I've Adopted! So Now What?!
New Pet Adoption Frequently Asked Questions
Q: My adopted dog needs to be house trained. Can you suggest a good approach to house training?
A: There are many was you can help your rescued dog overcome common problems like Jumping Up or House Training. We have collected some tips for some of the most common issues. You can review them on our "Self Help" page.
Q: Do I need to take my new pet to a vet right away?
A: Yes, particularly before introducing the pet to other animals. It is recommended to take them within two weeks, or the due date of the next vaccine and/or worm medicine for kittens/puppies. Be sure to show your medical records from Lake Haven to your vet.
Q: I adopted a kitten or puppy that is not yet fixed. What can I expect in terms of vet visits?
A: Animals six months of age or older are spayed or neutered before going to their new homes. Animals under six months of age are sent home with a voucher for spay/neuter service at a participating veterinary clinic. Please note the voucher does not cover any necessary pain medications or additional services at these clinics. A complete list of participating clinics can be accessed here.
Most vets require a visit prior to spay/neuter (not necessarily the same day). Since these visits can add up, it is most beneficial to take your pet for their additional vaccines at the same place as the spay/neuter to avoid paying for additional vet visits. Many vets will not charge a visit fee for follow-up vaccines.
Q: How do I know my new pet is healthy?
A: Your pet has been vet checked and was healthy at the time of the check-up. However, in rare occasions, he/she may become sick. If your pet is sneezing frequently, has runny discharge from eyes, vomits frequently, has diarrhea, it is recommended to contact your vet immediately.
Q: What food should I feed my new pet?
A: Ask a Lake Haven volunteer or PetSmart associate what food your new pet has been eating. Most are fed Purina One or Iams. It is very important to continue the same type of food at first to prevent any stomach upset. If you wish to use a different brand of food, mix the current food with the new food for several weeks to a month. Switching abruptly will have negative effects.
Q: Where should my new cat or kitten sleep at night?
A: With kittens, start out in a small room for several weeks to a month when not supervised. Kittens do not need much space and like a small room such as a bathroom or laundry room. Adult cats should also be kept in a confined space at first, until he or she is accustomed to the new surroundings.
Q: What about kitten/puppy safety?
A: Kittens and puppies get into everything, so be sure to remove any hazardous items, such as cleaning supplies, dangling objects, plastic bags and small objects that could result in choking.
Q: How do I introduce my new pet to my resident pet(s)? How long will it take?
A: There is no answer for how long it will take, but plan on at least three weeks. It is important to make your new animal feel welcome, but even more important to make your current pet feel loved and safe.
Start out by allowing your current pet to sniff the carrier of the new one. Then place the new animal in a safe, confined space, such as a bathroom or laundry room. Give him/her food, water, litter, a blanket and toys.
Try feeding the animals on either side of the door so they can associate the smell of the other animal with something positive (FOOD!). Try swapping out blankets, so they can really sniff each other.
When you do introduce them, do it slowly and for short periods of time. Gradually, increase the frequency and duration of the visits. This is not an easy process, but well worth it when all animals are living in harmony!
© 2009 by Lake Haven.
Lake Haven is a non-profit no-kill animal rescue shelter dedicated to the care and adoption of homeless and/or injured dogs, cats, kittens and puppies in the West Michigan area. Lake Haven is a recognized 510(c)3 organization that is 100% volunteer operated.