Tips for Adopting a New Pet After Losing a Beloved Family Member

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A pet can bring great joy to your life, offering unconditional love and affection and companionship. Losing a pet can be a great source of stress, however. Psychology Today confirms that losing an animal friend can be a truly traumatic experience, comparable to losing a friend or family member for most people. While it takes time to heal from this loss, you may eventually want to bring a new four-legged friend into your life. A new pet can help heal your heart.

As you’ve already owned a pet in the past, you probably already know that you should bring your new family pet to a veterinarian for a check-up and vaccines within their first week with you. Keep them quarantined away from your other pets until you do this. There are a few other considerations when bringing home a new pet after losing an old one, however. Here’s how to prepare.

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Make sure you’re ready for a new furry friend

Time heals. Take your time to grieve your old furry or feathered family member. Your heart will tell you when it is time for you to add another faithful friend into your life. You will start to yearn for the long walks with your buddy, or the warmness of a kitty on your lap in the evening or a bird in the bath with you. This is the perfect indicator that you’re ready for a new pet. Take the time to consider whether you’re practically ready, too. Viral Rang recommends considering whether you can provide a comfortable environment for your new pet and have enough energy and time to give them.


Decide on what kind of pet is right for you this time around


Once you’ve decided you’re emotionally ready for a new companion in your life, it’s time to consider what type of pet you want. You’re not obligated to get the same type of animal you had before. Factors include the size of your home and how much time you can give your new pet. For example, a large dog will require a big house and lots of energy— ideally, a home with a fenced backyard where it can run around. — dogs need to be walked at least twice per day. A cat won’t require as much room and doesn’t need walking. ProProfs has a quiz you can take to help determine what new addition is right for you.


Prepare your home for the new arrival


Make sure your home is ready for whatever pet you choose. If you are getting a different kind of pet from what you owned in the past, you may have to make some adjustments. For example, if you are getting a dog for the first time, is your yard secure? Family Handyman has a guide to different types of dog fences suitable for different breeds of canines. Getting a cat? Modern Cat has tips for creating a feline-friendly home, like setting up a window perch and a cat tree set by a window so your indoor cat can watch the world go by outside. If you’re working from home out of an office, ZenBusiness recommends securing heavy office equipment, keeping cords and electrical wires out of reach, and removing small objects that could be choking hazards. Puppies and kitties love to chew on cords and this is very dangerous to them.


Get the supplies you’ll need on a budget


You also have to equip the interior of your home for the animal. A dog will need basics like a leash, collar, crate, food and water bowls that sit on a stand for proper digestion and grooming supplies, while a parakeet requires a cage with lots of toys and treats. Meanwhile, a fish will need an aquarium, a gerbil or hamster will need a wheel, and a snake will need a terrarium with lots of rocks to crawl under. Whatever creature you choose, it will require some investment. You don’t have to spend big bucks on these supplies. Look for deals online from pet retailers to help you save. Thrift stores also carry a wide selection. If you aren’t sure what you’ll need to keep your new pet comfy, consult your veterinarian beforehand.


Take the time to bond with your new pet


Once you have your new pet in your home, you might find it sparking memories of your past pet that went on to Rainbow Bridge. This can make bonding with your new furry friend a challenge. To get past these feelings, set aside time to bond with your pet. If you have a dog, for example, iHeartDogs recommends undertaking tasks like training together, cuddling, and providing treats. Don’t compare them to your previous pet. Instead, focus on the unique traits that make them loveable in their own right. And remember, you will see all your pets again one day.


Bringing home a new pet after losing an old one can spark mixed feelings. Give it time. Let your new pet heal your heart. You’ll soon come to love your new pet. And your life and home will be full again.

Written by Jessica Brody and Gale Lang



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