Pet stores are a wonderful place to buy toys and leashes and crates, but like any retail business they rely on the impulse shopper. According to Barbara Cartwright, Executive Director of the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS), getting a pet should never be an unplanned decision.
“When considering getting a pet, most people are attracted to the idea of nurturing a newborn,” says Cartwright. She maintains that the idea of having a dog from the puppy stage and watching them grow can be very attractive to most prospective dog owners. But alongside all the cuddly fun comes a long and wide-ranging list of responsibilities. From weaning to house-breaking, to training and disciplining, bringing home a new pup or even a kitten is the start of lifelong journey. And while there will certainly be many fun experiences, it’s a process that can also have its challenges at times!
When you brought the pup home, you may not have known that even at 10-months old, puppies are still very malleable, and the attraction of connecting with it and ‘making it your own’ will still be there the first time you get that nuzzle or even that slobbery kiss up the side of your cheek. The CFHS recommends adopting a ‘toddler’ from a local humane society, rescue group or even a shelter. In the case of a puppy, this way, you’re not only helping to put puppy-mills out of business, you’re also ensuring that little guy will arrive better-trained, usually housebroken, and in a better state to blend right into your family without many of the huge challenges that bringing home a ‘newborn’ can create.
Dogs in particular are pack animals, so when you bring home a rescue they’re generally terrified and will want to cling to your side even more. Kittens are also typically far more curious and friendly than a mature cat may become later in life. This makes for a wonderful and attractive bonding experience, because it allows you to start developing a lifelong friendship full of mutual trust and adoration.
Any Canadian Humane Society will go through a process of matching you to the perfect pet. Your new addition to the family will already be spayed or neutered, as well as vaccinated. You’ll be saving an innocent life and even better - not supporting unethical breeders or puppy mills.
BRINGING THEM HOME
When you finally do choose your new pet (and he or she picks you back), it’s important to make sure you’re well prepared at home.
“Begin by making sure you’re not drastically changing any diet your new pet has been on at the shelter” says Dr. Chip Coombs, Chief Veterinary Officer at Pets Plus Us. “Ask about the type of diet they’ve been on, how much of it and how often he’s been eating.” The last thing you want is for them to develop digestive sensitivities and get sick the first few days they’re in their new home.
Dr. Chip also suggests never leaving a new puppy or kitten alone the first couple of days they’re with you. “You’re dealing with the equivalent of a newborn baby. In those first few weeks a different level of attention is required than if your new pet is still young, but already well-established in your home” he says.
When a puppy or kitten enters your home they are literally assaulted with new smells, people and environments. Most pet adoption agencies suggest you begin by trying to replicate your new dog or cat’s typical day at the shelter. Have comforting toys and blankets waiting for them when they arrive, take a puppy on walks, play games with your kitten and allow for naps according to the schedule they’re already accustomed to. You can help ensure a smoother transition by slowly moving your new pet onto your household schedule, rather than expecting them to adapt all at once.
Whether it’s a dog or cat, new puppy or kitten, adopting a rescue can seem like a daunting task, but like any adoptive parent will tell you, it’s one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll ever have.
Remember to consider protection for your pet with pet health insurance from Pets Plus Us.