Your new cat has thrown up twice in one night… do you call the vet? You took your new dog for a walk in the sun and now her paws are pink… what happened and what do you do?! If I were to answer each question a new pet owner has, this would become a very long article and odds are you wouldn’t read it. So here is what you need to know summed up:
The beginning is always HARD. You are both getting to know each other and the change of environment can have physical responses for your pet. If you read my previous adoption articles, you already know this. So we know it’s going to be bumpy but what can you do to make the journey a bit smoother?
1. Have your dog friends on speed dial.
You are going to have lots of questions and you can’t call the vet’s office every time. So, if you have a friend who knows animals or has some of their own, reach out to them for advice! If you don’t know anyone, spend the afternoon at the local dog park and make some new friends! Too far outside of your comfort zone? Join an online forum and ask the “experts” on there any questions you have. Odds are, one of these sources will have had an experience similar to yours and they can offer you most of the advice you need.
2. Sign up for a training class together! (This tip is mostly for new dog owners, sorry cat lovers!)
In the beginning, you both could likely use the help of an expert to get through some of the tricky stuff. Even if you have a dog that’s already trained, it can be nice to take the class anyway. You’ll have the ear of a professional trainer that you can ask all your questions and you can talk to your fellow classmates for some reassurance that you aren’t crazy and maybe they already stumbled upon a solution to your problem. Plus, the classes can help build a stronger bond between you and your pet and you will likely learn a few things you didn’t know.
3. Try to notice the difference between discomfort and distress in your new pet.
This is the line between knowing they are just stressed out about their new environment and they got into some chocolate while you were gone and need a vet visit. Google some articles or read some books about your specific animal’s body language to help give you clues. What the animal’s ears, eyes, voice, and tail are doing give fantastic clues – but only if you know how to read them. Spending an hour reading about the details of these can mean much lower stress levels for you!
Remember, animals are like emotional sponges. They calm us by absorbing our negative emotions. However, if we are coming home stressed regularly, they are bound to start being stressed as well because they have absorbed too much of our stress. It’s a good reminder for us to try and destress our lives. Or if we can’t, at least spend some extra time with your pet, loving on them. It will help them to release their stress with every pat you give them.