By Amy Wilson, charity manager, Support Adoption for Pets
Amy provides some tips on helping find the right rescue pet for you and ensuring it settles into its new home.
1. Before you make the commitment to take home any pet, you need to ask yourself some questions:
a. Do you have the time to look after the pet?
b. Is your home ‘pet friendly’? Gardens need to be secure for dogs, wires need to be protected for house rabbits and living near a main/fast road is dangerous for cats.
c. Can you afford to keep a pet? The costs can be huge, not just the adoption fees and food but annual and one off vaccinations, insurance, fleeing and worming.
Remember if/when you go on holiday you need to think about what happens to your pet, boarding fees can be high. Add into this any unexpected vet bills not covered by insurance and the annual cost can add up.
d. Are your circumstances stable or likely to change soon? Re-homing a pet is a serious commitment and changes to your family size, home or finances can have a big effect not just on you but also your pet.
2. Research the rescue centre and ensure it is reputable. You want to find out what sort of processes the rescue conducts, for instance does it vaccinate, neuter and/or microchip? Finally make sure that the rescue offers full life time back up and will take the pet back if need be. You can find a list of reputable rescue centres on our website
3. Look into your pet’s background, remember a rescue pet will have previous experience that shapes its behaviour. Don’t expect the perfect pet from day one. It will need time and your help to learn.
4. Make sure the pet you pick is okay with your family dynamic. Some animals aren’t happy around other pets and children. It’s important to make sure your current pets are able to adapt to the change, the best way to do this is to visit the pet at the rescue more than once and to take the family – including your existing pet dog.
5. If all the introductions have gone well and if appropriate you’ve passed the home check, then it’s time to start getting your home ready for a new arrival. The key here is to ensure you have everything that you need and also to set up a quiet area for the pet to disappear to whilst it adjusts to its new home.
6. Bringing your pet home can be a very exciting time but remember this environment will be very new to them – sights, smells and noises! Don’t overwhelm the pet with lots of new faces on day one, let them get used to the “immediate” family first.
Every animal is different but as a rule of thumb here are some generic tips:
– set them up in their new home, provide food and clean water and let them become accustomed to their new surroundings.
– will want to sniff and find their way around, but also set them up a bed to retreat to and let them have some quiet time. If introducing a new dog to an existing dog, do it on neutral territory; for example, on a walk and on a lead.
– will want a place to retreat to; let them come to you and make sure that all the doors and windows are closed.
7. Don’t give up! During the first couple of weeks a pet is getting used to its new home. If they have come from a cattery or kennels then home life will seem very strange and they won’t understand. Accidents may happen but this is your time to teach them where to go to use the toilet and what is acceptable but don’t scare or frighten them.
8. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice from the rescue. They will probably want to ensure that the pet is settling in well so they will likely be in touch to check everything is going okay anyway, however they should also be open to helping you with their experience and background knowledge of the pet.
9. The use of Adaptil* or Feliway** may also help rescue dogs and cats relax into their new homes.
10. Finally enjoy the experience – re-homing a rescue animal can be very rewarding and they can give you a lot of love!
*Adaptil offers a natural, convenient and unique solution to canine stress, helping comfort and reassure dogs in challenging situations and prevent or reduce stress-related inappropriate behaviours.
**Feliway is an easy-to-use product that helps create a loving and comfortable home environment where your cat will spend more time with you. This special scent (odourless to people and other animals) that Feliway utilizes is a replication of the pheromone that cats leave naturally when they are feeling comfortable in their environment Support Adoption For Pets is an independent animal charity, which runs 350 re-homing centres across the country in Pets at Home stores. It is also the UK’s largest grant giving animal charity supporting local rescue centres and animal organisations nationwide.