Tips for new pet owners!

If you are reading this article you probably already have a pet or may have had a pet recently. So it might seem like a silly article to have included. But please read on: This article is different.

We all know what mischief and joy new animals can bring to our home. And even though we love seeing our clients and their new family members, we don’t really enjoy seeing them injured or sick. This article outlines some home safety consideration and some ideas which you may not have heard before. They are mostly quirky and fun and because we are scientists the original reasons for using them are well thought out with a lot of history and science backing them up.

Generally speaking, a comfortable living space is one which has enough room for all the basic resources of life. This means enough food, water, toileting space, educational/discovery space and social interaction. How does this translate when introducing a new cat into the home? Did you know the number of water and litter receptacles is supposed to be one per cat plus one? That means if you have two cats ideally there would be three litter trays and three water bowls dotted around the house. While it might sound excessive, consider how having abundant resources (money, clothes, time and food) makes you feel? It’s quite comforting isn’t it, to know you have more than enough to survive? Cats are exactly the same. If you help new cats and long-standing cats in the house to feel like there is an abundance of resources there’s no need to fight, and they are more likely to get along (unless their personalities just don’t match). Similarly, one great way to increase the space in your home is to put up some sturdy floating shelves. You can superglue some carpet to them to create mounting perches for the cats. This can really help in apartment spaces or townhouses. Another trick is hiding places. We all need “our own room”. If you have a studio or one bedroom space, try to partition off some sections with cat tunnels or boxes so the cats can have their own “time-out”. This is also a good time to check those weird nooks in the kitchen or cabinetry, where the joiner might not have sealed a space between cupboards. If your cat climbs up in there; WATCH OUT!

Dogs are a little different. Because they get walked more regularly than cats, their sense of social security is usually a lot stronger. As such they struggle over resources like food and bedding. So for every dog in the house have one food bowl per dog plus one or two extra if the look like there might be trouble. We always recommend feeding your pets in different rooms or on different levels. This really helps if they need a diet change due to health reasons, or some calorie control due to metabolic differences. Dogs are also really sneaky because their social hierarchy is completely environmentally dependant. This means that if you’re at home you might be the figure head, but in the park they could team up and you could be defied… practicing consistency in every action will ensure your new pets fit in quickly and become polite family members.

For more great tips on preparing for a new pet, please come in and speak with us at 4 Paws Vet. We make it our mission to help you build healthy relationships with animals. And if we start at the beginning, we can help you really understand what your pet needs.

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