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Getting your new pet settled at home

Congratulations! You’ve adopted your new best friend. Now what? A new pet will need some time to unwind and adjust to a new home. So, how can you help create a smooth transition?

Patience is key. Many of our animals at Houston SPCA may have been abandoned, rehomed, neglected, or abused. They’ve adjusted to our hospital and Adoption Center and are now moving again into your home. Therefore, be gentle and patient while they get used to their new surroundings and begin to understand they now have a family that loves them!

Before You Adopt Your New Pet

Preparations for Adoption

  • Pet proof your home. Before your new friend sets paw in your house, be sure all potentially toxic medicines, foods, plants, etc. are secure and out of reach of animals.
  • Prepare their area. When you bring a new pet home, they’ll need a quiet space to decompress. Prepare a crate or spare room with a bed, toys, and food bowls to help them settle. Have the appropriate food selected and ready.
  • Discuss routines and responsibilities. If the pet will belong to multiple members of a family, discuss who will be taking responsibilities for which tasks and when. The pet will thrive on routine and should rely on consistent feeding, exercise, and enrichment.

Bringing Your New Pet Home

  • Allow time to decompress. Give them a few days in their designated safe area to become comfortable. If you notice your new pet is frightened or anxious, don’t allow children or other animals to approach them just yet.
  • Expect mistakes. A transition can make even the most reliable of housebroken animals have an accident or two.
  • Handling behavior. You can begin training puppies as early as possible to begin solidifying positive adult behaviors. Enrich adult animals by teaching new skills and working with themon how to behave in their new home.
  • Learn their preferences. Some pets may happily snuggle with you for hours, but don’t enjoy being picked up. Learn how they like to be handled and respect their preferences. Physical affection is important, but don’t overwhelm them with too much attention.

This happy boy is excited to go home as a new pet.
This happy boy is excited to go home as a new pet.

Rule of 3’s

Did we mention how important it is to have patience? Giving your new pet ample time to learn that they have a safe and loving home is critical. So, don’t give up!

First Three Days

In the first three days at home, your new pet may be overwhelmed or scared. You can expect signs of stress, like refusing to eat or drink. They may also have accidents. A new pet might retreat from you until they’re more comfortable.

First Three Weeks

New routines for pets can take up to three weeks to feel comfortable. Then, their quirks and personalities might start to shine through as they adjust to their new life.

First Three Months

After three months, you’ll strengthen the bond and trust with your pet. The apprehensive animal you first brought home might look like an entirely different pet! Their sense of trust and security in you will have blossomed by now.

The takeaway is that if it doesn’t seem like a perfect match right away, be sure to give your new pet a fair chance to show you who they are.

ADOPT: Browse our available pets!

Houston SPCA is grateful to you for choosing to adopt an animal in need. With these tips, we’re hopeful that your new pet will be a lifelong companion!

To report animal cruelty, call 713-869-SPCA (7722) or file a report online.



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