What to Expect When Adopting
When adopting a new pet there are many things you can expect that most families do not think about when they bring a new animal into their homes. It is very important to keep in mind that when you bring a new pet home, there is the chance they are not going to immediately adjust to your lifestyle, and their new home. Here are some helpful tips when you are considering adoption, what you can expect from our adoption counselors when visiting with your new potential best furry friend, and some tips for after you get your new pet home.
Choosing the Right Dog or Cat
Bringing a new pet into any home is not only stressful on the animals but on a family as well. Before bringing a new pet into a household, there are several situations to consider.
- Are we looking for an adult or juvenile pet?
- Is there a specific breed we are looking for?
- Are we financially stable enough to add a new family member to hour household?
- What kind of pet will our schedule allow us to have?
- Do the children or any member of the family have any allergies?
- Is the whole family, including children ready for a new fuzzy family member?
All of these questions should be answered before even stepping foot into the Cheyenne Animal Shelter, or they can even be answered here while visiting with the animals. Please remember bringing a pet into a household is a big decision and impulse buys are best left for material things, not living animals.
To answer the first question, here are some tips to remember. Juvenile pets like puppies and kittens need much more time and dedication than an adult cat or dog. Especially with puppies, there is a fair amount of work that goes into the care of a new puppy. Training, is the biggest and most time consuming part of bringing a puppy home. Of course being a professional trainer is not required to bring a puppy home, but learning how to train a puppy is always recommended. Teething is always a large factor for bringing a puppy or kitten home as well. Depending on how young a puppy or kitten is when brought home, their adult teeth do not fully grow in until they are at least 6 or 7 months of age. Puppies love to chew on anything they can get their little paws on, such as shoes, rugs, baby toys, and yes even the kitchen table and chairs’ legs. Keeping chew toys around and making sure that puppies know what is ok and what is not ok to chew on, they need constant supervision in the teething stages, or that favorite pair of shoes may no longer exist after the new puppy gets a hold of them. This is not saying that a full grown dog will not do the same thing but usually by the time they are full grown they have either learned not to chew or they have grown out of that stage.
When looking into bringing home a new pet, having a specific breed in mind may be good, make sure to research the breed, their habits, their traits, life expectancy, if that breed is prone to any health risks, grooming needs, if this pet is good with children or better with adults (if that is a factor). If breed is not a factor of the animal preferences, once a specific animal has been chosen and if there is time, do the research on the breed that has been chosen to make sure this is the breed that is going to work with the entire household.
If a new pet is in consideration, a very important factor to look into is the cost of having a pet annually. The price of the actual adoption is more than just the initial cost of the animal. Please take a look at the prices and pages page under the adopt tab on the website to see how much it usually costs to own and care for a pet. Most families can expect to pay on average about $2,500 a year on each pet. That includes food, grooming, veterinary care and always budget for emergency veterinary costs. If a price like that seems to be too high, rethinking bringing a pet home might be better for a more financially stable time.
All pets are going to need time from their family. If a busy schedule is a part of the daily routine and being gone 12 or more hours a day a cat is probably more appropriate. Cats are independent animals and are usually more comfortable being on their own for several hours at a time, they do not need to be let out side to go to the bathroom, they have their litter boxes, they can usually be free fed unless they are on a diet, and a sufficient water supply can be left for the cat. Of course they need some attention, however, most cats are more than comfortable being left on their own, even overnight on occasion. If a more laid back schedule is a part of the daily routine then a dog would be appropriate to bring into the household. Dogs can but should not be left alone for more than 8 hours with out access to food, water and being let outside. Dogs are much more dependent on human interaction and being left alone for long periods of time is not ideal for any dog. Leaving a dog outside all the time is also not acceptable unless they have an escape from the elements and have food and water available to them. A dog’s energy level is also a very important factor to keep in mind. A low energy dog will be ok left alone longer than a high energy dog. A high energy dog is going to need more human interaction and exercise to keep them happy, whereas a low energy dog will probably be ok without human interaction longer. Please take how much time you have for a pet into consideration before you think about bringing a new pet into your home.
Allergies are a large factor to keep in mind when interested in adoption. Many animals are brought to the Cheyenne Animal Shelter annually because of allergies in the family. Before bringing a new pet home always make sure every person involved in the home is exposed to the animal with no evidence of allergies before the pet enters the home. Then, if there are any allergies in the family they will be noticed at the shelter, or shortly after meeting the animal. On a rare occasion the allergies show up after the pet has been brought home.
Finally, is the whole family ready for a new pet? Whether the last pet has passed away or bringing an additional pet into the home is a thought, making sure every family member is ready for a new pet. Every member of the family should be ready for the new cat or dog before the new pet arrives to the home. Parents need to be sure that their children are going to be responsible for the pet care is that is desired, or that the children know how to react to cats or dogs, and when their behavior is or is not appropriate.
