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5 Tips For Planning To Adopt A New Family Pet

These five tips help you plan and prepare to adopt a new family pet using the Organized-ish New Pet Printable Planner.

Adopting a new family pet is really exciting, but can also be a little stressful. I know this first hand, as the mama of five rescued fur babies. Between my experience as a pet owner and my time volunteering with local animal shelters and rescue organizations, I’ve learned a lot about the proper planning and prep-work it takes to adopt a pet semi-seamlessly into your family. Here are my five biggest tips for making sure you’re ready before Gotcha Day arrives.

Set Family Ground Rules

When the decision has been made to add a new furry family member, your first order of business is to hold a family meeting. It’s so important to get everyone on the same page. During your meeting, phones and TVs should be turned off and everyone should be completely present. Here are a few topics that should be on your meeting agenda:

  • Specific ground rules for pet care and boundaries
  • Who will be in charge of each responsibility involved with pet ownership and agreement that all chores are divided evenly
  • Whether the pet will be included on future family vacations, and if not, who will care for the pet during these trips
  • How the pet will get appropriate exercise and playtime
  • What will happen if rules are broken
  • Reiterate that adoption is forever and pets shouldn’t be returned or surrendered to a shelter. Proper training and care will be given and the pet is a permanent member of the family just like humans.

Pet-Proof Your House

Bringing home a new pet is a lot like bringing home a new baby. Whether you’re adopting a puppy or kitten or you’re giving an older animal a forever home, you need to be extra cautious about the safety hazards in your house. This may sound silly, but get down on your hands and knees and crawl around the house. Look for things you could knock over, swallow, choke on, get tangled in, or get stuck in.

Add baby-proofing devices to bifold doors and cabinets, baby gates at the top of stairs, and relocate houseplants. As the pet gets older and more used to daily life, you’ll be able to slowly shift away from these extra precautions. But for now, pretend like you’re bringing home a clumsy toddler.

Shop For Supplies In Advance

Part of preparing to adopt a pet is providing the animal with a safe and cozy place to call their own. Remember, you’re uprooting this baby from the only security it knows, putting it in a strange new place, and smothering it with pets and kisses from strangers. That all sounds pretty scary, huh?

By researching all the supplies you need for the type of pet you’re adopting and making a detailed shopping list and buying everything ahead of time, you give yourself the time window to make sure that everything is all set for their arrival. You may find that the place you planned on putting a puppy crate isn’t really a good spot because you keep stubbing your toe on it every night.

After having all the supplies on hand and in a place you’re comfortable with, you can bring your new pet home to a bed and feeding place that is all theirs, and the stability of knowing it won’t move or change.

Assign Responsibilities

Adopting a new pet is a family decision, and taking care of the pet is the responsibility of everyone in the house. Even very young children can assist with daily chores like filling the water bowl and brushing the pet’s fur. When parents share the work of caring for the pet, and kids are included in daily pet care routines, you are setting a good example of how to be a good fur mama or fur daddy when they grow up and have pets of their own.

Create a calendar or chart and assign each family member specific responsibilities to do daily or weekly to provide for the pet’s needs. Until everyone gets in the swing of things, it’s a good idea to keep that chart on the refrigerator for easy reference.

Create An Adoption Agreement For Kids To Sign

Your kiddos likely begged and pleaded to adopt a pet for quite a long time before you made it over to this blog post and are in the home stretch of prepping and planning for the official Gotcha Day. Eventually though, the excitement will wear off and kids get less excited when your sweet kitten is now six years old and your kids are more interested in buying Fortnite skins than cleaning the litter box.

During your family meeting when you set ground rules, you should also present kids with an Adoption Agreement. It’s basically a contract that lays out exactly what your child can and cannot do when it comes to caring for, playing with, and interacting with the new pet. Be specific on you expect them to treat the animal and what will happen if they break these promises.

Want An All-In-One Printable New Pet Planner?

You can find all the pages shown above, along with lots of other trackers, planners, logs, checklists, and more in the New Pet Planner in the Organized-ish Binder Kit Collection. This 24 page printable planner has everything you need to plan for your new pet, get the family on the same page, and keep up with important information throughout the pet’s lifetime.

And a portion of all Organized-ish Binder Kit Collection purchases is donated to an independent animal shelter or rescue organization in need every single month. Not only does your purchase help homeless and lost pets, but you can actually nominate your favorite organization to receive a donation. Learn more about the Organized-ish Give Back Program here.

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