A new baby in the house will always spell change, and a four legged baby is no exception! The introduction of a new family member, whether it’s a puppy or a kitten, while an affair most exciting is also an occasion to exercise great care and forethought. The more prepared you are before you bring your bundle home, the less sleepless nights you’ll have worrying!
Figuring out where your new puppy or kitten is going to sleep is something that should be done and most importantly agreed upon from the start. Your new pet will need consistency, and like us their bed will serve as a place of comfort and safety. It’s important for your pet to have a bed of their own in a warm, dry, safe and quiet place. An area that is accessible at all times but out of the way so your pet may retreat when scared or overwhelmed. Keeping water and food together, again in an area that is not high in traffic, but still apart of household life, is important, especially in the beginning. Your new pet may be anxious and to a degree ‘clingy’ to their new family, so letting them remain near will help them settle in, again consistency will offer comfort for a new pet.
Before your new puppy or kitten becomes a fully fledged member of the family you should contact your local vets. Like you would find a doctor you trust, it is just as important to find a veterinarian you feel comfortable with. Upon finding a vet you trust, they will be the best source of information. With many different theories and opinions available at the click of a button it is easy to become confused or misinformed. Your vet will be able to advise you on what you will need to do to help keep your new fur baby happy and healthy. From vaccinations to diets, parasite prevention to de-sexing, your vet will be able to give you all the information required to put your mind at ease!
If you are adopting your new pet from a breeder, speaking to them about what products they use, food they prefer and the medical history of the parents is advised. Researching the breed characteristics and about any pre-disposed conditions associated with the breed is also a good idea. Then speaking to your vet about this information will allow you to plan ahead and in some cases take the necessary precautions.
For specific advice about how to train your pet please see the cat and dog behaviour pages. However there are a few things you can do when you first bring your new puppy or kitten home to help make the transition an easy one. Your new family member will always show some unease regarding their new two legged family and unfamiliar surroundings. Your love and compassion will help them to assimilate over time, by giving them a space to call their own (their bed) and incorporating it into your home by placing it nearby, will help them recognise that you are there to love and protect them. Some breeders or shelters will give you a familiar item or beloved toy to take home with you to help comfort your new baby. These days most breeders will have begun to limit the amount of time your puppy or kitten was spending with mum, but even if this is the case they will still be missing their brothers and sisters. This coupled with the fact that they are in unfamiliar territory, alone, is enough to make any one cry. So be patient don’t get mad or frustrated and trust that your new puppy or kitten will adjust to you and your home in their own time, just continue showing love and giving care and they will trust you.
Showing your new pet where their ‘toilet’ is, whether outside or a litter tray, isn’t always as easy as showing them the way, they may forget when the time comes. When it looks like your pet is searching for somewhere show them their designated area, keeping it close by in the beginning will help, and praise them when they go. While starting training early is good, give your pet time to settle in. Always stay positive, you have plenty of time to curb bad habits later, training will be easier once you’ve developed a bond and that’s what those first few days are for!
The Next Chapter
Your new puppy or kitten will settle in and adopt your way of life pretty quickly. Each pet and their home is different, remember that their personalities play as big a role their upbringing as yours. Observe your new furry family member, watch how they explore, interact with new people and respond to new experiences. Like human babies, puppies and kittens cannot relay to us their needs or feelings verbally. It’s up to us to monitor them, care for them and understand them. As they grow they will encounter new experiences, eat strange things and play with strange friends. Upset tummies from queer foods, sore paws from scuffles with friends and swollen noses from insect bites may all be in your future. So remember that your vet is there to help, so if you’re ever worried or unsure about symptoms or behaviours your new pet is exhibiting you can always speak to them. In fact over the first few months of your pets life they will probably meet their vet on multiple occasions, from when they come in for booster vaccinations right up until the day they get de-sexed. Plenty of occasions for you to voice any concerns you may have and get them seen to.
If you are ever concerned about your puppy or kittens health or well being you can call our clinic on (03) 5975 3811 to seek advice. When it comes to young animals it is always best to ask and voice your concerns to trained professionals.