When adopting a dog or cat, it’s important to get everything ready before you bring your new pal home — if not for your pet, for your own peace of mind, explains Brittany Feldman, president and cofounder of Shelter Chic, a nonprofit foster-based dog and cat rescue group in New York City.
Most shelters and adoption organizations do not supply new pet owners with pet accessories, other than a basic collar and name tag, so it’s up to the adopters to stock up on the must-haves. For dogs, Feldman suggests new owners make sure they have dog food, treats, toys, a leash, a harness and a collar waiting for their pup, as well as some things to keep him occupied. “It’s always good when a new animal is coming into the home to help them adjust and make sure they are busy,” Feldman tells The Dodo. “So making sure they have bones, bully sticks or Kongs is a great idea. You can even fill the Kongs with peanut butter or cream cheese and throw them in the freezer.”
If you don’t know how well-behaved your dog will be in the home, crate training isn’t a bad idea either. “It really depends on the age and temperament of the dog you’re adopting,” Feldman says. “If the dog is coming directly from the shelter, you’ll probably want a crate to make sure he is not getting into the garbage or something he’s not supposed to.”
For cats, adopters should prepare their house with a litter box and scoop, litter, cat food and treats. To help cats acclimate to their new environment, owners will want to provide a few distractions for their feline friend (and save their leather couch). “Cats play with everything they’re not supposed to,” Feldman adds, “so a scratching post is very important, and toys as well!”