The thought of welcoming a new pet to your home is exciting, and may make you feel like a kid again—and your own kids are likely pretty darned excited, too. But pet adoption is a big responsibility, requiring some serious planning. Our Wales Animal Clinic team is here to help you successfully acclimate your furry new family member to your home. Follow our pet adoption checklist to ensure the transition goes smoothly. 

#1: Do your pet adoption research

Before you begin meeting pet adoptees, you must be thoughtful and realistic about your pet ownership commitment by reflecting on your current lifestyle, living situation, work demands, and finances, which will help you determine if you are ready to adopt. Before you choose your new pet, follow these tips:

  • Choose the right breed — Research breeds to determine the pet type that will be compatible with your lifestyle. 
  • Ask questions — When adopting through a shelter or animal rescue, learn as much as you can about a potential pet by asking a lot of questions. If the animal has been fostered, ask the foster family about the pet’s personality, energy level, and health. 
  • Introduce the family — Bring the whole family—including your current pets—to meet a potential adoptee to ensure the animals get along, and all family members are on board with committing to the adoption. 
  • Transition gradually — To fully understand a pet’s personality, everyone should get together a few times before you bring home your new pet. Once your new pet comes home, remember to be patient as everyone transitions and welcomes the new family member. 

By taking your time to consider, research, and become familiar with a new pet, you ensure they will likely succeed in fully acclimating to their new home. 

#2: Stock up on pet supplies

If you already have pets, you likely have many necessary items. But, when adopting your first pet, you should start with the basics, and add to your supplies as you become familiar with your pet’s needs. Before you bring home your new pet, however, ensure you have these essentials:

  • Food and water bowls
  • Pet carrier 
  • Crate
  • Collar
  • Leash and harness
  • Comfy bed
  • Nutritious pet food
  • Treats 
  • Grooming supplies
  • Poop bags
  • Baby gates
  • Toys 
  • Paper towels
  • Litter box and litter

#3: Give your pet time to adjust

When you introduce your new pet to your home, everything is different for them, and they may feel confused, nervous, and fearful as they explore their new environment and meet new people and pets. 

You can help your new pet acclimate by giving them time and space to decompress, waiting until they feel comfortable socializing. Before giving your new pet free reign of the entire house, provide them with a room or small area with their bed, toys, and food and water access. Many pets are exhausted when they arrive at their new home, and they will appreciate peace and quiet. Of course, a boisterous puppy may have a different initial reaction, but eventually, they too will need rest. 

#4: Start training your pet immediately

Your pet looks to you for guidance on acceptable behavior. A new pet needs boundaries, consistent routines, and positive reinforcement as they learn the ropes. To get started, try free online training resources, or hire a qualified pet trainer. 

Puppy socialization classes are a great way to introduce your puppy to other pets and people while practicing basic obedience, and will help ensure your puppy matures as a friendly, confident, well-adjusted dog. You should begin socializing your new puppy between 3 and 16 weeks of age. If you adopt an older pet, socialization is still important, and you should introduce them to a variety of new people and places to help build their confidence. Ensure your new pet’s experiences are positive by rewarding them with high-value treats, such as chicken breast, hot dog pieces, or string cheese. 

#5: Give your new pet a healthy start

Ensure your new family member is off to a happy, healthy start by scheduling their regular veterinary wellness exams, which help your veterinarian get to know your new pet while establishing their health and temperament baselines. You should schedule your new pet’s first wellness exam during the first few days of bringing them home. 

Our team looks forward to welcoming your new pet to their Wales Animal Clinic family. Schedule your new pet’s wellness exam today, and congratulations on your new addition!