Introducing a new pet into the household

Getting a new pet is an exciting experience; naturally you’re keen to begin family life with them as soon as possible. However, for your new pet this can be a stressful time. It’s important to ensure that you’re fully prepared for their arrival and take things slowly to help them settle into your home. We’ve put together some top tips to help your new pet feel part of your family.

1. GIVE THEM SPACE

Dogs

To help your dog feel secure, it’s important to create a ‘safe space’ where they can retreat to for rest or quiet time. Dog crates make good dens; the door can be closed to allow your dog some time-out away from young, enthusiastic members of your family. Be sure to leave the door open until your dog is happy in their crate and avoid using time in the crate as a punishment. Make the area more comfortable by covering their bed with an old duvet or blanket. A plug-in pheromone diffuser could also help – these imitate the chemicals that a mother dog would release, providing familiarity for your dog.

Cats

Set up a dedicated room in the house before you collect your new cat. Include everything they need such as litter tray, choice of sleeping places, scratching post, access to high spots, separate food and water areas and a selection of toys. Once home, allow your cat to settle in their own area before allowing them into the rest of the house. Keep windows and doors closed so they can’t get outside.

 

2. MEETS & GREETS

Dogs

It’s understandable that you’ll be keen to introduce your new companion to family and friends, but this needs to be handled in the right way. It’s important to socialise them with as many people as possible, however stagger any introductions so they’re not overwhelmed. Hold these meetings in an open area, such as your garden, so that your dog doesn’t feel trapped (and you can adhere to social distancing guidelines).

Cats

Introduce your cat to other family members once they feel confident with you. It’s important not to overwhelm them with new people and experiences. If you have children in the house, ensure they remain calm when meeting your cat for the first time. Always allow your cat to make the first move and encourage your children to be as gentle as possible. Show them how to stroke your cat properly as even the friendliest of felines can react if they’re handled roughly.

 

3. GIVE IT TIME

Dogs

This is a new situation for both you and your dog therefore allow plenty of time (usually four to six months) for them to settle in and adjust to being part of your world. They need time to build a new relationship with you, so take things one step at a time and reward co-operation with a small treat.

Cats

Be patient and allow your cat to slowly adjust to their new environment. The first few days should be especially calm although it may take a few weeks until they’re fully relaxed in their new home.

 

4. OUTSIDE THE HOUSE

Dogs

As well as settling your new pet into your home, it’s important to also familiarise them with the surrounding areas outside. Make sure their vaccinations are up to date and their microchip is registered to you before you start your adventures.

Cats

After a few weeks, your cat will be familiar with their surroundings and where their food is coming from! This is a good time to let them go outside to explore. Kittens should always be supervised and kept indoors until they’ve been neutered and micro-chipped. To start with, let your cat out when they’re hungry so you can tempt them back with food.

If you have other pets, introducing them to the new arrival takes time and patience. More information can be found at:

https://www.bluecross.org.uk/pet-advice/introducing-cats
https://www.dogstrust.org.uk/help-advice/dog-care/dogs-and-cats-living-together
https://icatcare.org/advice/helping-your-new-cat-or-kitten-settle-in/

If you would like to register your new pet with us, or have any questions about vaccinations or neutering, please contact us for advice.

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