The first few days with a new owner can be a stressful time for an adopted pet. Getting acquainted with a new house and humans takes time for most pets. They need to feel safe around the new family and surroundings before they can begin to enjoy their new life but there are a few things you can do to make the transition a little easier.
Setting Time Aside
It’s best to devote plenty of time to settle in your new pet. Ideally you can take some time off work and be prepared to stay home for the first week. Your new pet may not want to spend any time with you, but at least you are eliminating their anxiety of being left at home on their own for extended periods of time.
Give your Pet some Space
Everyone imagines bringing home their adopted pet and smothering them in affection, particularly if the pet has had a difficult past. But not all pets will appreciate this. They may hide or keep their distance for many weeks while they learn to trust their new family. Before picking up your adopted pet, try explaining to the kids that their pet may need some alone time. Explain the importance of being patient; they will be able to pat and play together once their pet has got to know them better.
Quietly Does It
Have a quiet room that your pet can retreat to. Noise from the kids or everyday living can be too much for some pets in the early days. Your pet will be less anxious if they know they can go to an area away from the rest of the household. Try to keep the noise level down so your pet isn’t spooked by any strange noise. Remember some abandoned pets may associate a particular noise with their previous neglected situation. Offering them a calm, quiet space will allow them to settle in quicker.
Your Pet’s Belongings
Before picking up your new pet, organise bedding, bowls and a few toys. Tell the kids not to be disheartened if their adopted pet shows no interest in the toy they choose. A pet’s disinterest can be part of the anxiety they feel and with time they will probably grow to love their bed and want to play with their new toys.
Slow it Down
If your adopted pet seems depressed and isn’t eating any of the food offered, don’t panic. The stress of a new situation can cause a pet to be withdrawn and off its food. Most pets will begin to eat and drink once they are less anxious or hungry enough but if not, contact your vet for advice.
Don’t feel as though your pet needs to be integrated into the family within a certain timeframe. Many adopted pets need your patience and care before they can reciprocate with their love and affection. If you can wait until they are ready your kindness will be well rewarded by a happy and thankful pet the whole family can love.
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