So you got a new pet… CONGRATULATIONS!! There are very few things in life as exciting as bringing a new pet into your home. Having a plan as to how you will care for and train your new pet is important. Here are a few helpful tips to get you started:
Every Pet is Different
If you have had a pet (or even many pets) in the past, realize that every pet is different and unique. What may have worked for your previous pet may not work for your new pet.
A Space of Their Own
Before your new pet is brought into your home, make sure you have a plan on where they will be allowed in the home. Designate the space where they will be kept when you are away from home and where they will sleep. Crate training is ideal to assist in house-training, to help keep them from being destructive, and reduce the likelihood they may eat something inappropriate. Puppy play-pens also work in certain situations to keep them confined and out of trouble.
Puppy/Kitten-Proof You Home
Make sure to puppy/kitty-proof your home. All human family members should be aware of the importance of putting away items that your new pet may destroy or eat — all toys, shoes, etc, should be picked up regularly. Specifically for kitties, ensure that no string or ribbon is left out to potentially ingest. Check the ASPCA website to ensure your home is free of poisonous plants. Non-poisonous plants should still be placed out of reach, either in a closed room or hung in a planter.
Practice patience. This is especially important when house training your new pet. While some puppies are quick to learn that going outdoors to ‘do their business’ is the desired behavior, others can take more time than we expect. Also, if your new pet destroys anything in your home, remember to not place blame on them, and instead focus on redirection and rewarding good behaviors.
Litter Box Etiquette
Cats like their litter boxes clean and tidy. Make sure to scoop litter at least once daily. Also, the general recommendation is to have one litter box per kitty, plus one additional. There is nothing worse than your cat deciding that there is a better place to do their business — appropriate litter box management is so important!
Positivity is Key
Keep a positive attitude and tone of voice. Pets, just like people, key in on these things. If you keep an upbeat voice and provide positive reinforcement (praise, small treats, or both) when training your new pet, they will adapt and learn more quickly. Young puppies need to go outside to urinate & defecate very frequently, regardless of the weather. If they have accidents in your house, please realize that they are still learning, and that we may need to adjust our routine and how frequently we are taking them outside.
When taking your new dog outdoors, make sure to walk them on a leash. Once they are older and well-trained, you may be able to allow them more freedom in yard with a fence or electric fence.
Training Your New Pet
Although you may have trained pets in the past, it is important to realize that each pet is different, and can teach us something new about pet ownership. Hampton Veterinary Hospital recommends that dog owners take every new dog they bring into their family for basic obedience training with a professional trainer. Remember that over 50% of the training is for us to become better pet parents! The ideal time to start training is around 12 weeks of age, so be sure to call to schedule a training session with a reputable training organization ASAP.
Hampton Veterinary Hospital recommends that new pet parents schedule initial examinations with one of our doctors within the first 10 days of a pet joining your family. We schedule longer initial visits to fully examine your pet and screen for any medical issues. A fecal sample will be submitted to screen for gastrointestinal parasites (some of which can be transmitted to human family members) and your pet will be started on heartworm and flea & tick preventatives. We will also discuss and begin an appropriate vaccination schedule, review home pet care, and answer any questions you may have about your new, 4-legged family member.
HAVE FUN!!! This is the most important, and best part of bringing a new pet into your home! And remember, we’re here to help with all of your pet care needs so don’t hesitate to contact us!