How Do I Care for a New Dog or Cat?

Posted by on Monday, May 2nd, 2016 in General

The Rewards and Responsibilities Of Pet Ownership

If you are thinking of becoming a new pet parent, there are many rewards and responsibilities that will come along with this new commitment. Always be sure to think long term of the dog or cat’s life span. Once you make the decision to be a pet parent you are that animal’s everything for the duration of their life. The caretaking of a new dog or cat is the period in which you will establish your bond with your new pet.

Start With the Veterinarian

A dog can be a wonderful additional member to any home. Make your dog an appointment with a veterinarian for an exam. The veterinarian can help you make a plan for your dog, whether to spay or neuter, which vaccines to get, how much exercise your dog will need and what type of food to use. If your new dog is a puppy you will need to be prepared and patient for the task of housetraining, crate training during this period is very effective. If you are adopting an older dog it still may take a little time during the period of adjustment to their new home. Be patient and be consistent in your housetraining method. Remember that they may be just as nervous as you are in trying to understand exactly what their owner expects of them, so consistency is key. You may find with some breeds, that the more exercise they get the better behaved and easier to train they will be. So be sure they can get some fresh air outdoors to run around, whether you take them for walks or leave them a doggie door to come in and out of a fenced in yard.

If you choose a cat as your new member of the home, you will also need to make them a veterinarian appointment to discuss the same topics as listed above for dogs. In addition you will need to be mindful that cats need to scratch and provide them with an appropriate outlet such as a scratching post. Keeping their nails trimmed can help keep them blunt. Provide your cat with interactive cat toys to keep them stimulated. It is relatively easy to train a cat to use a litter box. Be sure to put the litter box in an accessible location and be sure to clean it every day.

Collars and ID Tags Are Essential

Whether you choose a dog or a cat, they need to have a collar with an ID tag to help ensure that they are returned to you if they become lost. Additionally, you will need to be mindful not to leave medications or poisons where accessible to them. If they ingest anything poisonous call your veterinarian or animal poison control. Also be sure to check your pet for fleas or ticks especially in the warm months and choose an appropriate pest control method with your veterinarian. Finally an important scenario to consider is whether you already have other pets in the home and how to introduce new pets to each other. It may take some time for new animals to get used to each other. They may feel threatened or need to establish space boundaries. Be sure you keep an eye out for any aggressive behavior and separate the animals when necessary for their own safety.

The right dog or cat can provide you with years of joy and companionship.

For additional resources about proper pet care, please visit the ASPCA website.  


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