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New Pet Guide – Top Tips

Getting a new pet can be a fun and exciting time but can also be a time of considerable anxiety and stress, especially if you don’t have much experience with certain animals. We have compiled a number of helpful tips and strategies that may help you to cope with getting a new family pet.

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DO YOUR HOMEWORK

Before going out to get a pet, think carefully about what type of pet would suit the family needs. Does the animal have to be very child friendly? Is the pet going to be in a very active household? What is the home environment like e.g. large garden, apartment, family members with allergies/medical needs? If you have an idea of the type/breed of pet you wish to get, do research on the pet in question beforehand to ensure that make sure that the family and pet will be compatible.

TAKE YOUR TIME

Be sure that the place/persons that you will be getting your pet from a reputable. Ideally go and visit the proposed pet beforehand to ensure that they (and any other animals around them) look healthy and well cared for. We strongly discourage people from buying pets online and exchanging animals in car parks etc. Where dogs are concerned, by law all dogs should be microchipped and registered before they are sold or change ownership. Anyone taking ownership of a new dog should have to sign microchip paperwork to allow transfer of ownership. Get as much information as possible regarding your new pet’s vaccination status, medical treatments e.g. worming and current dietary routine.

GET PREPARED

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Once you have identified the type of pet you are going to get, preparations should be made to ensure that your home is suited to the needs of your pet. For example; where will the pet sleep/be housed? What will you be feeding your new pet and do you have a local supplier of the required food? Do you have food bowls, litter trays, bedding etc? Have you identified a local veterinarian that will be suitable for your pet’s needs? Try to have everything you need before your pet arrives, to avoid stress for both you and your new pet. It is also a good idea to try and make your home safe for your new pet, as well such as removing anything that could potentially be harmful such as exposed chemicals, small items/toys that animals could chew and swallow. Possibly even baby gates to prevent access to certain areas of the home that may be unsuitable for your pet.

MAKE AN APPOINTMENT WITH YOUR VET

Contrary to popular belief, in most cases your new dog or cat does not have to be taken to the vet immediately. While it is important to have your pet assessed and follow-up on any vaccines that may be required; this can often be done after a few days up to a week. The move to a new home can be stressful, even on the most relaxed animals and a trip to the vets may just add to this stress. So, unless you have a specific concern about your pet’s health, we would recommend to take the first few days to allow your new pet to settle into its new home and get used to you and its new surroundings. You can always contact your vet beforehand to confirm when your pet needs to attend the clinic; based on species requirement, vaccine history or any dietary concerns.

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GET INTO A ROUTINE

Most pets enjoy the consistency of a routine as this helps to reduce stress and anxiety. Whether it is with types of food, feeding times, exercise levels. Knowing what to expect helps to keep animals relaxed as well as provides a level of consistency that allows you to quickly detect if your pet is not behaving in a way that is normal.

PET INSURANCE

All animals will encounter health issues over the course of their lives and while most of these are mild or tend to respond well to treatment, we still need to be prepared for unexpected serious conditions or chronic illnesses. Pet insurance is a good way of helping to defray a substantial amount of the costs associated with caring for sick or injured pets. There are a number of different providers and it helps to do your research into the types of cover available from different companies. Always try to take out your pet’s insurance cover as early as possible so that your pet is fully covered and has no ‘pre-existing conditions’ that could be excluded from the policy. Insurance will generally not cover the cost of routine or elective procedures which would include vaccinations, food, neutering, and worm and flea medications.

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