Bringing home a puppy or kitten can lead to a lot of excitement. However, discussing issues that may arise and preparing in advance for a new pet’s arrival can help make for a smooth transition. Consider these tips to help make your new pet’s adjustment to its forever home a resounding success.
5 Tips to Successfully Bring a New Pet into Your Home
(Family Features) Bringing home a puppy or kitten can lead to a lot of excitement. However, discussing issues that may arise and preparing in advance for a new pet’s arrival can help make for a smooth transition.
Consider these tips from the pet experts at PetSmart Charities to help make your new pet’s adjustment to its forever home a resounding success.
Know that pet parenting is a lifetime commitment. That oh-so-sweet puppy or kitten stage only lasts so long, so be sure that you’re prepared to give a lifetime of loving care. Nurturing the bond you create during the early months can create a foundation for lifelong companionship.
Consider adoption first. There are literally thousands of animals of all breeds and ages looking for loving homes. Consider adopting a pet that needs a home from a local shelter or adoption event.
“When you consider an option like adoption, you can make sure one less dog or cat is living in a shelter while also providing the gift of unconditional love to a furry friend in need,” said David Haworth, DVM, Ph.D., president of PetSmart Charities, which helps find forever homes and families for more than 500,000 shelter pets each year. “As a way to make adoption more accessible, we work with local adoption partners to bring adoptable pets into PetSmart stores each and every day, and especially during our National Adoption Weekends, which take place in stores nationwide.”
Select an appropriate pet. Integrating a pet into your household, especially for a first-time pet owner, can take some work. It’s important to consider factors like how often you travel, whether your work schedule will allow a visit home during the day for a potty-training puppy and if you’re willing to provide necessary care, such as daily brushing for a long-haired animal. Also consider whether you truly want a puppy or a kitten; an adult pet offers numerous benefits, such as potentially being house-trained already and more resilient for play with small kids.
Provide structure for your pet. In a new family, a pet will often look for where he or she fits in and try to understand the rules of the house. Dogs, especially, crave routine, boundaries and rules. Cats like to know what to expect, too. When pets don’t understand, they can feel uncertain and some pets might hide until they feel more comfortable. Sensible rules can help pets feel secure in their new environments. Being consistent with training, helping pets understand what behavior you want and providing a solid routine can help them feel comfortable and confident.
Prepare for pet parenting. The sweet kisses and cuddles are fun, but a new pet requires some preparation. Stock up on items like age-appropriate food and toys. Look into training classes and find a veterinarian you trust for regular checkups. Also take time to pet-proof your home, removing items that may pose a health threat or create temptations for undesirable behaviors.
Find more advice on introducing a new pet to your home and locate a local adoption event near you at petsmartcharities.org .
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According to Purdue University, interacting with animals in different environments, including hospitals, could improve our physical and mental health, as well as enhance aspects of our daily lives. Here are a few things to know about in-residence dogs and their positive impact on pediatric patients.
(BPT) - For pediatric patients, being in the hospital can be a frightening, vulnerable and lonely experience, especially for those undergoing serious medical treatments. However, research has shown that dogs, with their playful, comforting and loving nature, can have beneficial, long-lasting effects on pediatric patients.
According to Purdue University, interacting with animals in different environments, including hospitals, could improve our physical and mental health, as well as enhance aspects of our daily lives.
Here are a few things to know about in-residence dogs and their positive impact on pediatric patients:
1) In-residence dogs are highly trained service dogs that work in healthcare settings and perform specialized tasks. They are also trained to create an emotional connection with pediatric patients, helping to provide them with joy, comfort and other medical benefits.
2) Different from volunteer dogs that visit a hospital for a short time, in-residence dogs have a similar work schedule as their human counterparts, working closely with their handlers. They often have access to non-sterile clinics and inpatient units.
3) In-residence dogs can be an integral part of a child’s treatment team. They perform a range of tasks that help medical teams achieve their clinical goals. In-residence dogs can be trained to do incredible things like keep kids calm during medical interventions, teach them how to take a pill or model how to put on a hospital gown.
4) In-residence dogs can help lower a pediatric patient’s stress and anxiety by serving as a pleasant distraction. Hospital staff report that children who interact with in-residence dogs often require less medication.
While in-residence dog programs have potential, they are relatively new. Out of more than 220 children’s hospitals in the U.S., only a few have in-residence dog programs. By implementing such programs, hospitals could give more pediatric patients the opportunity to experience the joy and health benefits that come with in-residence dogs.
Dr. Jana Stockwell, a pediatric critical care physician at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, serves as a handler for an in-residence dog named Tidings. “Our Children’s dogs are full-time employees with a meaningful job to do, and on a daily basis, Tidings helps children be more engaged, encourages them to get out of bed, and even inspires them to tell us about a pet at home that they’re missing," she said. "Our in-residence dogs never fail to lift the spirits of kids and adults alike.”
Foundation brings dogs to hospitals
To fill this unmet need and further its mission to bring joy to kids battling illness or hunger, the Joy in Childhood Foundation, the independent charitable foundation of Dunkin’ and Baskin-Robbins, has launched “Dogs for Joy,” a program to bring in-residence dogs to children’s hospitals nationwide.
Dogs in this program are bred and trained as service dogs but “work” full-time in children’s hospitals. Through more than $2 million in initial grants, the program will increase the number of in-residence dog programs in pediatric healthcare settings around the country and the prevalence of animal-assisted therapy as part of treatment.
The Joy in Childhood Foundation invites children’s hospitals nationwide to apply for a Dogs for Joy grant if they’re interested in launching a new in-residence dog program or expanding an existing program. Funds awarded cover costs for launching and maintaining an in-residence dog program at a hospital, including adoption of the dog, training of select staff, dog food, dog grooming needs, dog toys and more. Applicants can apply via www.joyinchildhoodfoundation.org/dogsforjoy.
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