Select Your Veterinarian and Prepare Your Home
Find the Right Veterinarian
Before you bring your new pet home, it is important to find the right veterinarian. Your veterinarian will be your long-term partner, so you'll want to put the time in now and make a good choice. Here's how.
Visit Veterinary Practices
- How clean is the practice?
- Ask the staff questions; listen for answers that are clear, in language you understand
- Observe how veterinarian(s) and staff treat other pet owners and pets
- Ask the veterinarian to describe his or her treatment philosophy
When You Find the Right Veterinarian
- Make your new pet's first appointment within a week of bringing him home
- Get a referral for an after-hours/emergency veterinary clinic
Prepare the Kids
Teaching some basic rules will help protect the health and safety of your children and your new pet. Make sure kids understand that a new pet is a not a toy, and the new pet may be scared, anxious and timid at first.
Teach Your Kids Some Easy Pet Do's and Don'ts
- Let the new pet come to you, when he feels comfortable
- Let the new pet sniff your hand before you reach out to pet him
- Don't disturb new pets when they are sleeping, eating or chewing on a toy
- Don't restrain the new pet if he wriggles out of your arms
- Never pull tails, twist ears or chase new pets
If You Already Have Pets
Make sure vaccinations are up to date so all pets are protected from infection.
Your curious new pet won't hesitate to sniff around and explore his new home. Before he arrives, do a safety sweep of your home.
- If you have other pets, it’s a good idea to double-check that their vaccinations are up to date; pets can pass illnesses to each other easily
- Tape down electrical cords and put away high-value, fragile objects
- Remove or elevate plants and household chemicals
- Fix broken gates and fence gaps
- Put away kids’ toys, especially small pieces
- Place all trash baskets in cabinets
- Install pet gates as needed
Ready For the Big Day
With the tips in this section, your home – and your new veterinarian – will be ready for the arrival of your new pet! In the next section, we'll help you through the first few days at home with your new pet.