What to Expect When You’re Expecting… A New Pet!

You decided to bring home a new pet! The excitement is still fresh and you want to do the best you can to provide a safe and happy home for your new animal.

If you haven’t looked at our pet adoption guide, this is a perfect time to read over it and get familiar with the basics of pet care. 

These next few days are going to be the most exciting but also the most frustrating days of your new relationship with your pet. It is important to manage our expectations for how our new pet will transition into their new life. Examine the 3-3-3 rule for shelter dogs. In this article, we will talk about how to adjust our expectations and what we can do as pet owners to create a strong foundational relationship between pet and family. 

The First 3 Days With Your New Pet

In the first three days, your new pet will be very overwhelmed in their new home. They may not want to interact with you or your family. They may not be interested in food or treats. You may see gastrointestinal issues from the stress and they may find hiding spots in your home until they begin to relax. So what can you do to help? As the pet owner, you can create a safe space for them. For cats, this means keeping them in an enclosed space with familiar smells such as blankets and towels from the shelter. Provide ample opportunities for potty breaks for dogs, and litter box options for cats. Give your pet plenty of space and time to adjust with no new visitors or trips to other new places. Establish the routine you will have them on from now on so they know what to expect. Be patient as this may be a very frustrating time for both you and your new pet. 

The First 3 Weeks With Your New Pet

Within the first three weeks, this is the time that your pet will really adjust to their new home. They will begin to show their true personality. This may include some behaviors that you are not so fond of. Consider this time period as critical to setting and maintaining boundaries with the pet. This is often a time of compromise for both parties. Establish a relationship with your vet and a trainer, if needed. Continue your routine but expand their environment, whether that means introducing them to other spaces in the home or to new people, places, and things. 

The First 3 Months With Your New Pet

Over the next three months, you and your new pet are going to continue to shift and settle into what will be the rest of your lives together! So enjoy the process!

Remember that successful pet homes utilize the resources around them and we invite you to use us as a resource. Contact us at adopt@paws4ever.org or at 919.241.8438 ext. 103 with any questions you have about caring for your new pet!

Additional Resources:

Pet Adoption Guide
Introducing A New Pet
Cat-Proofing Your Home
Adopter Resources
Bringing Home A Rescue Dog: The 3-3-3 Rule, by Rescue Dogs 101
Welcoming Your Adopted Dog Into Your Home, by ARL of Boston

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