1. What basic supplies do you need before adopting a pet?
Bringing home your new pet is an exciting time, by making sure you are prepared with these basic items you can make their transition to your home much smoother. Some of the essential items that you will need for a new dog are food, treats, a collar and leash, durable toys, a dog bed and poop bags. For a cat you will want food, a collar that is “break-away” (for safety), a litterbox with scoop, litter, toys and a scratching post to redirect their paws from your favorite furniture.
2. How should you set up your home for a new puppy?
Setting up your home for your new puppy is a matter of making sure you have a safe space for them to explore, play and rest. Puppies should not be left alone for more than a few hours at a time, but when you do leave them, you will want to designate a space that they can be kept in safely. You can use baby gates to close off a room, usually a sterile room such as a bathroom or laundry room. Set up this area with a bed, water bowl and a variety of toys that are safe for them to be left alone with.
The rest of your home should be puppy-proofed as well, so you will want to pick up all belongings that might be confused for a chew toy. Keep closets closed and valuables up high, you will also want to make sure all the house plants are non-toxic. Be sure to have toys accessible in every room so you trade them if they grab an inappropriate item.
3. How do I promote good house-training habits for my new pet?
Both dogs and cats need to be set up for success when it comes to their potty habits. For dogs the most effective way to manage house training is to have a consistent eating and potty schedule. Taking your pup out at the same time and to the same place helps them understand what you want from them. Puppies will need to be taken out much more frequently than an adult and remember to reward your dog with praise or treats when they potty!
Cats are very clean animals, which means they are very sensitive to the smell of their litterbox. You will want to make sure you are scooping their messes daily, morning and evening. Changing the litter completely every couple weeks. Make sure the litter box is easy to find and not near their food and water. Also, do not move the box too often, move it gradually to a new location or add another box to the new spot for a couple days before you pull away the old one. You may find that you need more than one box, if you have a bigger home or you have multiple cats, some cats just like options! For more information regarding litter boxes, click here.
4. What are the first safety measures I should take once I adopt my pet?
To ensure your pets safety, you will want to make sure that your pet wears an Id tag and collar with a current phone number in case they get lost. You will also want to make sure you animal has a microchip and that you register it. Keep the microchip current, if you ever move or change your phone number, make sure you have your information updated with the microchip agency.
5. Is training my pet necessary?
Training your new pet is a fun way to bond and also exercise their brain so you have a happy and mentally fulfilled animal. Your dog or cat rely on you to learn good behavior, aided by play and exploration. Using treats and toys to reward good behaviors will result in a happier pet and owner.
6. Why is it better for my cat to be an indoor pet?
Indoor cats are safer, healthier and have longer life spans. Your indoor cat will not be subject to outside dangers such as cars, diseases, predators or being stolen. Indoor cats lead fulfilling lives free of the stresses that can come from having to be on guard outside, inside they can be carefree in the comfort of their home with toys to play with and with you to engage with. If you want your cat to enjoy outside time, there are safe options such as a catio which will keep them safe from the elements while laying outside or you can train your cat to wear a cat-harness so you can walk them on leash!
7. How much attention do kittens and puppies need?
Puppies and kittens are super adorable and fun, but you must remember they are babies and babies require a lot of nurturing and patience. For instance, puppies rely on you to help them work on their house training which involves taking them out every couple hours and staying consistent and calm. Socializing your puppy or kitten daily is the key to a happy and well-behaved pet. This means a lot of attention throughout the day, giving them physical and mental stimulation so that they grow up to have the positive behaviors you want to see in them.
8. How much should I expect my pet to cost me each year?
Things to consider when calculating the cost of a pet are medical care (annual appointments, vaccines, emergencies), toys, food, and litter. The cost will increase for puppies and kittens, as they will need booster vaccines, extra toys and training classes (for puppies). The average cost of a pet is typically a minimum of 1,000.00 annually. To prepare for medical costs, a new pet owner should consider getting pet insurance for their animal, which is a nice safety net, but also something you would have to budget into the annual cost.
9. What kind of food is best for my new pet?
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the pet food options these days! To make it easier, the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) suggests to follow three basic steps when selecting pet food:
- Read the label correctly.
- Select a food labeled for the pet’s species, life stage and condition.
- Follow feeding directions on the label.
For more in-depth information, click here to visit AAFCO’s website. We also recommend to try and stick to one protein at first. This is suggested so if your animal shows a distaste or has an allergic reaction, you can easily rule that protein out.
10. What are the best enrichment toys for dogs and cats?
Toys that exercise your animal’s mind and keep them thinking are great enrichment tools. For cats, interactive toys are really entertaining, if they can chase the toy or practice pouncing, an active cat will be happily engaged. A cat tree is a great way for your cat to climb an appropriate object while also getting exercise. Puzzle toys where you can hide treats is a fun way for your animal to problem solve and work out their brain. Dogs love variety, that way they are less inclined to get bored! Puzzle toys, Kongs, and safe chew items are good ways to keep your four-legged friend busy!
Cat adopters, click here for additional resources.
Dog adopters, click here for additional resources.