Pet Adoption: 9 Tips To Safely Settle Your New Pet Into Your Home Faster
According to Wikipedia, Pet Adoption is the process of taking responsibility for a pet that a previous owner has abandoned, or released to a shelter or rescue organization. Common sources for adoptable pets are animal shelters and rescue groups.
Today, I will be sharing with you some tips that are helpful and proven to work in helping your pet adjust in their new home.
This post covers:
- A brief introduction to pet adoption, it's importance and some popular shelter and rescue homes around you.
- The effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on the rate of pet adoption.
- Tips to help your adopted pet adjust in their new home.
So, if you're a pet owner, or looking to own a pet someday, you will find this post helpful because it includes tips to make your new pet more comfortable in their new home.
Pets are abandoned for varying reasons. Either because of the death of the pet owner, allergies, divorce, superstitious beliefs, pet becoming violent, relocation to a place where the pet owner is unwilling or unable to take care of a pet, or the birth of a baby.
Many pet owners deal with their unwanted pets in different ways, either they euthanize them or abandon them to roam about with hopes that they would take care of themselves or be found by a shelter.
However, a more responsible way is to take the pet to a shelter or rescue group where it will stay until adoption. Another way to deal with this is rehoming - that is, finding another home for the pet yourself.
Pet adoption is encouraged among pet owners because it helps reduce the pet population in shelters thereby reducing the amount of euthanized pets in a year.
The effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on the rate of Pet adoption
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, lockdown was enforced and people were made to stay at home. This was a good opportunity for most people to spend quality time with their loved ones including their furry friends. During a pandemic, people can be stressed and fearful for their lives and the lives of those they love. The need for a companion to spend time with and help them relieve this stress became imminent.
Research has shown that where there is a bond between human and animal, the presence of a non-human companion — especially a dog — decreases psychological arousal and stress, and creates physiological changes that make us feel better!
Did you know that in the early stages of COVID-19, large numbers of pets were abandoned in Wuhan, China. For the fear of such occurrence repeating itself in local areas, many animal rescue organizations set out to empty their shelters.
On a positive note, worldwide, there was an unprecedented upsurge in adoptions and fostering. In fact, according to packaged facts, COVID-19 triggered a surge in pet adoption that should bolster pet food sales for years to come: 10% of current pet owners acquired a pet in the initial 3-month phase of the pandemic which, as we know, if helpful for our own health and wellbeing!
According to Pawswap, Vancouver dog adoption has also seen a huge spike. In fact, since March, About A Dog Rescue Society has seen adoption applications triple for each of their dogs, and a large increase in applications for fostering.
Mike Edwards, President and Co-Founder of the Vancouver-based rescue society, believes a major factor in the increase of adoptions is people having more time to think about what really matters.
"As people are spending so much time together as a family or in self-isolation, it's given them time, and the perspective, to see the benefits a dog, or any pet, can add to your life," explains Edwards.
Although many people did this for the animals, they, perhaps unwittingly, set themselves up for better mental health during the pandemic. Aside from the stress-mitigating impacts of pets mentioned above, having a pet may be a powerful influencer in maintaining health-protective behaviours, such as eating well or going out for a walk.
However, while pet adoption was on the increase, there still remained the issue of getting these pets to adjust in their new homes faster.
Tips to help your adopted pet adjust in their new home
When you buy or bring your new pet home, you’re excited. You want to play with it, take it for a walk, be with it always and want it to be actively running around. However, sometimes you get disappointed with the cold treatment you get from them. Does this sound familiar?
Whether you’re a seasoned pet parent or adopting for the first time, there’s certainly a lot to think about. In addition to making sure you’ve stocked up on necessary gear, it’s important to think about ways to help your pet adjust to their new surroundings.
Like humans, moving to a new home or environment induces anxiety in pets and this can be overwhelming on them. Thankfully, there are a number of tips that work for me anytime I bring a new pet home. Every pet is different and adjustment times will vary, but there are things you can do to make the transition into their new home easier, benefiting both your new pet and your family.
9 Tips for Safely Adjusting your pet to their new home:
Set up Your Pet’s Space: Be prepared before your pet arrives so their “welcome home” is comfortable :)
a. Crates are a SAVIOR! Get a crate large enough for your pet to turn around in. If they have too much space, they will use it as a bathroom (yikes!). Be mindful if they will grow rapidly and, in this case, you can check for second-hand crates.
