How to ensure your new pet is a successful part of your family

Many families and individuals welcomed a new pet into their homes over the holidays, and while everyone's experience with a new pet is different, there are certain realities and responsibilities that all pet parents face sooner or later.

Whether your new furry friend was a choice made by your entire family, or a surprise to you, when the excitement and novelty wears off, it's time to make sure you're ready to commit to making your pet a perfect fit for your family.

Temma Martin, Best Friends Animal Society Public Relations Specialist, joined us with some things the new owners need to consider.

She brought along Lilly, who is available for adoption at Best Friends in Sugar House.

Quality time is very important during the first weeks that a pet is in a new home, and consistency and routines make things easier for everyone.

Puppies and kittens do best with consistent feeding and eating schedules; this also helps with housebreaking and litter box training.

Choose age and size-specific pet toys.  Also, be watchful of objects or toys that might look interesting and tasty to your pet, but could be ingested and cause potential stomach and bowl problems.

Puppies and kittens as well as adult animals should be confined to a safe room or crate when unsupervised, especially during the first few weeks.  And, even if you're not noticing any training or health problems, it's best to be proactive and make an appointment to have the pet examined by a vet.

Know that puppies and kittens sleep a lot when they are young, so even if they're not showing naughty bad behaviors yet, they might in a few months when they're awake more.

Frustrated families often blame pets for behavior problems that could have easily been solved with training.  Obedience classes are also great for socialization, which is important throughout a dog's lifetime, but especially when they're young.

For more information please visit bestfriends.org.

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