new people and possibly new animals, plus new noises — lawn mowers, helicopters, car alarms, deliveries.
Also, your new pet may be so in love with you that they get added anxiety when you go to work.
Your vet is the go-to resource for handling a pet’s anxiety, because it can be caused by many factors and can have all kinds of repercussions, from diarrhea to hair loss.
Some proven stress relievers for dogs and cats both include physical contact, exercise, and even calming music. Dogs often respond well to calming coats and shirts. It’s important never to scold or punish your pet when they’re acting out of stress.
CBD products for pets have become incredibly popular among pet owners hoping to manage their furry friends’ anxiety. Naturally flavored CBD tinctures formulated for pets of specific sizes are a great place to begin, and treats infused with CBD can be a fun way to incorporate it into a new training regimen.
Establish a Routine
A routine greatly helps a new pet get comfortable in a new place. Knowing exactly when walks, treats, food and playtime happen teaches your new pet that they’re safe and secure.
Many new pets (especially those adorable puppies) are going to require some training. You’ll need to help them learn when and where to relieve themselves, what to chew on and what not to chew on, and how not to eat the mail carrier.
If you’re going to crate your dog, that training should be done carefully and according to your dog’s age (and bladder size). A good rule of thumb is that a puppy shouldn’t spend more than 2–3 hours in a crate without a break until it’s at least two months old. After that, you can add an hour for every month until they’re six months old, at which point they can often comfortably remain in a crate overnight.
With puppies, you should start all training with short sessions, no longer than 10 minutes at a time. The jury’s still out on how much you can train a cat — or how much a cat will let you train it. But there are some expert tips for those brave enough to try.
Bringing a new pet home from the shelter is an exciting time, and it doesn’t have to be stressful. Planning and patience can make it a smooth transition, and you’re going to get plenty of quality time with your new buddy.
Remember to talk to your vet and watch for signs that your new pet might be trying to tell you it’s anxious or ill.
The love that pets bring into our lives is powerful, and your new friend will be so happy to have a forever home with you.
Try some of these soothing CBD products for pets to help calm your new friend in their new home. And if your new dog or cat is suffering from dry or cracked skin, try our CBD Pet Balm.