Pine Creek Animal Hospital would like to give you some essential tips to help new pet owners. And if you don’t have a new pet, you can still review these tips for your furry family member to help them be even more comfortable and happy in their home.
1. Acquire Necessary Supplies
When you bring your new pet home, it is essential to equip yourself with the necessary supplies that they need. Depending on your pet, this may include items like:
food bowl and water bowl
kennel or enclosure (if needed)
Get your supplies in advance so when your pet arrives, they immediately feel comfortable in their new environment.
2. Create a Safe Environment
Ensuring your pet has a safe, comfortable, and enjoyable environment is essential for their well-being. Provide them with the right type of housing and enough space to roam.
For example, if you get a dog, you should create a secure area they can play in – fencing off your property from nearby roads or paths and sources of potential danger.
Keep cats indoors or in protected outdoor enclosures. Roaming cats can be hit by cars, get diseases from other roaming cats, and be attacked by roaming dogs and in some areas, coyotes.
Coyote sightings are becoming more common. Cats do not survive coyote attacks, while smaller dogs may not fare much better. Larger dogs may fend off a coyote attack, but often have wounds that require medical care. To prevent negative encounters, reduce the availability of food sources by keeping your pets and their food indoors, cleaning outdoor grills, and securing garbage containers. In the parks, keep pets on a leash and report lost pups and injured coyotes to park staff. At home, keep pets and their food inside.
3. Protect Your Pet from Poisonous Foods, Plants, and Products
Part of having a safe environment is ensuring your new pet is not exposed to any poisonous substances or toxic food. Just as a parent would child-proof their home to safeguard their children, pet parents need to pet-proof their homes. Pet-proofing starts with knowing which foods and substances around the home are dangerous to pets. You can get a list of poisonous substances from our blog: PET POISONING: SIGNS AND WHAT TO DO.
4. Provide Your Pet with an Appropriate Diet
Before you bring home your new pet, consult the breeder or rescue center regarding the type of food they have previously been eating so you can match their diet as closely as possible. If you want to change their diet, please do so gradually. Otherwise, your pet can become sick with too rapid of a change.
Below is a chart you can use as a guideline to change their diet slowly.
We can provide guidance regarding your pet’s nutritional needs for each life stage, including dietary requirements for growth, weight maintenance and performance. We carry several brands of prescription diets to treat an array of chronic conditions. These foods can replace the daily use of medications in many situations.
5. Introduce New Pets to Resident Pets Slowly
If you already have pets in your home, introduce your new pet to your resident pets slowly. Pets can react differently to humans than they react to other pets. Some pets get along well in little time, while others can take time to warm up to each other.
Play it safe and keep new pets from resident pets until they get used to each other’s smells and presence, like sniffing each other from under a door or through a kennel or cage. Then introduce them slowly and ensure each pet can retreat safely in case either one becomes afraid or aggressive. And please be patient! Pushing introductions too quickly with any pet can result in an unharmonious household.
6. Get Your Pet Microchipped and a Collar ID
Losing a pet is a heart-wrenching experience no one wants to suffer through. Even when you take every precaution you can think of, accidents can happen. A door is not shut correctly, the wind blows it open, and your kitten runs out. You think your dog is safe in their yard, but a serviceman leaves the gate open.
We offer microchip implantation which allows permanent identification and permits you to obtain a lifetime license from Pennsylvania for your pet.
If your pet already has a microchip and ID collar, ensure the microchip registration is up to date and in your name, and update the ID with your information.
7. Get Your Pet Spayed or Neutered
There are many benefits to getting your pet spayed or neutered. The most obvious one is that it helps to lower the overpopulation of pets, resulting in thousands of animals being euthanized yearly.
There are also medical benefits to getting your pet spayed or neutered. Spaying helps prevent malignant or cancerous uterine infections and breast tumors in about 50 percent of dogs and 90 percent of cats. Neutering your male companion helps prevent testicular cancer and some prostate problems. Your pet gets the best protection if you have it done before their first heat.
8. Schedule Your Pet’s First Wellness Check with Pine Creek Animal Hospital
Many pet owners assume their pet is healthy if they get the shots and vaccines necessary every year. However, the reality is that pets can be sick for months without showing physical signs of illness. During your pet’s wellness checks, we will examine your pet’s body and look for signs of disease or anything unusual. These checkups are recommended at least once a year as well as yearly wellness and bloodwork. This is an easy way to take preventative measures for your pet’s health to ensure your pet is maintaining optimal health and ultimately happiness.
9. Ensure Your Pet is Up to Date on Their Vaccinations
There are a variety of recommended vaccines that keep your pet healthy and fend off the possibility of disease. By keeping up with needed vaccines, you prevent many diseases that are harmful to pets of all ages. Allow us to help you determine a vaccine schedule that is specifically tailored for your pet.
Note: When adopting a new pet, ensure you get a copy of their vaccination records. It is important, especially for puppies and kittens, to keep them on their vaccine schedule.
10. Give Them Plenty of Exercise
Pets who don’t get enough exercise get bored, and boredom often leads to mischief. Additionally, lack of exercise sets the stage for weight gain, leading to other health problems. So, you want to start on the right foot and exercise your pet.
A healthy dog should be taken out for a walk for at least 20-30 minutes a day – more if they can tolerate longer walks.
Cats naturally want to jump, climb, and scratch. If your cat is indoor only, provide them with one or more cat trees to climb and scratching posts. Wand toys or laser lights are great toys to stimulate cats and get them moving. We recommend you play with your cat 30-60 minutes a day. This time can be broken up into segments such as 15-20 minutes three times a day.
There is a lot to know about bringing home a new pet – no matter how well you prepare, challenges can arise with a new pet you didn’t expect. But we are here to help you keep your pet happy and healthy. We can provide advice regarding the correction of problems such as excessive barking, chewing, spraying, scratching, digging, house soiling, and aggression. Often, a home visit by a behavioral specialist can result in stunning improvements in a pet’s behavior.
Please contact us if you have any questions about your new pet and how to keep it healthy.
Dr. Tuma and Your Friends at