Adopting a pet does more than saving an animal’s life— it’s also good for your health! Pets can actually help you reduce your cholesterol and triglyceride levels, lower your blood pressure, and even prevent depression and anxiety. People with pets often have more opportunities for exercise– especially when adopting a dog that needs to be walked often. But all health benefits aside, they are just so cute to look at!
If you’re considering adopting a pet for the first time, you may be tempted to go for a brand-spanking’ new puppy or kitten. However, adopting an older pet has many benefits. With an older pet, what you see is what you get. Their personalities are already established so you can find one that perfectly suits you. Older pets don’t need to be trained as much and don’t destroy things the way puppies and kittens do. Finally, older pets at shelters are often disregarded, so you would be saving a life in need.
While adopting an older pet is considerably easier than taking in a puppy or kitten, you will still need to prepare yourself and your home before you bring your new companion animal home.
Be Prepared for an Adjustment Period
When an animal goes from one strange environment (a shelter, foster home, or pet shop) to another strange environment (your home), they get stressed. The change in scenery and smells can overwhelm both cats and dogs, making them act withdrawn or nervous. When you bring home a pet, there is going to be an adjustment period while they become comfortable with their new home and owner. This period can last a few weeks.
Some things you can expect. Just about every person who has ever adopted a cat has a moment where they think they lost it or it ran away. After tearing the house apart, the new cat parent usually finds kitty in a new hiding spot. Dogs, on the other hand, often have accidents in the house during the adjustment period due to stress.
However, your dog or cat’s adjustment period may be completely unique without these complications. The important thing is to practice patience with your new pet and observe them for any health problems right off the bat.
Find Your Veterinarian
Before you even go to the shelter, it’s a good idea to find a veterinarian close by. Ask friends and family with pets who they use in the area. After vetting your favorite one, fill them in on the kind of pet you choose to adopt and where you are getting them from. Some vets do great with shelter dogs and cats while others are more wary of handling pets that may be recovering from trauma. Finding the right veterinarian for your dog or cat is as important as finding the right general practitioner for yourself.
Stock Up on the Essentials
While you’re going through the adjustment period with your new pet, you won’t have time to run out and pick up all the necessities, so it’s a good idea to get that step done before they come home. Stock up on food and treats for training. Prepare adequate bedding and toys. Buy appropriately sized food and water bowls. Pick out a collar and print a tag with your contact information on it in case the pet gets lost. Definitely pick up a few lint rollers. Other necessities are particular to cats versus dogs. For instance, a cat needs a litter box, scoop, litter, and scratching posts. Dogs, on the other hand, will need pet waste bags, a leash, and grooming products cats may not need.
Adopting a pet is incredibly rewarding, but it has its ups and downs. By properly preparing yourself and your home beforehand, your experience can mostly up. Your pet will likely need a few weeks to adjust to their new home. Pick a veterinarian before you adopt and stock up on all the essentials for your particular pet. Completing these three things will help your first-time pet adopting experience go as smooth as possible.