It’s a heartbreaking fact, but there are literally millions of homeless pets living in shelters around the country. April 30th is Adopt a Shelter Pet Day, so now is a good time to think about bringing a new pet home or donating to a local shelter. If you want to help a shelter pet find their fur-ever home, here are some adoption tips to get you started. 

1: Make introductions carefully.

When you’re introducing a new pet to your family, take it slow. Predicting how other pets or children will react to a new pet is impossible. To avoid accidents and injuries, it’s best to quarantine your new pet in a separate room at first and to monitor their interactions with other members of your household. Let dogs meet for the first time in a neutral place, like a park, and keep them both on leash at all times. Give cats a safe place where they can retreat if they need to, and make sure each cat has their own litter box and food dishes.

2: Make sure you have all the supplies you need.

Pets need a lot of supplies! Before you bring your new pet home, you’ll want to have everything ready for them. Go shopping for pet food, treats, dishes, brushes, collars, carriers, leashes, harnesses, litter boxes, poop bags, beds, toys, etc. If you forget something, you can always order a delivery from your local pet supply store. But welcoming your new pet will go much more smoothly if you have everything set up ahead of time.

3: Don’t neglect the older pets. 

Puppies and kittens have a much higher chance of getting adopted, because they’re so darn cute. But even though it’s hard to resist an adorable puppy or playful kitten, take some time to meet the adult pets, too. The longer they stay in a shelter, the less likely it is for pets to get adopted. And oftentimes, older pets have been abandoned or surrendered by their former owners. It’s not their fault they’re homeless, and they deserve a chance at finding a family just as much as the puppies and kittens do.

4: Take some time off. 

If you do decide to adopt a kitten or a puppy, be prepared to spend some extra time at home with them. They’re still babies, and they’ll need lots of cuddles and attention so they can grow up into healthy, well-adjusted adults. In fact, any new pet can benefit from some extra one-on-one time. Moving to a new environment and meeting new people can be very stressful. It’s important to be there for your new pet to offer love and reassurance while they adapt to their new home.

5: Teach your kids about pet care.

If you’re planning on adopting your child’s first pet, teach them the basics of pet care first. It’s important to make sure they are willing to take on the responsibility of caring for a pet. They need to understand that having a pet is not just about cuddles and treats. It’s also about picking up poop, sticking to a consistent exercise and feeding schedule, and not getting upset if a pet needs some alone time or doesn’t behave the way your child expects. Taking care of a pet has many benefits for kids, just make sure that your child is ready before you adopt.

Always schedule a veterinary checkup for new pets.

While shelter pets do receive veterinary care, making an appointment for a checkup is still important. Bring along their medical records so your vet can make sure they’ve had all the right vaccinations and prescribe any medications they might need. Your vet can also check on their general and dental health, make sure they’re recovering well from their spay or neuter surgery, and advise you on any special care or training your new pet needs.

We always love meeting new pets at Anasazi Animal Clinic! There’s nothing better than knowing another fur-baby has found a loving family. To schedule an appointment for a new pet checkup, call us at 480-497-0505 or send us a message online.

Photo by Thomas Park on Unsplash used with permission under the Creative Commons license for commercial use 4/10/2024.