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Proper Introductions of Your New Pet

Please remember that you are taking your new pet into a strange environment. You will need to introduce him or her to your home (and for dogs, your yard), your family, and any other pets in your home.

Bringing Cats Home

  • Your new cat may not enjoy travel, so make sure you confine the cat in a secure cat carrier when transporting. Allowing the kitty loose in the car could cause an accident or escape.
  • Once home, place the kitty in a quiet closed-in area or room and provide him with a litter box, bed, food , water, toys, and scratching post. Allow the kitty to become acquainted with the area for a few days. Spend time in the room with him, but do not force the cat to come to you. Use treats and a soft voice to encourage interaction.
  • As he shows interest in exploring, slowly introduce him to the rest of the house, including other pets, making sure he continues to have access to “his” space in case he becomes nervous.

Bringing Dogs Home

Make sure that your new dog is wearing a properly fitted collar, with ID tag and appropriate leash for the size of dog. The dog should never be taken outside without wearing a collar and tags, and please keep him on a leash even in a fenced area until you are confident that he will not jump out or escape.

Once home, allow him to “potty” before taking him into the house. Take him on a leashed tour of the house, allowing him to explore each room under your supervision before allowing him loose in the house. Remember to give frequent potty breaks for the first few weeks. House rules begin day 1. Reward the dog for all good behaviors with praise, toys, or treats. If caught in the act of an inappropriate behavior, make a loud noise and redirect to a positive behavior. We feel that all dogs, young and old, benefit from training classes. Contact the shelter for details.

Introducing them to other members of your family

  • Remember all animals depend heavily on their sense of smell. All newcomers should first slowly extend their hand and allow the pet to sniff it. Make sure the pet is comfortable with the new person before “giving” them to the new person.
  • Sometimes the best way is to have the new person sit on the floor and allow the pet to go to them.
  • Make sure that young children understand that the pet is fragile and needs to be always handled very carefully.

Introducing them to other family pets

  • Make sure you go through the above steps prior to doing any other family pet introductions. Existing pets should be in a room with a closed door initially.
  • Cats definitely need time to get to know each other prior to face-to-face introductions. Confine the new kitty to a separate room with food/water, litter box, and toys. Feed resident cats and the new cat on either side of the door (not too close at first) to help them associate the new smells and sounds with something enjoyable (eating). Gradually move the dishes closer and closer to the door until the cats can calmly eat directly on either side of the door. Then prop the door on either side with 2 door stops so the cats can see each other but remain physically separated- and repeat the feeding process. Swapping out beds, towels, or spaces with the cats may help them get accustomed to each others’ scent. Once the cats seem adjusted to each other, allow for supervised interaction. If any cats become aggressive or fearful, separate and let them calm down before trying again. Make sure each cat has a hiding place. Once the introduction period is over, always remember to provide at least one easily accessible litter box for each cat in your household. If you need help introducing your pets, please contact the shelter.
  • Dogs should be introduced with two people holding them on separate leashes in a neutral environment so they can be easily separated. Start with keeping them 5 feet apart and slowly walk them towards each other. Allow the dogs to sniff each other for approximately 5-10 seconds and then move them away. Repeat, increasing the amount of “sniff” time as long as there is no growling, snapping, or biting. Once the dogs look relaxed, try taking them for a walk – the resident dog leading the way a few feet in front for half a block and then switch the lead dog. Repeat switching dogs back and forth, with the dogs gradually getting closer to each other until they can walk side by side. Then return home to the backyard or large room keeping a leash on at least the new dog. Allow 10 minutes of interaction, separate for 1 hour, and then gradually increase the “play time.” Observe for any evidence of growling, snapping, or biting. If this occurs, separate the dogs. After the dogs are calmed down you can try again with step one, and take more time going through the steps. If you need advice or help with introducing your pets, please contact the shelter.
  • When introducing cats to dogs make sure the dog is on a leash and the cat has a safe room/area to go to if he becomes nervous. Reward calm behavior from either pet. When not under direct supervision, the pets should be kept in separate areas until you are confident that they can be safely together unsupervised.

What to Expect with a New Pet

When bringing home “Rover” or “Fluffy” for the first time, it’s important to keep in mind that your new pet will need some time to get familiar to his new environment. So be patient for the first few weeks; the period of adjustment is different for every animal.

Dogs and cats can be your most faithful companions, but they do bring with them responsibilities and obligations that must be considered. To help ensure success, do some preparation before bringing your new pet home.

What you’ll need for a dog

  • Crate or kennel
  • Collar with ID tag and leash
  • Quality food for the age of your dog (puppy, adult, or senior)
  • A dog bed will provide a place all their own and help keep them off your couch or bed (if this is what you want)
  • A secured yard environment (fence, tie-out, or invisible fencing)
  • Grooming tools

What you’ll need for a cat

  • Secure pet carrier
  • Quality food for the age of your cat (kitten, adult, or senior)
  • Litter box, litter, and scoop
  • Grooming tools, including cat-nail scissors
  • Scratching post and toys

“What to Expect” considerations when you bring home your new pet

  • Expect: a few mishaps, and be forgiving; remember your pet is not perfect
  • Expect: your pet to lack manners; take him to a training class, which is also great for bonding
  • Expect: a companion who asks no questions and makes no judgments
  • Expect: to come home to a presence that is always happy to see you
  • Expect: a lifetime commitment from your pet; it is up to you to provide him with the same
  • And most importantly, expect unconditional love!

For more information, consult our Education Information

Survey

Take our Online Adoption Survey to help us improve our service to you. In addition, a few weeks after the adoption, one of our staff or volunteers will give you a call. This will provide you an opportunity to ask any questions that have come up since the adoption. We want to make sure that everything is going well and to provide any additional help that we can. If you are having any problems, however, please don’t wait for us to call you, contact us.

Pet Insurance

Remember to activate your PetFirst Healthcare Insurance IMMEDIATELY! All of our adoptions include PetFirst Healthcare Pet Insurance, but to activate it, you must contact them within 20 days of your pet adoption.

This is health insurance for your pet and the first month of coverage is only $5. You must contact them within 20 days of your pet’s adoption to secure this discounted rate. Your coverage begins at midnight EST following your activation. Please contact PetFirst by calling 1-866-937-7387 or visit www.petfirstadoption.com.

Tips, Pet Training Classes, and Pooch Paw-ties

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Happy Tails

Tell us how things are working out with the new member of your family via Happy Tails. Upload a photo and tell us your story, and we will share both on our website.

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