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Adding a New Dog or Cat to the Family

These tips will help you get started on the right foot and create great memories with your dog and cat

Adding a New Dog or Cat to the Family

Bringing a new dog or cat into the family is a big moment and a special time for everyone involved. Your lives are going to change for the better as will the life of the pet you are adopting. It is important to be prepared and to make sure all of the basics are taken care of so you and your furry family member can have the best start in life together. Here are five things to keep in mind when bringing home your new pet.

Pet-proof your home

We all think about the steps needed to baby-proof a home, but many people forget the same care is required when bringing home a new pet, especially when that pet is a puppy or kitten.

Small pets are much like young children in that they love to explore and are very curious. They also learn about their world initially with their mouths so many things like cords, small items, plastics, and kid’s toys can all become instant chew toys. It is important to give your home a once over before bringing your new dog or cat home to make sure all potentially dangerous items are put away and kept out of reach. You don’t want your kitten chewing through the computer cables or your puppy eating something dangerous from the garbage can. Taking this step beforehand will ensure everyone stays safe and happy.

Start training right away

Don’t wait until behavior issues are unmanageable before addressing them. Dogs and cats require a lot of time and attention for training. Not only should you start house training the day you bring them home, it’s also a great idea to begin behavioral and obedience training too. This will help ensure your pets don’t fight, scratch, or bite others while they are being handled or groomed.

Cats will require guidance so they can learn what they can and cannot do inside the home. Set rules for your cat and stick with them to prevent habits such as climbing on the kitchen counters or scratching at the couch.

Dogs must learn their boundaries as well and become accustomed to a leash and collar. Building a mutual respect with your dog will set you up for training success.

Training should start as soon as possible to avoid learned bad behaviors.

Review pet safety with young family members

Dogs and cats can be loving members of a family with young children. However, special care and attention must be given to ensure your pets and your children stay safe.

It is absolutely critical that you never leave a child alone with any new pet under any circumstances. Even the most patient dog or cat will run out of resilience at some point and may scratch or snap if they feel threatened. Taking the time to work with your children and teach them what to do and not to do will help ensure playtime is a safe and fun time.

Many dog bites and cat scratches occur because a child and the pet were not properly supervised. Safety must always be a top priority for you, your pet, and your family members.

Plan to provide plenty of playtime

Exercise is very important for most dogs, so it is important that you include walks or runs on a daily basis. The more you play and interact with your pet, the more you stave off boredom. This can eliminate destructive behaviors such as unwanted chewing or barking.

Take the time to find the right toys that best fit your dog or cat’s personality. It can take a little time to figure out, as each pet is different and will want to play and interact in their own way. Remember to never force a dog or cat into a situation they don’t want to be in, especially when young children are involved. Be patient, kind, and firm, and make playtime a fun time for your pet and your family members.

Consider a health plan for your pet

We never want to think about our beloved pets getting sick or injured. However, just as it is prudent to plan for what-if scenarios when it comes to our own health and wellbeing, we must do the same for our pets.

Vet bills can be expensive and when you add on surgeries and long stays for treatments and recovery, the bills can soon turn into the tens of thousands of dollars. The best way to prepare for these unfortunate events is to invest in a pet discount plan or insurance. Any initial investment will more than pay for itself in the event something does happen and your beloved pet needs advanced care or treatments.

Many veterinary clinics offer payment plans and insurance options so that is a great place to start. No matter what kind of coverage you get, making that investment is one of the best ways to protect your pet.

Pets make wonderful additions to any family, and it is important to take good care of them and do everything you can to make the experience fun and safe for your pet. These tips will help you get started on the right foot and will help create great memories with your dog and cat!

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