Thinking about becoming a pet parent? It’s one of the most rewarding things you can do! Adopting a dog or cat and adding a new member to your family is a huge step that comes with lots of responsibility and lots of joy! As our founder Marie Moody’s dogs Stella and Chewy were both adult rescues, pet adoption, especially that of adult and senior pet adoption, has a special place in our hearts. We’ve worked with our Journey Home Fund partners and local shelter partners to share a list of things to expect when bringing a new pet into your home.
Give it time: There can sometimes be an expectation that your dog or cat will immediately feel at home and that there will be an immediate and deep bond, but this is typically not the case. Laura Oliver from Lionel’s Legacy shared that it is vital for new pet parents to expect an adjustment period for their new pet and this can be especially true if there is another pet already in the home. In fact, Lionel’s Legacy requires a 2 week “Sniffing Period” before finalizing adoptions. According to Laura, “[This policy] gives both the adopter and the new animal family member time to sniff each other out and get to know one another. New pets need time to figure out where to go to the bathroom, when and how to eat and how to communicate with their new family.”
There may be some late nights: As your new pet gets used to their new home, there may be some late nights as they adjust. This will be especially true if your new pet is a puppy, as they are likely to need a bathroom break during the night and may whine through the night.
You’ll want to establish a routine: Establishing a routine early on can be one of the best things to do for your pet. This will include feeding times, play times, and for a dog, walk times. Routines can be especially beneficial for dogs as it can help them acclimate to their new home more quickly and it can keep your pet on a schedule that works best for your lifestyle. That said, no pet will be perfect and able to stay on schedule or a routine without any varying.
You’ll need the essentials: All pets will require some basic items when it comes to their care. This will vary a bit for each pet, but there are some fundamental items. This includes bowls for feeding and for water, a leash and collar/harness for a dog, a litter box for a cat. Make sure that you are as prepared as possible with the items that your pet will need.
Be ready to invest your time: When it comes to caring for a dog or cat, time is required no matter what age they happen to be. While puppies may require extra time for training, even older dogs and cats will need your time and attention. Be ready to change your routine by adding in daily walks (for dogs), daily feeding, and daily snuggles!
Consider your pet’s new diet: Just like with humans, a healthy diet is one of the most vital parts of caring for a pet, and it is the most important choice you can make as a pet parent. At Stella and Chewy’s, we focus on only the good stuff, sourcing premium ingredients with an emphasis on food safety because the food we make is the food we feed our own fur babies. Whether you’re looking for your new dog, your new cat, or you’re looking for a healthy diet that will work for a pet with allergies/special dietary needs, our food is a great option! Newman Nation shared that the transition to both a new environment and, usually, a new diet, can cause an upset stomach. To help avoid this, we do recommend a transitioning to our food slowly over the course of 7-10 days, mixing in the new food with the old food.
Expect the unexpected: While you may have everything planned or thought out, Jennifer Smieja from HAWS shares that flexibility and patience and being ready to re-think your plans will be key. Absolutely do your research on breeds and species before you adopt, and be sure to ask the adoption counselors any questions you may have about your pet specifically and adjustment in general. HAWS also offers free one-on-one consultations for anyone who adopts, for the lifetime of your pet. It’s important to take advantage of programs like that and to get help from the experts before minor concerns become major issues.