By Christine A. Bournias
Contemplating A New Addition To The Family?
You’re thinking about bringing a new pet into your family.
You saw a photo of a puppy online and you just have to have him. Besides, you’re at home more—and you’re “bored.”
Not so fast. Take a breath. Think it through.
Animals are adorable and cuddly. But, are you really ready for a new addition to your family? Ask yourself: Is now a good time for one more responsibility? It’s much better to regard your decision before you make up your mind based on cuteness alone.
Sometimes love is not enough. Neither is cute. What you want and what you need are two separate things.
Okay, okay. Yes. You’re ready for a new pet!
You Decided To Adopt A Pet. Now What?
The local shelter is “emptying” the shelter, and you heard it’s an ideal time to adopt an animal.
With current animal considerations and almost the entire world under government regulation to self isolate, you’re convinced that a new pet for your family will be a good move to occupy your time—and home.
● Consider your lifestyle outside of self isolation
● Think long term
● Inspect your current environment
● Avoid making rash decisions based on emotions alone
● Discuss pet responsibility with your family
Welcome To Your New Home. Be A Good Boy.
Congratulations! You decided to bring a new member into your household.
Love wins, but there’s more to owning a pet than love. This cute little bundle of fluff is a live breathable creature that will grow up and be a large breathable creature that needs you from day one.
Tiny kittens transform into grown cats. And puppies get big. Therefore, you must know how to love animals and be committed to their entire life as they sprout up.
Pet Introductions: It’s Not Easy. But, It’s Not Impossible.
When you haven’t been used to having a best friend at home, you might be rusty on what it takes to properly care for your new pet.
Perhaps you already have a houseful of humans to care for, or you have many other pets running around your home.
Do you currently have an older cat that rules the house? Are there young children or senior citizens living with you? Expecting a baby? Or teenage girls? Can you handle a whimpering pup, or could you commit to rescuing a special needs kitten instead? Maybe working with a senior dog is suited for your family?
How will all these moving parts meld together with your existing family?
Be Smart About Your New Family Pet Additions
Whether your new member of the family is a dog—or cat—you want to prepare your household and accommodate your home for your pet’s arrival.
FOR IMMEDIATE CONSIDERATION:
1. Are you ready to take on the responsibility that comes with caring for a pet?
2. Is your entire family and living situation suitable for bringing in a new family member?
3. Most importantly, is your budget aligned to care for your pet properly?
Getting a new pet requires responsibility and hard work. In order to be a successful Pet Parent, your pet requires from you rigor, discipline, financial commitment, and a lifetime of devotion.
Pet Parent Success Takes Planning. And Patience.
A new pet. It’s not as simple as it seems. But, with a little guidance and lots of patience, you can become a pro. We’re here to help:
3 Simple Tips Before You Introduce A New Pet Into Your Family
1. Avoid Rash Decisions
Is Your Entire Family Ready For A New Pet?
If you base your new pet decision based on emotion alone, you may be in for a big surprise.
Do your homework and don’t make reckless decisions at the expense of an animal’s life. Quick decisions can lead to trouble. You may not be able to provide the ideal home for your new pet—or worse, you could find yourself having to relinquish a pet if you simply can’t care for them properly.
You wouldn’t relinquish your human child, why would it be any different with your fur kid?
Your new puppy is a forever commitment, not a pair of shoes.
Please explore all options if a new pet is a good fit before the final adoption or purchasing process.
Still A Good Time To Get A New Pet?
While certain breeders and animal shelters have a return policy in place, a new pet shouldn’t be temporary. You can’t try out your new pet for size, reassuring yourself that you can always take them back if they’re not perfect.
Their paws may track in mud on your new flooring, their barking might be persistent, and their excited tail may knock over a few family heirlooms when it wags.
Think about a forever home for your best friend.
Get Agreement From Your Family To Add A Pet
Please be certain that both you and your family can provide a suitable environment for your new furry friend. It takes commitment from the entire family.
The whole family needs to be on-board from the get-go.
It’s a tough decision not to get a new pet, but not as tough as it would be if you discover that each member of your family is not committed to caring for your pet.
