Cute cat with eyes closed

Introducing a new pet to your household

Adopting a pet from a shelter is one of the most fulfilling and rewarding experiences for you and your new pet, but introducing them to their new home in the least anxiety-inducing way is crucial for a smooth transition.

A pet that is outgoing and engaged can quickly become stressed and timid when introduced to their new family and the possibility of other pets. Listed below are some strategies to improve the experience for your new family member.

  • Give your new pet space

Allow time for rest and relaxation away from the overwhelming new environment. Designating a room just for your pet to become acclimated and feel safe is a great way to create boundaries and ensure they are comfortable and not getting into trouble. Keep an eye on your new pet during this time, and watch for signs of extreme anxiety or stress.

  • Slowly increase their freedom and space

Progress through the process slowly. A guided tour of your house and careful introduction to the other household members are steps you can take to continue to get your new furry friend acclimated while not rushing them. Keep pets on leashes when introducing them to maintain a controlled environment.

  • Allow for separation

While it can be tempting to want your pets to become best friends right from the start, it is not always the case. Making sure they have separate toys, food, and areas to rest are great ways for them to begin to coexist. If your pets are not the greatest pair at first do not worry! It may take some time for them to build the trust necessary to live as one.

  • Observe your new pet

Understanding your dog—what makes them nervous, excited, territorial, and relaxed— is crucial to fostering an environment where they will thrive! Observing which aspects of their environment trigger certain emotions can allow for your household to become their home and for them to become their best, most loving selves.

Patience is key to adopting a new pet, especially in the case of adult adoptions. Some transitions may be seamless and easy, but some may not, and being supportive and loving throughout either outcome can allow for the ideal end result and a new best friend.