Monday, April 06, 2009

Wagging Welcome

Here is a great informational story on how to introduce new pets.

Wagging Welcome

Bringing home a new pet is an exciting time. But make sure you're starting things off on the right
foot - or the right paw.

"Most people who come in say, 'I'm ready - I want to adopt.' But we like them to be prepared," said Janet Gates, an application processor at the Bedford County Humane Society in Everett.

"That means doing research on the type of dog or cat that will be suitable for your home and family - and finding out how they interact with other animals.

Think about the supplies you'll need to make your new pet feel at home, she said. Dogs and cats both need bedding, food and water, bowls and collars. Adding a cat means adding a litter box and litter.

Veterinarians recommend at least one box for every cat in the house (and often say an additional box is a good idea). Also, think about toys for both cats and dogs. Having activities will help distract and entertain them while they are assimilating to their new environments.

"It keeps them busy ... so they don't make chew toys out of your leather shoes," she said. "And remember - cats like toys just as much as dogs do."

Crating your new pet is the best way to get him home safely, she said. Once in the home, leave the crate in an accessible area. It serves as an animal's "private space," where they can get away from other pets and people.

If you're adopting a puppy, you'll want to baby-proof the home - much like you would for a toddler.

"Look around, and ask yourself, 'Do I have electrical cords laying around, poisonous plants, chocolate sitting around in a candy dish ... or anti-freeze sitting in the garage - that can be lethal. Also, keep dogs of any age on a leash. A lot of people who come in and adopt an older dog think they can bring it home and just let it out the back door. That's a mistake - they'll run. It takes dogs a while to realize this is their new home."

The Central Pennsylvania Humane Society recommends setting up a veterinary visit within three days after adopting an animal from a shelter.

At the visit, your pet will need a general health check, rabies vaccinations, heartworm preventative and other inoculations. It also is important to get licenses and identifications tags for both dogs and cats.

"Your veterinarian can explain all shots and medications that are required by law, and also treatments that can prevent future health problems," said Debbie Pierce, director of marketing at the society. "They'll advise you on feeding and answer any specific questions you may have about your new pet."

And be patient in the beginning, she said. It may take a new pet time to adjust to its new home and family - and that includes other animals in the household.

"Consider letting (animals) get to know each for the first time in neutral territory," she said. "For example, take the dogs for a walk and introduce them during the walk. For cats, make the newcomer comfortable in their spot, and then introduce them slowly for short periods of time."
When Jen Bidoli and her husband, Steve, both 36, of Altoona, brought an abandoned kitten home a little more than a year ago to their then-7-year-old rat terrier, Owen, the addition was seamless.

"Faith (the kitten) would play with Owen, and Owen would play with her," she said. "She was still very little and still not walking so well (the kitten was weak from malnourishment), and Owen would come up and nudge her softly - it was like he was motherly to her."

Their three kids, Amarah, Anna and Matthew, ages 15, 11 and 9, respectively, were just as welcoming.

"The kids used to fight over who got to feed her and who got to hold her," she recalled. "We had to bottle-feed her with kitten formula for the first four weeks, along with softened cat food and warm milk."

She recalled the kids being just as welcoming with Owen, an abandoned puppy they took in eight years ago.

"All the kids loved Owen from the get-go ... Matt would even sleep with him in his dog bed," Bidoli said.

As for altercations between the two animals, they're few and far between, she said - living proof that dogs and cats don't have to be mortal enemies.

"The only time they fight is when the cat claws the side of the couch," she said. "As soon as Owen hears that, he bolts after. He doesn't like her doing that - he's kind of like the house police. She either runs or chases after him - and that's the extent of their fighting.

She added, "If you can tolerate having animals in your house, it's a good thing - because they love you unconditionally. Animals can calm you and lower your blood pressure. ... They love you and give back to you."

Source: Altoona Mirror Staff Writer Jimmy Mincin
Important Pet Supplies:

1 comment:

Michael said...

"If you're adopting a puppy, you'll want to baby-proof the home - much like you would for a toddler."

I have adopted quite a few puppies in recent years, and I have to say, this is a good tip! For most of us, we need to think much about adopting pets and what to do with them. It's a big responsibility. House-proofing is just the beginning!

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