First Impressions: Welcoming a New Pet to Your Household

A Dog New Home

With any major change that impacts the family, a smooth transition depends on thoughtful conversation and careful introduction. This is true when you bring a new pet into the home. If you adopt a pet, there will be some considerable changes in the household dynamic. Who will be responsible for daily care? What are the ground rules for your new pet? How will you navigate, as a family, behavior challenges? 

If you are bringing a new pet to your household, there are some important things to consider first. The team at Ten West Bird and Animal Hospital is here to explain.

Ground Rules 

Depending on the species of pet, you will likely have to set some rules that everyone in the family agrees on. These include who will do what chores for the pet, and on what days, as well as where your new furry one is allowed to be (bed, couch, etc). 

Create a routine ahead of time, such as when your pet will be fed, walked/exercised, and so on. Having all of the basics of daily pet care and the household pet rules set in stone will be a definite benefit to easing your pet into their new home.

Kid and Pet Introductions

Caring for a pet is a wonderful way to inspire empathy, kindness, and patience in a child. However, this requires teaching children the right way to interact with pets to ensure everyone’s safety. 

To make the introductions between a pet and child a positive one, keep the following in mind.

  • Introduce your new pet to your children in a neutral space, such as the yard. If you are introducing a dog, keep them on a leash. Other pets can be gently held or in an enclosure
  • Teach your kids how to be gentle and respectful around animals and not to tease, roughhouse, or disturb them while they are eating or sleeping.
  • Very young children should always be supervised around pets.
  • Make sure the new pet has plenty of privacy and their own space to get away from the noise and commotion of kids playing.
  • Teach your child not to startle animals, especially cats. 

Introducing Your New Pet to Household Animals

When you bring a new pet into the home where there are other resident pets, do these intros slowly and in a neutral space. Dog to dog intros can be done at a local park or in the backyard, allowing each pet to smell and investigate the other while supervised. Make sure both pets have their own feeding stations and separate beds.

When introducing cats to other cats, separate them for a week by putting your new kitty in an office or spare room. Allow them to smell each other under the door and swap out blankets and soft toys, so they can get used to the presence of the other cat. Allow your cats to hang out in a safe, open area so you can observe how they do.

When introducing a new cat to your dog (or vice-versa), be sure not to hold or constrain your cat in any way. Keep your dog leashed while they meet, to ensure that they don’t begin to chase or be too pushy with your new feline. 

Home, Sweet Home: Welcoming a New Pet to the Household

It will take some time for everyone to adjust and be on the same page with the new routine. Discuss the weekly pet duties with family members and work together to create a seamless training and socialization program for your new pet. With consistency and reassurance, your new pet will feel like family in no time.

If you have any questions about introducing a new pet to your household, or would like to schedule your pet’s first wellness examination, please contact us. We can’t wait to meet your new cutie!