Put a pad, or a blanket inside, and one of your old pieces of clothing, which will be helpful in the future for soothing.
Crate training is especially helpful if you work long hours away from home. Although, if you are working from home, crate training may be helpful to teach sleeping hours if you don’t like to be woken by wet kisses!!
b. Feeding dishes should be a material you can safely put in the dishwasher. In our house, we use porcelain plates and wash them after every feeding. Stainless steel or glass water bowls are recommended, wash them weekly.
c. Toys depend on the age, breed, strength, and agility of your new pet. If they’re a puppy, they will chew! Make sure you have some teething toys. I always like to have at least one toy for each exercise; tug, toss, and chew.
Be with them.
a. Potty Training: If you are in charge of house-training, the most helpful tip I’ve ever gotten was to watch them VERY closely. If they go sniffing off or suddenly disappear, FIND THEM AND TAKE THEM OUTSIDE! Seriously, do this for a month and you’ll have a potty-trained pup.
b. Companionship is beautiful, but it doesn’t work in the eyes of a dog if you aren’t there for interaction. Sure, they’ll love you but they will get bored and probably act out. Find things you can enjoy doing together :)
Introduce your Pet to the house slowly.
a. Exploring their new area is important but make sure you are present.
b. Blocking off certain areas of the house, like bedrooms, you don’t want pets to get into or have an accident in because it will, probably, happen eventually. Setting boundaries is important. My husband didn’t want Jessie to be in our bedroom (she’s got her own) so I was consistent in telling her to “stay” outside the door, shuffling to block her if she tried to get past or closing the door (even if it was only for a moment). If this is hard to convey to your pet, try giving a treat after they “stay” and practice, practice, practice!
- Get plenty of exercise:
Fitness is incredibly important to raise a healthy pet. Walks, runs, and bike rides are always good but Jessie also likes to come kayaking with us. Like I said before, find things you enjoy doing together!
Spread Your Scent: Clothing has your unique scent, even if you can’t tell your new pet sure can! Place old clothing near the pet so they can feel comfortable when you leave for a long period of time or if they are out of reach, like a road trip or sleeping in the crate.
Keep Their Schedule.
a. Play Time is everything! Pets know when they need to play. Listen to your pet by watching their behaviour throughout the day. When do they have the most energy and need to play? Our Jessie needs play throughout the day but especially after breakfast! Choose one of these playtimes to learn new tricks to stimulate their mind, you can integrate the toy or treats as incentive.
b. Food is a driving force as well. You will learn your pet knows when it’s time to eat before you do, LOL! Keep as on schedule with feeding times as possible, we serve at 5:30am and 5:30pm with a few treats between but find something that works for you. And don’t be afraid to tell your pet to wait if they’re beggin’ before it’s time to eat!
c. Sleep is just as important for pets as it is for us. Get them to bed at a time that is best for them- it’s not always the same as yours!
- Keeping Them Safe.
a. Look out for anything that can harm them. Exploring the outdoors is a great past-time but keep an eye on your pet, especially in a new area, as they may sniff something out that may be dangerous and you want to prevent that. One of the most useful commands I’ve taught Jessie is “leave it”. We practiced on treats and toys as we walked through on a lead; try the command first, if no response then the command with a gentle tug. Your dog will learn to listen if you are consistent and this is a good way of training the command without introducing unnecessary dangers.
b. Lids on garbage bins! I’m as serious as satellite radio.
- Be Prepared
a. Find a Veterinarian in your area that you are comfortable with. Make sure they’re up to date with vaccinations, especially if you are going to socialize your pup. Vets are good for emergencies and usually good for guidance as well but, if you have any questions about diet and nutrition, I’d also be happy to help you as a certified Pet Nutrition Coach from the NAVC.
b. Training classes are great, really. There’s a few tips I shared here but if you can find a virtual trainer or an online class that would be best. Jessie and I graduated two classes at PetSmart and everyone that comes over says she’s the BEST behaved dog they’ve ever seen. Alas, I can only take credit for consistency, every pup’s personality is different!
c. Mentally and physically: having a pet is not easy. It can be a ton of fun but they can demand a lot from you and it is another responsibility so, please make time for your new fur baby, and remember to stay calm.
- Be Patient As They Adjust: They just want to love you! <3