The first night with a new kitten or puppy is a very exciting time. We want cuddles and kisses and we want them now! But we often forget one important thing – our new pets have just been separated from their mum and siblings and brought into a new world filled with unfamiliar sights and scents.
Puppies and kittens are often anxious and afraid when confronted with unfamiliar people, animals and environments. This is completely normal and is often a natural reaction designed to protect them from potential harm. That is why it’s important to ensure your new puppy or kitten is comfortable so they can learn to cope with new situations and become more confident well-rounded animals!
The most important tip is to be patient! It can take some time for both you and your new furry friend to adjust to each other and for your pet to learn to trust you. So, if you’ve just decided to add a new member to your family, we have put together a few tips and tricks to help you get them settled into their new home.
First Night Home with a Kitten
Kittens can be separated from their mothers after 8 weeks old. For the first night it is important to make sure you have set up a calm, quiet and inviting environment to help them feel secure in their new surroundings.
It is often recommended to bring your kitten home with some bedding or blanket. This is a familiar object that smells like home and will help comfort them on their first night.
A separate room should be prepared in advance to give your new family member space to settle in with minimal stress and disturbances. By placing a cat carrier or basket will provide an enclosed space for your kitten to feel secure in. We suggest a laundry or bathroom room fitted with a comfortable bed and a lot of blankets.
You should also have small bowls of food and water placed a small distance apart (cats don’t like their food right next to their water) and, of course, a litter tray. Once the kitten has investigated and found them all, it’s safe to leave the room for a while. It is common for your kitten to show little interest in eating or drinking so don’t worry, they will soon get used to their new surroundings and tuck in!
As hard as it might be, you should resist the urge to let your new pet in the bed with you. You don’t want any devastating accidents to occur during the night! Instead, you should set up a sleeping area in a safe room within the home and begin establishing routines such as regular mealtimes.
First Night Home with a Puppy
Puppies can be adopted after they’ve reached the 8-week mark. This age is generally equivalent to a 14-month-old baby! So, needless to say, they need a lot of extra care.
During the first few weeks, it is a good idea is to set up a crate as a temporary bed and line it with lots of blankets and toys. This will be an area they can go and take naps and relax in when they want a bit of alone time. It is important to know that this is the puppy’s safe space and to leave them alone when they are in it.
Dogs are social creatures and you should never isolate your puppy. Instead position their crate in a public space, such as near your bed, in the hallway. You may be tempted to keep them in their own space when they start to cry and howl, but complete isolation at such a young age can have a detrimental effect on anxiety and behavioural changes. Although you might lose sleep for a few nights, bonding with your new pup is crucial for their development.
Toilet Training: Why You Should Start Early
Now is the fun part… Toilet training! A good tip for toilet training your kitten is to use the same brand of kitty litter that was used at their first home. Any familiar scents are a bonus, and this just might speed up the toilet training process. Be sure to show your kitten where the litter box is by placing them on the tray after sleep and meals.
Also, once they’ve used the tray for the first time, it is a good idea to leave their droppings there for the first 24 hours. This will help them recognise where to continue toileting in the future.
For puppies, it is highly likely they will go where and when they need to go for the first few weeks. But this doesn’t mean you can’t start toilet training. When you notice any toilet needing behaviour, quickly take them outside on a leash and let them go in the garden. The earlier you start, the sooner they will catch on and the fewer accidents you’ll be cleaning!
As soon as you bring your new puppy home, take them to their designated “potty spot” This helps establish a potty training routine from the get-go. Puppies need to go every two hours at minimum, and immediately after eating or drinking, sleeping or playing. When they do their business, be sure to praise them! Accidents happen, but the more you focus on the positive, the quicker they will learn!
Give Your New Addition The Best Start
Bringing home a new kitten or puppy is an exciting time! But it’s important to be prepared for the challenges that come along with it. By following the tips in this article, you can help make sure that your new pet has a smooth transition into their forever home.
If you are looking for advice on what to do when you first bring your new kitten or puppy home, The House Call Vet is here to help! Our team of professional and experienced veterinarians can provide you with the advice and guidance you need to ensure that your new pet is healthy and happy.
However, beyond the first night, the ongoing commitment to your pet’s health is important! Regular checkups and vaccinations play a crucial role in keeping your newest addition happy and healthy. These preventive measures not only detect and address potential health issues early on but also contribute to the overall happiness and health of your pet.