The best thing you can do to help your pet settle into their new home is to give their new family as much information about him or her as you possibly can!
Prepare a transition guide for your pet's new family; include everything from the below list and anything else that comes to mind, along with your pet's food, treats, bed, toys, litterbox for our feline friends, and any other familiar items they love. This won't take you long at all and will be invaluable for your pet and their new family. Also, don't forget to check out our important Pro Tip (scroll down)!
- Known likes and dislikes: Does your pet like to be petted a certain way? Does he growl when his paws are touched? Does your cat refuse to be picked up and held?
- Current diet and feeding schedule: The new family is free to change your pet’s diet, of course, but they should try to keep everything the same for at least a few weeks. Changing the environment and being without you will be stressful, and may cause digestive issues. Adding a change of diet to the mix can multiply that. To help set your pet up for success give the adopter any leftover food, treats, chews or bones along with their current diet and feeding schedule.
- Activity preferences and schedule: Do you walk your dog one mile, twice a day? Is he or she used to just having a bit of playtime in the backyard? Does your cat get cranky unless you play with her and tire her out? What are her favorite toys? Make sure to let the new family know all the things your pet likes (and dislikes), along with what their normal routine is, so your pet can continue to get what he or she needs (and also, for example, won’t be expected to do too much immediately, if they’re not used to much exercise or activity).
- Commands: What tricks or commands does your pet know, and what are the exact words and/or hand motions needed to evoke the behavior? Does your pet usually get a treat when they do a trick/obey a command? Are they treat-motivated? If not, what other positive reinforcement helps them to learn new tricks/commands?
- Litter box preferences (cats): Have you discovered any quirkiness in your kitty’s litter box-using habits? Does she need complete privacy? Does she prefer a certain brand or type of litter? Does she prefer a covered litter box? Does she need a litter box on each floor of the house (if applicable)? Is she used to the litter box being cleaned out once or twice a day?
- Potty/outside schedule (dogs): How often does your dog need/want to go outside to potty? Every three hours? Every five hours? In the mornings, do they go outside to potty immediately or do they prefer to wait until after their breakfast? How long (during the night) is your dog comfortable “holding it” (7 hours? 8 hours?) Will your dog let them know if they need to go out or will they suffer in silence?
- Sleeping arrangements: Is your pet used to sleeping in the bed with you or do they prefer to sleep on their own bed? Do they whine if they're not in the same room with you at night? Do they prefer to sleep on their own bed in their crate?
- Send along any remaining pet food, as well as your pet’s favorite bed, toys, litterbox, leash, carrier, etc. Those items are familiar and will greatly help your pet settle in to their new home.
Pro Tip: In your document, be sure to include your pet’s microchip number (a 9 digit numeric, 10 digit alphanumeric, or 15 digit numeric number) and their chip registration company. If you don't know their chip number, a veterinary clinic or animal shelter will easily be able to scan your pet and give you their chip number. Next, confirm where your pet's chip is registered by simply going to PetMicrochipLookup.org; this service will search 39 registries at once (so cool), and show you which company (or companies), their chip is registered in (e.g: Home Again, 24Pet, AKC Reunite).
Thank you for doing for setting your pet up for success as they transition into their new home!