“When I adopted Louie, he displayed many challenging behaviors that made me question my decision to adopt him. I learned quickly that I had two choices to make; 1) to keep him and 2) to love him. My family had to be on-board with that decision as well. A large part of loving Louie was having him (and me), my grandchildren, and Louie’s alpha pups properly trained.” —Danise DiStasi, Author Love Like Louie
A new pet is not a toy.
Be smart about your pet decision. Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you’re not busy working. Pets require more than a bowl of kibble and minimal attention every once in a while.
All pets are loving, breathable beings, and deserve a forever home with a lifetime commitment. Make sure they fit in well within your current situation and overall lifestyle.
2. Do Your Research
Take action now on what kind of animal you would like to care for. Research dog and cat breeds ahead of time to determine temperament and common traits.
Dog breeds aren’t created equal. Determine the kind of animal you would like, and study the breed at great lengths to understand common tendencies and behaviors. This research will help in determining if a new pet will align with your lifestyle and household.
Know your family.
A household with grown teenage boys or a family with an infant are two (2) completely different circumstances. Newborns require around the clock care, young children become restless, and teenagers get bored easily.
Consider your current family arrangement and talk with your family to gauge commitment on time investment for a pet.
Together, take a vow to invest time with your new furry family member.
Are you always on the go? Or, are you more of a couch potato? Do you want to purchase a pet? Or, do you have room in your heart and home to adopt? Regardless, do your homework on the animal.
These initial questions will guide you to the appropriate breed.
Adoption is not for everybody, but if it’s for you, be cautious of organizations that give away animals or try to ‘empty’ their facility in a short amount of time with little to no adoption cost per animal.
Instead, look for organizations that focus on keeping those animals in forever homes.
It’s important to find a rescue organization that’s in business for the betterment of the animal. Make sure they’re not just keeping their doors open for money only. Avoid risky organizations that are merely trying to clear out their cages fast.
It’s a good sign if the shelter or rescue organization asks you what you’re doing for the next 10-14 years of your life to determine your commitment and responsibility level. You’ll know right away if the organization is in it for the animal. And if you’re not sure, consult a pet professional or experienced rescuer for sound advice.
If a rescue organization requires strict background checks, welcome the scrutiny. You’ll know they have the best interest of the animal if they take time to ask you for personal references. Look for organizations that conduct home checks and thorough lifestyle interviews.
Rescuing a pet is more than a huge decision. It’s for their lifetime.
A new pet is a forever decision, not a fleeting moment. With fur kids, you’re responsible for every single decision of their life—from the time your eyes meet behind cage bars, to the time you’re cradling them in your arms and they’re taking their last breath.
You’re their whole world. You owe it to your new pet to be theirs.
Pet Purchase & Purebred
You may have your heart set on a certain breed. If you choose a reputable breeder for your new puppy, be mindful of your puppy’s health and their parent bloodline. Research the ideal time to separate a puppy from his mother and littermates, and become familiar with the various stages of a dog’s life.
DID YOU KNOW?
If you’re looking for a particular kind of pet, remember that there are many accommodating purebred rescue organizations to choose from.
Remember, not all pets are a good fit. Period.
Save the heartbreak. If you’re not ready to be a pet caregiver, please reconsider your decision until either your commitment level, lifestyle, and/or environment changes to a life with a pet. Better to know now than to make unfortunate adjustments later. Getting a new pet when you’re not ready will make NOBODY happy. You and your new pet deserve more.
Sometimes a human family and a dog just don’t connect well with one another. It happens.
A Chihuahua is much different than a Great Dane. Not all breeds are consistent within the breed either. Every pet is unique—even within the same breed. But, researching common denominators before you make the leap of adding a new addition to your family is critical.
“Dogs.They come into our lives to teach us something. Your pet picks you, not the other way around.” — Unknown
Regular Medical Health Check Ups Are A Must
Medical health exams are critical throughout the entire life of your pet, particularly during the initial stages of bringing your new pet into your home. Keep up with check-ups and consult a trusted Veterinarian for the best care for your new fur family member. Plan out your costs to care for your pet’s vaccinations ahead of time.
Pet essentials, pet health insurance, quality pet food, pet products, and pet extras all cost money. Providing a safe environment for your dog to roam and romp is vital for mental stimulation and physical activity. Playing fetch or walking your dog all require your time.
