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Vet Talks: Bringing a New Pet Home – Tips From My Life as a Rescue Mom

Vet Talks 4 min read
Vet Talks: Bringing a New Pet Home – Tips From My Life as a Rescue Mom

Everyone loves baby animals. Who can resist those big floppy feet and droopy, longing eyes? I have a lot of experience with puppies and kittens because I have had so many pets.

I remember the first time I saw my little Billy. He was a puppy abandoned on a highway in Brazil. I was headed to work, and I saw this little brown boy. All by himself. In peril on the highway. There were no second thoughts. I had to take him to safety.

When I brought him home my father said we had no room for any more pets and we could not keep sweet Billy. But what could I do? I was given just 3 hours to find a home for Billy. Today, Billy is 10 years old and still with my father. They are inseparable.

When these babies are with their canine or feline mothers, they share their space with their litter-mates who help to protect and keep each other warm. They also learn from observing others of their species. When they are adopted and taken to their new home, they will have trouble settling down. Be prepared.

bringing home a new pet - tips

If I could put together a list of tips for pet owners bringing a new pet home, this would be it.

One of the first things that you need to know before taking a new pet home is his or her temperament

One of the first things that you need to know before taking a new pet home is his/her temperament. Whether they are sociable if they like to play with other animals or children. This is something that most of us ignore. We spend so much time looking for the right crate, the right bed, and supper dishes that we completely ignore understanding the pet’s personality.

1. Animals will often display their temperament in their first meeting. Take along a familiar smelling blanket or piece of clothing or toy from your household when you go to meet this new pet you are interested in bringing home. This will help you understand how he/she responds to these different smells.

2. Do not leave toys, food, or anything that could become the subject of dispute lying around, especially when bringing a new pet into a home with existing pets. Give each pet the same amount of attention, to avoid causing jealousy.

3. Ideally, adult pets should be spayed and neutered, not just for health reasons, but this also helps to avoid natural, instinctual conflict in the home.

4. Keep plants, small or fragile objects, shoes, and clothes out of reach. Do not leave anything on the floor. You may find it cute when your puppy chews on your old shoe, but he won’t know the difference between that and a new shoe!

5. Attach loose ends that can be pulled, such as tablecloths, hanging wires, etc. Your new friend will want to chew and tug on anything he sees.

6. Your curious pet will investigate your home and tinker with everything until he figures out the world around him. Get down to puppy or kitten level and look for anything ‘fun’ that could be a danger to your new pet.

7. Tails shake. Expensive things break!

8. Keep anything that might be poisonous to your pet out of reach. This includes medicines, cleaning products, paint, and some foods, such as chocolate.

9. Keep telephone wires and electronic gadgets out of reachProtect everything made of wood, such as table legs and chairs. Dogs instinctively want to gnaw on wood. Cats might like to chew on boxes or plastic.

10. Vaccinate your new pet before you put him in contact with any other pets or any children in the house. A puppy can bring diseases such as Parvovirus into the home. A cat can bring tapeworms.

11. Even with a careful approach, older pets can be adverse to new pets. This is relatively common. It may take some time for him/her to get familiar with the new family member.

12. Pay close attention to the older pet when the new member is present in the same environment so that he associates the new pet’s presence with something important: attention from their people. If the elder always associates the puppy’s or kitten’s presence with more attention, interaction, play, and rewards, and not with the loss of resources that are important to him, he will likely soon start to enjoy the new pet’s company.

It is important to see progress, even if it is small. Sometimes baby steps are needed for pets to get along. Taking your time and doing it right will ensure a long happy life together. You can always trust NHV Matricalm to help make introductions easy by reducing the stress and anxiety of a new beginning.

dr amanda from NHV with dog Billy
Me and Billy – Twinning for a game

Billy was a challenge for me. He was a few weeks old when I found him. He could not eat by himself. I had to feed him a special formula for orphaned puppies and he cried a lot. I allowed him to sleep in my bed and that’s when he began to settle in. He is now a friendly dog who loves his toys. Mel and Billy are best friends!

Mel came to us when her previous owners were giving her up because she was too energetic. She is the sweetest dog that I have ever had in my life. But Mel and Billy cannot share toys. I’ve lost count of how many times Mel ate something that she shouldn’t have.

dog messy with toys

Each pet has his or her own personality and with time you will learn to enjoy it and wrap your routine around it. So be prepared but enjoy the adventures as they come. The first few days home with your new pet are really special. Make many, many beautiful memories.

Dr. Amanda Nascimento DVM, MVSc, PhD

Dr. Amanda Nascimento DVM, MVSc, PhD

Dr. Amanda completed her undergraduate degree in veterinary medicine in 2010 and graduate studies in veterinary pathology (MVSc. 2012 and PhD 2016) at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of São Paulo. She completed her post-doctoral training at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine – University of Saskatchewan in 2018. Dr. Nascimento will be hosting her own blog series and sharing her knowledge with our extended NHV family.

Published: October 4, 2018

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