Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Adjusting to a New Pet in Your House

By Suzanne Alicie

As firm believers in responsible pet ownership, we never advise giving a pet as a gift unless you are sure it is wanted. Many times parents take advantage of a holiday or birthday to give their children a much desired pet, or one weekend they simply give in to repeated requests for something furry and fun. No matter what the occasion of welcoming a new pet into your home, there are many ways in which your family will have to adjust. There are also ways you can prepare beforehand to make it easier on everyone involved. 

A family discussion of the responsibilities that each person will have once the pet arrives, the doling out of pet chores and preparation of the home for the presence of a pet will help everyone be prepared for the excitement and upheaval that a new pet can cause.

Depending on the age of the children involved, more than likely the kindhearted parents will have to take care of most of the responsibilities of having a new pet, although children enjoy feeling as if they are taking part in caring for their new pet as well. The most common new pets for children are kittens and puppies; there are pros and cons to each of these from the point of view of the caretakers and ultimately responsible parties.


Sweet, cuddly little kittens are generally very easy to train to the litter box. This may make you think that there will be no issues with adjusting to a kitten in the house. But in fact, kittens are nosy, they will be underfoot, under the furniture, in the closet and shooting through the door. There are a million things around the home that can be dangerous to kittens, and some careful kitty-proofing will be necessary.

A scratching post and a specified place for food, water and litter box will make the adaptation to a kitty easier. Also, it’s important to keep in mind that baby gates aren’t going to be very effective with a kitten because they can climb, they can swing and they can get wherever they want to go unless there is a solid wall or door between them and that place. Learn more about how to prepare and deal with a kitten by reading Bringing Home a New Kitten or Cat.


An adorable puppy will be a challenge for even the most willing parents. You will have to deal with paper training, training the puppy to go outdoors, and teaching the puppy what is and isn’t appropriate to chew on. Plus, the fact that puppies are also nosy will quickly become apparent when you find your puppy in a closet chewing on a favorite shoe or stuck inside a box in the pantry. However, with puppies a baby gate will be your best friend; you will be able to keep the little cutie in a certain area or room! This subject is explained in more detail in our helpful RPO article, Dog Proofing Your Home.

All the members of your household will have to learn to watch where they step, learn how to clean up after the new pet, and always keep an eye on the doors so that the pet doesn’t escape. Pet proofing is important to make sure that your new pet is safe and stays healthy. 

House plants, toys, electronics and wiring are all possible hazards for kittens and puppies. Before bringing a new pet into the home or giving one as a gift, learn about the dangers around your home. Taking the time to prepare your home for a pet can help make sure that your new friend has a forever home, and that you are ready to be a responsible pet owner

Read more articles by Suzanne Alicie

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