When Getting a New Pet
When getting a new pet consider status quo now and what you are capable of
What about your current elderly pets in the house?
Perhaps you got your lost companion as a puppy...
Does your lifestyle now permit you the time required to have a new puppy?
Do you have the energy required to train a new puppy?
Are you still interested in the same breed?
Does this breed still fit your lifestyle? Perhaps that active Labrador or
border collie will no longer be appropriate now that you yourself have a
busier schedule, have gotten older, or become less active.
Perhaps you have an elderly dog that may not be receptive or physically able
to handle a young rambunctious puppy. Remember your primary responsibility
is your current pets. While it may be surprising to some; many older
animals are disposed of at local shelters after years in a household because
they do not get along with the new puppy. Please do not do this to a pet
that have given you so many wonderful years.
Introduce the new addition in the appropriate manner conducive for both new
pet and old. Ask vets, breeders and possible internet sources on
appropriate methods for introductions.
Is this a family decision?
Make sure that the entire family is ready to take on not only the
responsibility but the emotions of a new pet. Some family members may take
a while to be ready while others will want a new pet right away. Everyone
in the family needs to come to an understanding and mutually agree when a
new pet is brought into the home. Discuss this decision with your family.
It is often recommended not to ‘surprise’ your children with a new pet but
discuss with them if they are ready for a new pet.
Do not make a hasty decision
Do not run out and get a new pet quickly to fill the empty house. As
explained in Should I get a new pet, make sure you are ready for the
commitment for a NEW relationship. Furthermore, this is you and your
household’s decision. Do not let a friend or relative push you into a new
companion animal before you are ready. You also may want to explain to a
well intentioned friend that you do not want to be surprised with a new
pet. If they are really interested in helping you find a new one. Offer to
take them along with you look for a new pet.
When looking at prospective pets the different breeds so you know what their
characteristics are. Perhaps while the lab puppy is very cute-having a high
energy dog is not suited for your lifestyle. Look at multiple different
animals-avoid the propensity to run and get the first animal you see. There
are plenty of dogs at the local shelter, and many different breeders. Make
sure the dog and breeder are something you are comfortable with.
Introduction to existing pets
Consider introducing the prospective new pet with your current pet (more
applicable for dogs—not cats or other animals) on neutral ground. While
certainly not a guarantee they will never get along or always get a long it
is always good to see how they interact. It is always recommended with any
new pet that you keep them separated from other pets when unattended.
Responsible precautions for safety of your new pet
When getting a new pet—consider how you lost your old pet. If it was to a
contagious disease, open gate, or no gated yard take the necessary
precautions to try and prevent it from happening to your new pet.
If it was a contagious disease ensure ALL possible modes of transmission
have been cleaned (do not give them old toys, sterilize litter boxes or
crates thoroughly). For some diseases such as canine parvo-virus and feline
leukemia some vets recommend as long as 6 months before a new pet can enter
the home. Also remember that while vaccines are a great way to prevent an
animal from becoming infected they are not 100% effective. Talk with your
vet before introducing a new pet or vaccinated or unvaccinated into your
home following the loss of your pet due to a contagious disease.
If your pet got loose from the yard-have you fixed this problem by putting
up or reinforcing the fence? Ensure you new pet will be safe.
Some recommend you avoid getting a pet that looks exactly like your old
pet. As stated before-no matter how close the new pet looks like your old
pet-it is NOT and never will be the pet you lost. Some even recommend
getting a different breed or sex from your old pet. These are just
recommendations, however. There are many people how are breed loyal because
they love the attributes of the breed. Just understand you are getting new
pet with a new personality.
If you find yourself wondering if you should in fact get another pet,
perhaps consider volunteering or fostering from a local shelter. This
prevents you from getting a new pet, and realizing you weren’t ready and
then struggling on what to do with it. And it also allows an animal a
chance at a new life. Who knows you may even find your new forever pet
while fostering or volunteering.