When you come to the Cheyenne Animal Shelter to look at your new potential furry friends, do not be surprised if your adoption counselor does not immediately bring the pet you are interested in right away. Our adoption counselors are trained to make sure you have as much information about each pet you visit with to make sure the pet you are interested in bringing home with you is the right choice for you and your lifestyle. Every dog is different and our adoption counselors know our animals best. Much like training a dog and working with them to learn new tricks it works best with no other dogs around or any distractions for your dog. The same concept goes for people, we learn best when there are no other distractions around. We find that when we bring the animals into the visitation room first thing before any information about the pet of interest has been shared with, only half of the adopter’s attention span is actually with the counselor, they are more interested in the animal than the adoption counselor. This is not true about everyone of course, many potential adopters are very interested about the animal’s history, and some are only interested in the animal and getting to know the animal for them selves. Also because our adoption counselors also care for the animals daily the animals can be more interested in the adoption counselor than the visitor, if this is the case the adoption counselor opts to step out of the room so the animal and the visitor have a few moments to bond. If this happens, and the information about the animal has not already been shared with the visitor, chances are little to no information will be shared with the visitor about that animal, and their personality.
We do our best to keep it simple, we have a lot of terminology that we use here at the Cheyenne Animal Shelter on a daily basis that may be not recognized to the community. We work hard to make sure we keep things understandable and to the point so everyone is able to understand what we are talking about. Sometimes we do get caught up in our “shelter terminology” as we call it, please just stop us and ask for a more simple explanation, we have no problem putting things in more comprehensive terms.
After you have decided to adopt, we have our adoption contract that needs to be filled out and it may seem like we have a large amount of paper work for you to look over and probably consider throwing away when you get home. However, this information that we give you is all very useful like animal history, microchip information, and medical background, and some of the things we give you are just for fun, shelter newsletters, new pet guides, coupons and so much more. Please take a moment to look at everything we give you, it is all very useful at one point or another.
When the newest family addition gets home the new environment, new family, and new lifestyle, it can be a lot to take in. Like people, animals need time to adjust to their new life they have just been brought into. Some animals have no problem adjusting to their new life, resilience is a strong point in most animals, but a new life can be difficult to endure and every animal is going to need more than one day to become comfortable in their new homes. On many occasions an animal will act much differently in a home environment than in a shelter environment, families cannot expect to bring home the perfect angel in the shelter and have the same results at home. In the shelter they have a 4 foot by 6 foot space they live in, while homes are much larger than that. Here are a few guidelines to expect after the new family member has arrived.
Often times whining, barking or meowing if a cat is brought home is a common reaction for dogs and cats in new homes, the dogs and cats are used to having many other animals around them and now they are in a quiet home, this type of anxiety is common in shelter pets, not all animals are going to have this reaction however. This reaction is just to see if those other animals are still there, and if they are, will they respond to them? If your new dog or cat does have this kind of reaction it usually only lasts a couple of days.
Even a house trained dog, or litter box trained cat in a new home has a chance of having an accident in their new home. Yes the animals’ care givers do their best to let them out as often as possible during their stay, and cats have their litter boxes here at the Cheyenne Animal Shelter, but even if they do not ever have an accident in their kennel, or go outside the litter box during their entire stay, they are going to need some re-initiation training to get them back into the flow of how house training works and most cats are going to need to be shown their litter boxes more than once to figure things out. Chances are your new pet may have one or two accidents in the house. We ask that new families give their new pets at least a week to get re-acquainted with the house training or litter box along with everything else they are getting acquainted with.
Some animals exhibit nervous behavior after arriving into their new home, again a lot has happened in their lives lately and this is perfectly normal behavior. Sometimes it may be recommended to with hold their food for the first 24 hours the new pet is home to prevent vomiting or diarrhea from stress. Many animals are settled down enough within the first 24 hours after arriving home to be able to reduce stress from eating. Another factor to minimize the chance vomiting and diarrhea is find out what food the shelter is feeding the animals, then buy a small bag so they can be slowly weaned off the food if you plan to change their food. The Cheyenne Animal Shelter tries to feed Iam’s pet food most of the time, but before the adoption process is completed make it a point to ask what the animals have been eating.
Also please remember majorly with cats that they may not immediately be friends with the other pets in the home. Like most people, rarely do animals have immediate friendship and love for each other, those kinds of things need to grow over the time it takes for the animals to get to know each other. It is very important to be patient with animals and their friendship limitations.
Bringing a new pet into your home may seem like a lot of work, but using these helpful tips and suggestions will help you make your process easier for you and your family and will also help your new pet stay home with you.