A Veterinarian Confesses: Why Having a New Pet at Home Is Overwhelming (Even for Her!)

Advice for Mitigating the Stress

Of course, anyone who has taken in a new pet will attest to the fact that it’s all worth it. With that in mind, here’s my checklist to help you handle the onslaught of new pet craziness:

  • Consider taking in a pet when your household is as stable as possible (never take on a new pet at the beginning of the school year, for example). Vacation time is an excellent time to take in a newbie.
  • Make your first vet appointment very soon after you bring baby home and bring a list of important topics to cover. This way you get as much advice as possible early on.
  • Ask the breeder, rescue or shelter for advice on what to have on hand ahead of time so you’re not scrambling at the pet supply store with a new pet dangling from your arm.
  • Read up on the appropriate schedules you should maintain and divvy up the work in your household (if possible) so there’s not one person responsible for everything. (But remember, children’s work must always be overseen to be sure pets don’t suffer from juvenile negligence.)
  • Make a checklist of daily to-dos and post them prominently so you don’t miss a thing.

Finally, have patience! Knowing you’ll need it is half the battle.
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