Animal Friends Blog
When you make that amazing decision to welcome a pet into the family it’s a very exciting time for everyone involved, passers-by will want to stop and to say hello, too. However, you don’t want to overwhelm them with all the new attention as well as getting them used to all the new sights and sounds.
Dogs especially are pack animals, newborn or adopted they will have made quick bonds with siblings, humans or other dogs. It might take some time to create that bond with your new dog, but with patience, time and preparation you are already on the right track.
Cats are similar, however, they like their time alone. Again, patience, time and preparation are key when welcoming a new cat.
To make things a little easier for you we have some tips on how to ensure your new addition is as comfortable as possible.
Top tips for a comfortable kitten and puppy
- Time– make sure you have scheduled 2-3 days of time where your little one’s comfort is your priority; these days are crucial in ensuring your new kitten/puppy settles well.
- Safe space– create a safe space prior to your little one’s arrival and ensure any areas you don’t want them venturing into are blocked off, a safety gate can help with this. Filling the safe space with bedding, food, water and piddle pads will give your kitten/puppy everything they need to settle in.
- Food – if your little one is used to a certain type of food, use this for the time being and slowly wean them off and onto your preferred choice. You can always ask the breeder for any advice on your little one’s taste.
- Scent– bringing a blanket or familiar bedding home that your new kitten/puppy has used can be a source of comfort and familiarity in times of uncertainty. Placing them in their safe space will provide comfort in what can be a stressful time.Over time, once your kitten/puppy has become confident in their surroundings place some t-shirts of yours in their safe space to get them used to your smell. They love a good sniff, this will help them get accustomed to you sooner.
- Remain calm– your new kitten/puppy can find moving quite daunting, some settle quicker than others, but the best thing you can do is to let him/her settle in on their own terms. It’s very easy to smother the little one with kisses and cuddles but let them walk around and investigate to their heart’s desire. They’ll let you know when they’re ready for a cuddle.
- Pheromones– some kittens/puppies might suffer from anxiety after the big move, to help with this there are certain pheromone plug-ins you can use that release particular scents and can help your little one settle in times of uncertainty. It is best to ask your veterinarian before using any plug-ins.
- Training– For a puppy, it’s best to embed good manners early. Consistency is key with this as your little one will carry the behaviours through to adulthood.Reward good behaviour and divert their attention away from the naughty, so if you see him/her biting your shoe, show them a chew toy. Avoid any harsh punishment as this creates negative and fearful behaviour which can easily lead to aggression.The same applies to kittens, but we know that cats rule when they grow up.
- Names– choose your little one’s name and stick with it. Try and use their name with a pause between issuing the next command, otherwise, when you’re telling them to stop doing something whilst using their name, they will associate it with that and stop listening. Also, nicknames come later.
- Socialising– once your puppy has settled in and started to rule the roost, it’s good to start socialising him/her as soon as possible. It could make the difference between your little one growing up anxious, fearful, aggressive or calm and confident. No-one will be best at judging this but you.Puppy classes are great at this, even walks in the park and letting him/her socialise with other dogs and strangers will help your little one grow in confidence. Starting them early on riding in a car is usually key too unless you don’t plan on travelling long distances with them.Oh, and don’t forget to praise good behaviour, a treat usually helps.
- Letting your kitten outside– some kittens cannot wait to get outside, others will want to stay in, however, but you need to get your little one used to their new home before they are let loose on the great outdoors.Start small at first, open the back door and stand with your little one and let them go out on their own terms for a little sniff, when they start to get confident bring them back inside. Rinse and repeat until you are sure they know where their home is, then let them out freely.If you are unsure of giving them outside freedom, you can give yourself a little reassurance by getting them microchipped.
- Vets– try to be consistent with your choice of vet, getting your little one used to a vet is very important to ensure they trust who is looking after them.
Top tips for a comfortable adopted pet:
- Familiarity– adopted cats and dogs can be quite different when bringing them home for the first time, but one thing the two have in common is the use of their nose to help them in everyday life.One way their nose helps is by getting them used to scents of something or someone, using your new pet’s bedding from the shelter will help them settle in and slowly introducing your used clothes to their bedding helps them get used to your scent.
- Environment– when bringing home your adopted pet it is best to ensure you’ve cleared anything that can be harmful to them as they get used to their new surroundings. Adopted cats or dogs can be quite inquisitive, almost suspicious of their new surroundings, so make sure they don’t have anything to fear or hurt themselves with.
- Noise and Movement– your adopted pet will be on edge in their new environment, don’t worry, this is only natural, so it is key to free yourself of any social calls. Try and keep the house free of any loud noises and fast movement whilst they acclimatise.
- Stranger Danger– at the beginning you will be strangers to each other. The shelter you adopt from will do their best to give you as much information on your new pet as possible, but from the get-go your new pet will be sizing you up and trying to figure you out.During this period, patience, time and care is needed to learn your new pet’s traits and quirks as well as letting them learn yours.
- Introductions– when bringing home an adopted cat or dog make sure they meet everyone in the house, this includes children and other pets.Where there is an established order it can be quite intimidating at first so it’s good to get the pleasantries in quick. Try introducing them in a controlled way, possibly one at a time so that they don’t feel overwhelmed.
- New siblings– sometimes you may already have a cat or dog, in this case, it is best to introduce them as soon as possible and for as brief as possible. Your new pet will want a safe space to call their own, somewhere your other pets are not allowed – for the time being – this will give them great comfort in an already occupied house.
- Extending their horizon– slowly introduce your new pet to the outside world. Your new cat might take some time but a slow introduction, after they are used to their new surroundings, to the outside world with you at their side is best.It is best to know your dog’s traits and quirks before taking them for those lovely long walks, the shelter will be able to give you advice on this. Giving them new sights, sounds, and socialising them with other dogs will help them settle in nicely.
- Adapt– a routine can make your pet feel comfortable and less stressed when moving, sometimes your pet already has their own routine, but it’s important you slowly adapt them to their new one and time off is essential for this.Asking the shelter about your new pet’s daily routine was can help and over time you can adapt them to one that fits you and your pet comfortably.
- Teach an old dog (or cat) new tricks– it’s important to set rules early on in your adopted pet’s new life. Be that where the toilet is, where their food is, where not to go etc. believe it or not, they don’t mind a little order. But, slow and steady wins the race.
- Break/Nap time– you’ve introduced them to their new home and family and set up their safe space. Now it’s time for a nap, settle them down and let them be if they need you, they will let you know.
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