Getting a new pet is an exciting time! Before you rush into Gotcha Day, there’s a couple things you can do to prepare for your new pet’s arrival and help ensure your first 30 days together are simply awesome.

1. Pet Proof Your Home. Make sure you tie up loose cords, remove any toxic house plants and put dangerous or tempting items safely away.

2. Build Your Crew of Pet Partners. Pets need professionals in their corner like a groomer, veterinarian, trainer, walker, etc. Do some research and ask your friends for recommendations.

DON’T WAIT: Once you find the pros you want to work with, call them to ensure they are taking new clients and schedule your first visit.

3. Shop for Daily Necessities. You’ll probably need supplies like gates, crates, bowls, beds, collars and leashes, toys, shampoo, towels and pet-friendly cleaning supplies.

4. Stock Up on House Training Supplies. Make sure you’re ready for house training with puppy pads or a kitty litter box and litter. Keep in mind, even an adult pet may need some training support in a new environment.

5. Create a Daily Routine. The first 30 days bring a lot of changes for the whole house. Set-up a schedule that fits with your lifestyle. Figure out what times will be best for walks, playtime and training.

6. Transition to the Right Nutrition. Your veterinarian can advise you on the best diet for your new pet which is why it’s important to see them as soon as possible. Generally, you’ll want to introduce new food over a few days.

7. Plan for Gentle Introductions to Children and Resident Family Pets. Introduce your pets or children to the new pet in a controlled, safe environment. Be watchful for signs of fear, anxiety or aggression and intervene, redirect and educate immediately.

8. Plan for Some Possible Sleepless Nights. Decide before the new pet arrives home who will get up to let the puppy out or to comfort a crying kitty.

9. Ease into Crate Training Right Away. It’s important to get your new pet comfortable in a crate for home safety and car travel. Start getting them used to a crate as soon as possible.

10. Schedule a Family Photo Session. This is an exciting time in your life as you welcome a new member into the family. There’s no better way to capture the love than creating a portrait that the whole family will cherish for years to come.

A new pet brings big changes for everyone. Reach out to a certified trainer, veterinarian or other professional for some support.

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