Tips for New Pet Adoption & Care

Tips for New Pet Adoption & Care

Helpful tips for adopting a cat or dog, getting ready to bring your new pet home, and helping them settle into their new life with you.

Loving pet parents everywhere will attest that there’s no love quite like the love of a pet. The warm snuggles, wet noses and kisses, and little toenails scampering across the floor remind us every day that life is precious and meant to be lived with wagging tails and happy purrs. Pets fill a space in our lives that is impossible to measure.

If you are thinking about getting a new pet, you should definitely consider adopting a new dog or cat. It doesn’t have to be a puppy or a kitten, although admittedly, they are quite adorable. You can also adopt an older dog or a senior cat, and they all need love and comfort and care just the same.

No matter what type of new pet you choose, make sure you know which type of new pet is right for you and your lifestyle, how to be prepared, and what your new pet may need.

A woman sits in her living room with her dog and asks it to shake

What Kind of New Pet Is Best for Your Lifestyle?

Before you go racing off to the pet adoption center or animal shelter, consider a few things about your lifestyle that will help to determine what type of new pet you should get. Think about your budget, where you live, and how much time you have to devote to your new furry friend.


Taking on a new pet is a big responsibility. It’s a commitment not only to care for your new dog or cat for its whole lifetime but to make sure it has everything it needs.

You will have to be able to afford not only food and toys but regular veterinary care, now and as the pet gets older. Can you easily afford annual vet visits, any special diets or medication, or the cost of an injury or other medical care?

You will also need to be able to pay for any pet deposits and extra rent if you lease, or pet sitters or dog walkers for when you are away. The love our pets give us is priceless, but we do have to factor their cost of care into our budgets!

Where You Live

Where you and your pet call home is important to consider as well. If you live in a small apartment and have little access to outdoor areas, adopting a cat may be your best bet. But if you love going for long outdoor walks or taking trips to the park, adopting a dog may be the best thing for you.

Do you have an easily accessible outdoor space or places to walk and play with a dog? How much room you have – inside and out – will determine whether your new canine companion is a Thor or a Tinkerbell! And if you’re renting, check with your landlord or leasing office first to see if they have any pet restrictions or special regulations that could affect your decision.


Another important factor is how much time you have to devote to your new pet. If you are at work a lot or lead a very busy social life that keeps you away from home, adopting a puppy or adopting a kitten would be more difficult as you need time for training with a younger pet. If you live a particularly laid-back lifestyle and want to keep it that way, consider an adult dog or cat or even adopting a senior pet.

Final Tips

If you are planning to adopt a dog, consider what breeds fit your lifestyle the best. Breeds can play a role in your new dog’s temperament and their energy levels. You want to be sure to get a pet that fits well into your lifestyle, which will help ensure a loving bond for their fur-ever home.

Also, you need to think about any allergies that you have, which may determine what kind of animal you can tolerate. Some breeds of dog or cat are better for people who suffer from allergies, although there are no truly hypoallergenic dogs or cats.

Once you’ve decided what type of new pet you want and the approximate age you are looking for, you can head out to the adoption facility and start looking for that new face that will just melt your heart!

A golden retriever sits among a group of people

How to Adopt a New Pet

Contrary to what you may see in the movies and on commercials, you won’t simply walk into a pet shelter and walk out with a brand-new pet. These things take time, and you need to understand that when you visit the shelter the first time.

You’ll have to fill out an application for adoption with the facility and wait for approval to adopt your new pet. They may conduct an interview with you, and in some cases, they will do a home visit to make sure you will be a responsible and loving pet owner. You may be required to show proof of income so that they know you can afford your new pet.

While you are waiting for your adoption application to be processed, by all means, visit with all of the available adopted pets they have. You may just meet the perfect one for your family!

Preparing for a New Pet

Many shelter animals are not familiar with living inside of a stable home. They may have been abandoned or neglected, and their greatest need, aside from your love and support, is going to be their comfort and safety. Here are some things you can do to help your new pet feel welcome and adjust to their new home.

  • Remove any toxic or dangerous items from the reach of your new dog or your new cat. (Some household plants can be toxic for animals.)
  • Hide electrical cords or dangerous things that your new pet may want to play with or chew on.
  • Put away things like expensive vases or fancy rugs until your new pet is used to your home and fully trained.
  • Provide a cozy sleeping area for your new pet. A doggy bed or a cat bed in a nice quiet area of your home would be best. You want your new pet to have a safe space to go to for resting or just a bit of quiet time while they adjust to their new setting.
  • Food and water bowls should be safe and non-toxic for pets and should be relative to the size of your new pet. You can wait to get leashes and little doggy sweaters and food and water bowls after you have your dog picked out, so you know what size to get.
  • You’ll need a scratching post, a litter box, and cat litter on hand if you decide to adopt a cat.
  • Most adopted animals will be microchipped before adoption. Make sure your pet has a microchip, and make sure you update the registration with your current contact info.
  • Have some money set aside for vet bills for your pet. You’ll want to have a local vet picked out that you know and trust will take care of your new pet with you.
  • If you decide to adopt a dog, you may want to have a dog kennel on hand to help with crate training.
  • For many adopted dogs, there can be issues with obedience and behavior. You can enroll them in manners courses once you bring your dog home. Find out what kind of training your new dog may have received at the adoption facility.
  • Prepare all family members for the arrival of a new pet. Decide who will feed and bathe the new pet and manage the daily activities around your new pet’s schedule. It will take the cooperation of all in the family to help provide a safe and happy home for your newly adopted pet.
A dog looks out the window of a car as a woman drives him home

The Big Day! Bringing Your New Pet Home

When that wonderful day comes to bring home your new pet, be prepared for this to be a little bit stressful for all involved. Even happy stress can be a lot for your new pet. They may be fearful or anxious. They may be very unsure about what’s happening around them. Set aside some time just to help your new pet adjust to their surroundings.

Begin working on your new pet’s training and introduce them slowly to the routine in your household. Give them a little bit of space on their own when they need downtime to process all of this new sensory input. Give them lots of patience and reassurance that you are a safe and comforting companion for them. With time they will learn to trust and love you.

Helping Your New Pet Settle into Their New Life

When adopting a new pet, you’re probably hoping that you’ll be immediately greeted with kisses and wagging tails, and everything goes smoothly. Or your new cat plops on the couch and seems to be right at home. However, more often than not, there’s a period of adjustment where your new pet may be hiding under the couch or behind the bed.

Sometimes it’s hard for a new pet to accept that they are safe and that they are going to be okay. They may be very frightened, or they may have been hurt in the past. It takes a while to develop that close bond that you are looking for with your new pet.

If your pet is having trouble adjusting, try these tips:

  • Offer pet-safe toys and play with your new pet a little each day.
  • Give them a quiet space to eat their meals.
  • Be consistent and be patient with them.
  • When you first bring home your new pet, try to keep scolding at a minimum, and never yell at or punish your adopted pet!
  • Let your new furry family member dictate how much love and affection they are comfortable receiving. With time, your new pet will come to appreciate and love the affection you offer them.
  • Consider a CBD pet chew or CBD tincture to help your new pet adjust. It could help to smooth their transition and make them feel more calm. These are good options for new pets that are over a year old. Here’s how you can introduce CBD products into your new pet’s routine.

Adopting a New Pet Can Change Your Life and Theirs

Bringing home a new pet that needs you as much as you need them can be the best decision you make. There’s nothing quite so rewarding as seeing your new dog or cat flourish in their new environment. With time and patience, your new pet will come to feel like you are their new home.