Skip to main navigation Skip to main content

Grady Veterinary Hospital Grady Veterinary Hospital

Phone: (513) 931‑8675
Address: Cincinnati, OH

Veterinary Blog in Cincinnati OH

Welcoming a New Pet: Cats & Dogs

Welcoming a New Pet: Cats & Dogs

It’s a New Year, Are You Adopting a New Pet?

Pets require a lot of time, attention and love. When you’re welcoming a new pet into your home, follow our tips for caring for this special addition to your family.

Before You Bring Your Pet Home

  • Make sure you’re ready for the commitment. Do you have an hour or more every day to dedicate to basic care like feeding, bathing, grooming, walking, litterbox-cleaning, veterinarian visits, etc.?
  • Get all the gear ready before homecoming. This includes food and water bowls, harnesses and leashes, pet carrier, pet beds, toys, food, etc.
  • Check for toxic houseplants and remove them. Read this Field Guide to Most Toxic Plants for Pets. Also, check out Keep These 8 Toxic Plants Away from Cats.
  • Pet-safe your home (or things will get broken). Expensive knick-knacks or delicious-smelling leather shoes should top your list for moving out of your pet’s way.
Welcoming a New Pet: Cats & Dogs

Welcoming a New Pet: Making Introductions

  • Introduce your new pet to your human family slowly. Any cat or dog would feel overwhelmed meeting the whole family all at once. Let your pet come up to and meet everyone at their own pace.
  • Maintain physical control when you introduce your new pet to other pets. Keeps dogs on leashes. Consider letting cats “meet” each other on either side of a closed door.
  • Pay attention to everyone’s comfort level. If children or animals show signs of nervousness, take a break.
  • Introduce your pet to the vet in the first few days. A wellness check after you bring your pet home will help catch any issues, and you’ll be able to ask any questions you have,
Welcoming a New Pet: Cats & Dogs

Welcoming a New Pet: Early Days

  • Always have fresh water available. Refill the water bowl whenever it’s low, and refresh the water at least once a day.
  • Find your pet’s comfort zone at mealtime. Puppies and kittens need to eat more frequent meals, up to six per day, depending on size. Senior pets may prefer an elevated pet feeding table.
  • Give your pet a safe place in your home to call their own. This can be a crate or pet bed. Everyone in your family should know this is your pet’s “safe zone” to be alone.
  • Consider placing pet beds in various spots in your house, as your pet learns their favorite areas.
  • Provide pet toys. These don’t have to be expensive, but something like a cardboard box for cats of Kong treat toy for dogs will prevent boredom and provide enrichment.
  • Learn your pet’s energy level. An active pet needs lots of exercise to live a happy, healthy life and stay out of mischief. On the other hand, a laid-back pet won’t want to join your jogs.
  • Start training for better behavior right away. For instance, brush your dog while giving them treats to teach that grooming is a bonding time.

Welcoming a New Pet: Multiple Pets

  • For cats, you need one litterbox per cat, plus an extra one. If you have two stories, place litterbox options on all floors.
  • Monitor mealtime to prevent fights and make sure everyone gets the right amount of food.
  • Watch out for jealousy. Give each pet their own, individual attention.
Welcoming a New Pet: Cats & Dogs

Welcoming a New Pet: Puppies and Kittens

  • Make housetraining and litterbox training a routine. Find a schedule that works for you and your pet… and stick to it.
  • Be prepared to play! Play with toys, take walks and get on the floor with your pet. Puppies and kittens have higher energy levels and also love spending time with you.
  • Invest in a scratching post or chew toys. Otherwise, you may find yourself investing in new furniture. And that’s a lot more expensive.
  • Understand that young pets need more training. The world is new to them! You have to teach your pet about good behavior.
  • Supervise young pets. Kittens and puppies are curious and need to be watched most of the time.
  • Offer plenty of rest time. Growing animals need lots of sleep.

Enjoy life with your new pet! We know you’ll enrich each other’s lives. For more inspiration, watch our video Bringing Home a New Pet.