adopted petPet parenting is a serious commitment; it’s so easy to get swept up in the excitement of adopting a new pet. You’re there at the shelter, looking at this cute ball of fluffiness, and somehow it’s all roses and rainbows. But, what if you get your newly adopted pet home and the rainbows turn to clouds?

Before you hustle your new friend back to the shelter, it’s ok to stop and think about why you wanted in a pet in the first place. Take stock and give us a call! Your friends at Leon Valley Veterinary Hospital have some ideas for what to do if you’re afraid you don’t like your newly adopted pet.

Give It time

Remember that your new pet has just come from a shelter, where there were many other animals and a plethora of unfamiliar people, smells, and noises 24/7. Give them some time to get adjusted to their new surroundings. Experts agree that it takes about 3 weeks for a new pet to settle in, relax in their new home, and show their true personality.

So, if you are within that 3 week window, stop and breathe. Chances are things will turn out. Let’s talk about how to give your newly adopted pet a secure, safe home to adjust to.

Provide a Safe Place

To help your new pet transition and relax into their new home and a new relationship with you, start with their “safe place”. Animals are creatures of habit, and dogs and cats alike will appreciate knowing where their safe place is. Whether this is a bed, a carrier, a crate, or a towel on their cat tree, make sure they know where they can safely and comfortably rest. This will go a long way to helping them adjust.

Make sure cats know where their litter box is, and help your new dog learn to go outside by taking them out before they need to go. Provide your new dog with safe toys to chew that they can identify as their own (rather than your shoes!). Cats also need to know where it’s okay for them to scratch, and they will greatly benefit from environmental enrichment.

Form a Bond with Your Adopted Pet

Forming a bond with your new pet takes time. They have their own personality, and as it begins to shine, you’ll do best to observe and get to know them on their own terms. Doing things together, such as playtime, training sessions, grooming, or daily walks will go a long way toward forming a bond between you. Do something you both enjoy together, and you’ll see that bond grow quickly!

Seek Training

If you notice any behavior issues start to emerge, it’s a great idea to talk to us right away. We can help you with minor issues and/or recommend a trainer or behavior specialist. All dogs benefit from basic obedience training, and aside from the advantages of having a well-behaved dog, obedience classes are really fun for dogs and their owners!

Visit Your Vet

We are so excited to meet your new friend, and bringing your newly adopted pet in to see us is a great way to make sure your relationship gets off to a good start. Even if your new pet has had all their medical needs met by the shelter, we can give you breed specific tips, show you how to interact with your pet, and tailor a great nutrition and exercise plan that will help you both stay healthy and happy. With many pets, exercise = happiness (and good behavior)!

We hope we’ve given you some peace of mind and a few ideas for how to adjust to your new pet. It’s a big commitment, but with time, patience, and a plan, you and your adopted pet can become a match made in heaven.