Welcoming a new puppy into your family is extremely rewarding—but it can also be a challenge. If you’re preparing to adopt, rescue or purchase a new puppy, kitty, dog or cat, read this do’s and don’t’s list to help you prepare.


  • Before you adopt, make sure you’ve asked yourself:
    1. Am I prepared for the time commitment and responsibility?
    2. Have I done my research?
    3. Am I expecting something unrealistic?
  • Purchase a crate and create a safe space for your pet. This will help prevent him from getting overwhelmed or frightened. The crate should be large enough for your pet to stand up and turn around in but no bigger.
  • Pet-proof your house. You don’t want your new pet ingesting chemicals or getting an electric shock. Pet-proof (the same as baby-proofing) your home to protect your pet.
  • Switch over to new foods gradually. Find out what food your new pet was eating at the time of adoption and feed her that food to begin with.
  • Think of things from your pet’s perspective. She suddenly has found herself in an unfamiliar place with strangers. She’s nervous and stressed. She may have “accidents” and misbehave. By responding with love and understanding, you’ll help her relax and start to feel at home.


  • Make a spur-of-the-moment decision to buy or adopt. Take time to get to know the dog or cat you want to adopt before you bring them home. If you have other pets, will they fit in? Do they like children? Do they have any medical needs?
  • Expect your pet to get himself used to your home immediately. Pets, like people, take a while to get used to new surroundings and routines. Don’t overwhelm them with too many things the first few weeks.
  • Assume your pet knows what is and is not okay to chew on. You can use a spray like Vet’s Best’s Bitter Cherry Spray to keep your pet from chewing on items around the house.
  • Immediately change their familiar and preferred diet. Diets need to be changed slowly to avoid upset stomachs.
  • Get angry or upset with your new pet for misbehaving. Your pet is likely misbehaving because she is stressed out. But just to be safe, take her to your vet for a checkup. Then figure out what the problem is—not enough potty breaks?—and a solution.

Infographic: Vet Advice For Bringing Home A New Puppy