May is National Pet Month

Dr. Larry Mangum


Appalachian Animal Hospital

Whether it’s a dog, a cat or something a little less traditional, May is the perfect time to bring a new member to your family.

However, it’s important to remember that adding a member to your family is a serious decision that shouldn’t be made lightly. Sure, now, during the time of coronavirus, you may have extra time to make sure your pet has the love and attention needed. But consider the future as well. A new pet is a long-term commitment, for both you and the animal.

Here are some tips for bringing a new pet home:

Introduce Your Pets

When bringing a new pet into the family, set up a proper introduction with any current pets to help make the transition easier. For dogs, schedule the initial meeting at a neutral environment outside of your home. Cats typically need a more gradual introduction to get comfortable. Start by keeping your felines in separate rooms with their own litter boxes, but let them see each other periodically through a glass window to get used to sharing the space. Allowing your pets to play with each other’s toys can also create familiarity with their new housemate’s scent.

Pet-Proof Your Home

Because new pets can be especially curious and jump onto high surfaces or squeeze into small spaces, ensure clothes, cleaning supplies, electrical wires or cords and other potential hazards are out of reach. Other measures you can take to pet-proof your home include keeping toilet lids closed, covering vents and latching trash can lids.

Keep Your Pet Happy and Healthy

While a proper diet and plenty of exercise can go a long way toward keeping your pet feeling his or her best, ensure your furry friend looks the part by regularly bathing him or her and maintaining a healthy coat by brushing often with at-home grooming tools. It is also important to find a veterinarian who’s equipped to handle breed-specific needs and schedule routine checkups to stay on top of vaccines and any potential health concerns.