Is 2019 the year you’ve decided to adopt a new best friend? There’s nothing better than adding a furry member to the family. But with all the joys of being a new pet parent, comes a lot of responsibility. Are you prepared? Here are just a few things tips to making sure the transition is a successful one…for you and your pet:
- First Step: Tags and Microchipping
Make sure to get your dog licensed in your town, as most towns require it by law. Also, consider getting your new pet microchipped, if they’re not already, it’s a small, but worthy investment. Some shelters may even provide microchipping at a discount, so check with your local shelters. These precautionary steps are especially important to do right away and while your dog is still getting acclimated to their new home. If they get away from you, they might not be able to find their way home, since they haven’t had a chance to settle in and get used to their surroundings.
- Adusting to new surroundings
Your dog will need some time to adjust to his/her new surroundings. They’ll be nervous, unsure about all the new people they meet. Rescue dogs are especially uneasy during the transition period. Chances are, they’ve spent a lot of time alone or have moved around to many places that they thought would be their ‘home.’ So, they may seem unsure, untrusting and not interested in forming a bond right away. They’re really just wondering “will this finally be my furever home.” Once your new pet realizes they are safe and this is where they’re going to stay, they’ll begin to adjust and be more comfortable right where they are. If you’ve already got a pet at home, introducing a new one to the family can be stressful. Dogs are territorial and you don’t want their first meeting to be a bad one, so it’s important that you take time and introduce your pets slowly. Pet MD provides some great tips for introducing an unfamiliar dog to other dogs in your home. Check out their article here “Introducing Two Dogs to Each Other in 4 Easy Steps”
- Work out the Budget
Studies show that 1 in 10 animals that get adopted, end up being surrenderd back to a shelter because their new owners were not prepared for the costs associated with pet care. In addition to the every day care of supplies, food and regular check-ups, unexpected injuries or illnesses could (and probably will) arise, especially as your pet ages. Consider a good pet health insurance policy. Up until a few years ago, you had very few options for pet insurance, but now there are a lot of companies that offer many different types of coverage. Be sure to do your homework; what a plan covers and the cost of each, varies greatly. Some plans only cover routine visits and vaccinations, while others offer surgeries, medications, etc. You should choose a plan based on your dogs history and age. If you’re unsure which plan is best for your pet, consult with your vet.
Here is what the ASPCA estimates for the average yearly cost of pet ownership.
- Food costs for a large dog will likely require an average yearly food allowance of $225.
- Recurring medical expenses such as yearly exams and vaccinations range in price from $210 to $265 for dogs.
- Pet insurance coverage varies, but some policies will cover spay/neuter surgeries, vaccinations, and heartworm medication. Rates for dogs average $225.
- Cat and dog parents can expect to spend $25 to $75 per year on their furry friends’ goodies.
- Settling in
Dogs need consistency, so plan before you even bring your dog home. Will your dog sleep in a crate? If so, have it set up with blankets, etc, in the room they’ll be sleeping in and start them there the first night they’re home. Have their feeding bowls ready, in a designated place in the house, so they know this is their spot. Decide on a feeding time and stick to it. Have their toys at the ready, so your dog has plenty of things to keep them busy and out of trouble. Get into a habit of regular walks. Initially, keep walks short and follow the same route until your dog gets comfortable with their neighborhood. Is your house doggy proofed? Is your fenced in yard secure, do the doors shut completely and do the locks work? Check and repair any holes, even small ones that may seem too small for a dog to fit through… you’re better safe than sorry. It’s a good idea to introduce your new pet to your neighbors and friends so they get used to seeing him or her around the neighborhood. But when you do this, make sure to keep them on a short leash and away from small children, at first, until you get to know his or her personality better.
Most of all, remember to show your new family member patience and love. This is a stressful time for them, too. Chances are, they’ve already been through a lot in life and it may take them longer to adjust than you expect. But once your pup settles in and the cuddles start, you’ll soon realize it was all worth the effort.