New Pet Adopter? Here’s How to Help Your Pet Adjust to New Surroundings


During this time of social isolation, fewer things make staying indoors and working at home more fun than a new pet.

With the recent increase in pet fostering from local shelters as well as the uptick in adoptions via HSMO’s new adoption curbside pickup, it’s important for pet parents to know the best tips and tricks for welcoming your new friend.

Pet parents can remember the rule of three when welcoming a new pet into the home. Allow a pet three days to decompress, three weeks to learn a new routine, and three months to feel completely at home.


Here are six tips to help new adopters become the best pet parents:

  1. Get the basics: When adopting or fostering, there are a few things owners absolutely need including a leash, collar, bedding and food that are all appropriate for the pet. It’s usually a good idea to buy these necessities prior to introducing the pet to their home. Ensure the bed is big enough and the food is nutritionally balanced.
  2. Create a comfortable environment: For humans, the first few days at a new school or workplace are always a little strange and stressful – and it’s the same for animals. Once being introduced to their new home, pets may be anxious, not eat much or have accidents in the house. Some animals will attempt to hide under or behind furniture or choose to stay in a room they find safest. All of this is normal behavior, and owners can help their pet become more comfortable by understanding and showing them how nice their new home is. If owners are having trouble creating a calm and comfortable environment, pheromones like Adaptil or Feliway and nutritional supplements like Zylkene or Solliquin for pets can be extremely helpful for a new dog or cat. These and other over-the-counter products can be purchased through the Animal Medical Center of Mid-America’s clinics for curbside pickup or through the online pharmacy.
  3. Don’t hesitate to call the veterinarian. The Animal Medical Center of Mid-America is an essential service and is still open during this time. If you notice that your new pet isn’t feeling well, if your pet gets injured or if your pet needs vaccinations or heartworm preventatives, schedule an appointment at amcma.org.
  4. Establish a schedule: Pets become most comfortable if you perform activities around the same time every day. If you have a dog, go for a walk at the same time each day and signal the activity using a recognizable word or phrase. For cats, announce when it’s feeding time. Pets can recognize short phrases like “Dinner time” or “Time for a walk.” Using simple phrases helps establish a reliable routine that makes pets feel secure.
  5. Be patient: It can take animals some time to adapt to their new environment and owners shouldn’t expect an instant connection with their new pet. It is common for their personality to change as they adapt to their new home, which means they may act differently from how they did in the shelter. They can be more excitable, shy or even temporarily forget their potty training. Even new noises, such as a vacuum or blender, could be disturbing during this time. Be patient and they’ll warm up to you and your family!
  6. Remember, you’re doing something awesome: Adopting or fostering a shelter pet can be a lot of work, but it’s important to remember the good deed you’re doing. You’re providing an animal with a safe and happy home, and in return, you’re receiving unconditional love and affection. Oftentimes, these rescued animals have had a rough first chapter and you’re helping make their next one much happier.

For more information on how to care for your pet or to adopt one of your own via HSMO’s curbside adoption process, visit hsmo.org/adopt. Looking for some tips on puppy socialization while practicing social distancing? Click HERE!