Help your Newly Adopted Pet Adjust at Home

Pet Care Posted Dec 1, 2020
These top five tips will get you off to a great start when integrating a new pet into the home.
Lots of settling-in time

The pet you see in a shelter may act completely different in a home environment. Allow lots of time to get your adoptable used to their new home. 

For dogs, introduce them to their new surroundings in a calm manner and avoid taking them on adventures outside the home straight away. It's not a house inspection, so you don't need to rush them around every corner of the house, you can keep them away from certain rooms and set clear boundaries. Get them into a good routine each day.

For cats, depending on their personality they may take longer to come out of their shell in their new home. They like to explore every inch of your home for great nap spots, other smells too if you have children or furkids. Setting them up in one room of the house first with their food, litter, cat posts and toys is ideal so they can get used to the surroundings and activities of the home. Then slowly introduce them to other rooms, family members and existing pets. Read more about introducing your cat to other furry family members here.

I need to go to the toilet!

For cats, most know how to use a litter tray from an early age, make sure you set these up in their room and ensure you have one litter tray per cat. Regular cleaning of their litter trays is advised. This way cats don't go elsewhere if there is a poop in the tray that hasn't been removed by their human!

For dogs, show them outside the most appropriate toilet area first, after a long car ride to their new home they will want to go after smelling the backyard! Every hour, once an hour, take them outside so they get used to their designated spot.

For puppies and pets in apartments, puppy pads or indoor portable toilets need to be set up. Remember to take your puppy outside every hour to ensure they get used to the outdoor toilet routine. Be patient, there will be accidents indoors as they grow up and get used to the routine.

Don't forget to reward your pets when they do the right thing, don't punish them for mistakes. 

Crate training for dogs
This is great for showing your pet where their chill out zone is and it helps you when it's bedtime and when you're busy. Read more about how to crate train your dog here.


Dogs in RSPCA centres are used to being fed from an enrichment toy such as a Kong or Busy Buddy toy for mealtimes.  It allows pets that 'guzzle' their food to take more time, and also provides mental stimulation to keep mealtime entertaining! Try this with your newly adopted dog or puppy in their crate or instead of using traditional food bowls too, see what suits them best.

RSPCA Veterinarian Philippa Cox says, "It's good to break up your dog's mealtime so they are fed a small amount in the morning and evening, it helps prevent bloat especially in larger breed dogs. Also, never exercise your pet before and after mealtimes as this can also lead to bloat. It can be life threatening!"

Enrichment toys are great for when you have to leave for the day to keep your pet busy. It builds a positive association for your pet when you have to leave for work or an outing. Read more here.

For cats, you can choose from a range of enrichment toys to keep mealtime fun and it can also be beneficial for cats that may be overweight.

Enrichment toys for your pet can be purchased at our World for Pets Store ( 


For dogs, keep their mind busy with a range of hardy chew toys in the yard. It helps puppies going through teething to ensure they use toys, not your hands or other items in your home too!

For cats, there are a range of toys on the market to keep them amused. Cat wands also help encourage kittens to play with objects, not your hands! Sometimes a simple cardboard box being moved around the room and replaced every few weeks keeps cats exploring new hidey holes too. An indoor life can be quite rewarding and safe for your feline and our wildlife! Read more about indoor cat enrichment here.

If you have questions about your newly adopted pet contact RSPCA Qld on 07 3426 9999 or for behaviour training contact our RSPCA School for Pets team via [email protected]

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