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.
Systematic desensitization and counterconditioning are two common treatments for fears, anxiety, phobias and aggression—basically any behavior problem that involves arousal or emotional reaction. When the problem is rooted in how a dog or cat feels about a particular thing, it isn’t enough to just teach him a different behavior—like sit instead of lunge and growl. What’s most effective is treatment that will change the way he feels about something. This treatment will eliminate the underlying...
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.