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What to Expect After Bringing Home a New Shelter Pet

Bringing home a new pet is an exciting, and occasionally overwhelming, time for the entire family, including the pet. You’ve likely picked out all their necessary supplies, with a collar for each day of the week, a bed softer than yours, and a diet healthier than any that has graced your table. But, have you considered how much your new furry pal will need to adjust during the first few months? This is often the most stressful time for a new pet and the family, especially for an older pet who has been bounced from home to home or spent a long period in an animal shelter. To help ease your furry new addition into your family, our team at Valley Veterinary Hospital wants new pet owners to follow these three rules of three. 

The first three days with a new pet

In the first three days with your new rescue pet, she may be unwilling to interact much with your family, reluctant to eat, and uninterested in walks or playtime, and may spend much of her time in her crate, or another safe place. Your new pet is likely uneasy, because she has been uprooted yet again, and will need time to settle in, and learn your voices, scents, and routine, without being pushed. 

The first three weeks with a new pet

After three weeks, your new pet should begin to realize this is her forever home, and to show her true personality. She has likely learned the routine, such as when to expect dinner, but may still be having training issues, and may need a refresher house-training course. Teach her as you would a new puppy or kitten, rather than an adult, with patience, and using positive reinforcement to reward her appropriate behavior. Gently teach your new dog where to eliminate outdoors, or confine your older cat with her food, water, bed, and litter box, to retrain her to use a box. 

The first three months with a new pet

When the three-month period rolls around, your new pet should be settled in, and understand the household schedule and rules. They may still have some training or behavior issues, but lifelong training is an excellent way to develop a deep relationship with your pet. At this point, you’ve picked up on your pet’s little quirks that make her unique, special, and your new best friend.

If you have welcomed a new shelter or rescue pet, contact us to schedule a wellness exam with us, to ensure your new friend is in tip-top shape.