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Healthy Pets

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After One Pet Dies: Should You Get a New One?

While you may be tempted to replace the pet you lost, it's best to take some time to think and grieve, one expert says.
WebMD Magazine - Feature

Losing a much-loved pet is never easy. But even harder for many is being without a four-footed companion. Veterinarian Sheri Morris, DABVP, of Willamette Valley Animal Hospital in Keizer, Ore., offers a few thoughts about welcoming a new furry friend into your life.

Woe begone. Finish your grieving first. You can't simply replace a lost pet. You have to be ready for a new personality. "People need time to miss their pets and to think about them," says Morris. When you find yourself wanting a companion on your walks or a wagging tail to greet you when you arrive home, you'll know it's time.

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Is your pet driving you crazy? Many behaviors that are completely natural for dogs and cats—like barking or meowing, scratching, biting, digging, chewing, escaping and running away—just don’t go over well with their human companions. Changing or managing those undesirable behaviors isn’t always easy. Although advice abounds in the form of popular TV shows, books and well-meaning friends and family, the best and most efficient way to resolve your pet’s behavior problems is to seek assistance from...

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Animal house. Consider the needs of your other household pets. They'll need time to adjust. Make sure you're constantly around to separate them if problems arise. "The most important thing is to supervise," Morris says. "You never know if they will accept the new pet quickly." Dogs adapt faster than cats: one to two weeks versus a month to six weeks.

Prepare yourself. When she lost one of her dogs, Morris she waited a year before she felt ready for a puppy. Again, it's best to be over the grieving stage before taking on a new member of the family, she says.

Reviewed on October 05, 2011

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