February 4, 2022
Whether adopting an older pet or picking out a new puppy or kitten, bringing home a new pet to the family is a big decision. There are some things to consider before bringing home a new dog or cat.
Why are you bringing home a new pet?
Make sure that those who will be the primary caregivers for the pet are the ones who really want it. Kids can be very persuasive when they want a pet, but in reality the adults are likely going to be responsible for caring for the pet, so they also need to want a new pet in the home. If you have an older pet in the house & are getting a new pet to “keep it company” consider if your older pet will actually be able to adapt to a younger animal in the house. Some older dogs or cats are used to living on their own and aren’t interested in a companion or playmate. Adding another pet can actually be more stressful than comforting, depending on their personality.
Did you know that for every cat in a house, there should be an additional litter box plus 1 extra (for instance, if you have 2 cats, you should have 3 litter boxes)? These litter boxes should be spread throughout the house, so that each cat has their own individual area to use the bathroom. Although a new kitten doesn’t take up much space themselves, they should be able to have some space in the household to themselves. If you’re planning to get another dog, then you may need extra room for a crate or outside space to go to the bathroom or run around.
Will the pets get along?
If there is already a cat or dog at home, consider how they will get along with the new pet. I would always recommend the current pet is introduced to the new pet outside of the house to ensure they get along. For cats, bringing home another pet can be very stressful and this can cause them to hide out or even lead to cystitis. Cystitis is a painful condition of the bladder that can cause blood in the urine, crystals in the urine, inappropriate urination, and is often caused by a stressful situation for the cat. Some dogs can have resource guarding in their house and may not want to share toys, treats, or even a bed. So make sure to supervise interactions between the pets and if there are any concerns of aggression, discuss with a trainer or veterinarian right away. Feliway and adaptil are great at reducing stress for pets and I would recommend they are utilized in the house anytime a new pet is introduced.
Health of the New Pet
Some health issues are relatively easy to treat while others take lifelong commitment. Consider what this means to your family as well as whether any health issues can be passed to any current animals (or even people) in the house. Puppies and kittens can carry parasites. Some parasites (such as roundworms) are relatively easy to get rid of, while others (such as giardia) can take longer treatment courses. If you’re adopting an adult animal, make sure to research any medical or behavior issues the pet has or is predisposed to. Some dog breeds are more prone to allergies and this can be managed, but could require special diets or medications. If you’re adopting an older animal with known medical or behavioral issues, consider consulting with a veterinarian so you can have a complete understanding of ongoing medical needs.
It’s so exciting to add a new family member! It is also important to make sure it is the right fit (for you and your new pet), so that pet will stay in it’s forever home.