Other considerations include grooming, Doggy Day Camp, and boarding with stay and play options. In addition, many reputable pet care organizations conduct careful assessments for size and temperament. Most will provide one to one care for pets that need individual attention and don’t fair well in a group setting.
Consider Existing Household Pets
Slow and steady is the key. If you have specific questions, consult a pet professional first.
Dogs And Dogs
Pets that have been at your home longest usually will try to establish their territory. Think like a dog. It’s all about dominance and pecking order, so introductions need to be slow and intentional.
Two dogs can definitely be company, but make sure you are deliberate in your approach. Introduce a new pet on neutral turf first and conduct walk-bys.
DID YOU KNOW?
Dogs want to please us. We need to show them how.
Book a tour of the facility. Schedule an interview for your pet to see if daycare is a good option for your family.
Dog professionals will look at your dog’s size and temperament to determine the best Doggy Day Camp options. Most established pet care facilities practice strict safety measures and will require pet vaccines. As a bonus, many also provide attractive offers to new guests.
for advanced tips to learn how to add a new member to your existing fur family and unique situation. Make sure you make a concentrated effort to put a training plan in place for your dog.
Cats And Dogs
If a dog and cat didn’t grow up together, it can be challenging to meld the two lives. They’re different species, with different needs. Ask your pet expert professional for additional consultation.
Provide an exercise outlet for your pet. Take time for playtime. Make time to rest. There are innovative ways to keep your pet occupied and entertained when you’re at home too.
3. Be Deliberate.
Go slow and steady with introductions with your family.
When coming home from the hospital, greet the family pet first. Kids are unpredictable. So are dogs. If you have a new baby home, allow your new pet to sniff items of your baby (like a bib or cap) before you enter the house. Your sense of smell is intense and a dog’s nose tells a whole story about how they see the world.
NEVER leave a baby unattended. Even the gentlest, tamest dog can be provoked by sudden movements like a child reaching over its head or grabbing its tail or ears. Unprovoked and unpredictable bites happen when people aren’t paying attention to BOTH the child and the pet. Pet owners are held accountable for undesirable and dangerous actions.
Consult a professional Dog Trainer or Dog Behaviorist to get ready for your pet’s (or baby’s) big arrival.
Share pet responsibility with the family. Allow each member of the family to share in the responsibility of feeding, walking, and playtime. Those proactive actions will strengthen your bond and promote desired behavior and good habits. Hand feed kibble every once in a while will earn your pet’s trust. But remember to allow your dog to be their own dog from time to time.
Introduction Tips Can Make New Pet Additions A Breeze
- Feed your pet well. The most expensive brand of food is not necessarily the best for your unique pet. Consult your Veterinarian for optimal feeding and seek out a pet expert near you for additional food facts, safe treats, and feeding times.
- Be prepared to invest a great deal of time in order to keep your new best friend healthy and happy. Provide plenty of exercise and activity for your pet.
- Be aware of your pet’s ‘groom and zooms.’
- Seek out fun obstacle courses, brain exercises, and simple games that keep your pet mentally stimulated.
- Encourage fun and pet extras with long-lasting toys and quality chew products.
- Consider pet hotels and Camp options to enhance your pet’s life.
- Bake healthy goodies for your pet!
- Add variety to your dog’s life, especially when you find yourself at home.
- Know why love is important. LOVE your pet. It’s good for all of us.
“Love depends on how we view others…The characteristics of a loving person are patience, kindness, truthfulness, and trustworthiness.” — Danise DiStasi, Author
- Know why love is important. Be there at the beginning of their life. Be there until the end of their life. When the time comes, help your pet cross over that ‘rainbow bridge.’ Recognize how and when to let go.
Final New Pet Addition Thoughts
Just because the dog in the window is cute, doesn’t mean that they’re right for your family.
Take the time to make a careful decision for their forever home. Love is not enough. Commitment is a lifetime and not a fleeting moment. Keep your new pet happy and comfortable during their entire life. No shortcuts, do it well.
We’ll be here to assist you throughout your pet’s entire life journey.
About The Author:
Christine A. Bournias resides in Michigan with her 2-pack; two new beautiful adopted miracles. As her “Angelwriter”, Nicodemus (1997-2010) is the wisdom behind the stories she shares. Christine champions the magnitude of building the bond between a dog and their person(s) by means of respectful communication and enduring admiration.