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13 things you should do immediately after adopting a pet, according to an expert

13 things you should do immediately after adopting a pet, according to an expert

Here's what you need to know before adopting a very good boy.

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Here’s what you need to know before adopting a very good boy.
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bruev/iStock
  • Adopting a pet is fun – but the decision comes with a lot of responsibility.
  • Pets are living beings that require food, water, and care every single day.
  • They also need to live in safe, comfortable environments, and need to receive proper training to make sure they fit in with a family.
  • INSIDER spoke to Kelly DiCicco, who manages adoption promotions at the ASPCA Adoption Center, to learn how people can help their pets adjust to their new environments.
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories

Adopting a pet is an exciting and rewarding life decision. It’s also a tremendous responsibility.

When you choose to bring an animal into your home, you are making a commitment to provide for them for the rest of their life.

Depending on the type of pet you adopt, you’ll likely have to make some major changes in your life to welcome your new friend into your home.

Knowing what to expect during those first few weeks can make the process a little easier. INSIDER reached out to Kelly DiCicco, the manager for adoption promotions at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) Adoption Center to learn how people can be best prepared to ensure the post-adoption period a smooth transition for everyone involved.

Whether you’re a first time adopter or bringing another animal into your home, here are some tips on what you should do immediately after committing to your new pet.


Talk with the shelter about the pet’s personality and other needs

Before you leave the shelter, DiCicco advises talking with the staff and asking as many questions as possible about your new pet.

“When you adopt a homeless animal, the local shelter will usually note the personality traits of dogs, cats, or other animals in their care and inform potential adopters of these characteristics,” she told INSIDER.

Knowing this information ahead of time allows you to be prepared for what to expect once you bring your pet into your home. For instance, you’ll want to know if your animal has any social or aggression issues so you can look for the appropriate training program.

“Don’t forget to ask plenty of questions about the animal’s energy levels and habits before making a commitment to find a match that best fits your personality and lifestyle,” DiCicco said. “When adopting from a shelter, you often have the opportunity to learn more about the animal you are considering bringing home, including their background, energy level, and how they might get along with other animals in the house.”

If you know a little bit more about them, you’ll probably be more patient with them, too.


Make sure your home is prepared for your pet’s arrival

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Cats need a place to climb around without ruining your furniture.
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Conner Blake/INSIDER

Any time you bring a new animal into your home, you need to think carefully about how they’re going to fit in with other family members, roommates, and other pets.

“Adopting an animal is a commitment,” DiCicco said. “The first step is to make sure everyone in the household is ready for the responsibility in advance of making the decision. It is important to consider whether your children, other guests or family members who may be in frequent contact with this animal, and your resident pets, are able to accommodate the addition of another pet to your household.

This also means making physical adjustment to your home so that it is safe for an animal to inhabit. “Pet proofing” is similar to “baby proofing.” Basically, it means taking extra caution to ensure your animal doesn’t get into anything that could harm them.

Remove items that could be eaten or chewed on, and make sure electrical wires are out of reach. DiCicco also recommends making sure any plants in your home are safe, since many plants are toxic to animals and should be moved either out of the household or out of reach.

She added that, depending on the animal, you made need to clear the floor of certain objects to keep them from climbing on them or knocking them to the ground. This is especially the case with cats, who are known for shimmying their way up countertops and other posts.

“For kittens, ensure that your home has been kitten-proofed. This includes making sure that any small hideouts where the kittens could escape or get stuck, including around and underneath appliances, are well blocked,” DiCicco told INSIDER.


Have all your supplies on hand

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You’re gonna need one of these.
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Flickr/Laura LaRose

Ideally, you should have all the necessary pet supplies in your home before you pick up your new pet. This keeps you from leaving them unattended during those first few days while they’re adjusting to their new home.

DiCicco said there are some essential items you should have on hand immediately.

“For cats, this includes a collar, litter and litter box, food, and bowls,” she said. “For dogs, this includes a leash, collar and harness, bed, food, and bowls. For training purposes, an appropriately sized dog crate is also useful. For small animals like rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs and reptiles, this includes an appropriate cage or enclosure.”


Make sure your pet has their own safe space

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It needs some personal space, too.
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iStock

“Just like people, most animals enjoy having a fluffy and cozy place to call their own, and it’s important that pets have a bed or dedicated area that allows them to relax,” DiCicco said.

You may think there’s no better idea than snuggling with your puppy every night. But your feelings might change as your puppy grows into a full sized dog.

“If you let your new pup sleep in your bed on the first night, it may be a hard habit to break a few years down the line,” DiCicco said.

Make it a point to give your pet their own cushion, nook, or entire playpen area if you have the room. By providing them with that safe space, you’ll help them adjust much better to their surroundings.

DiCicco added that sleeping areas aren’t the only indoor spaces to consider when adopting.

“Cats and kittens also need a litter box, which means there is an extra step to figure out the best place to put the litter box so that it is easily accessible to the cat,” she said.


During the first few days, allow your pet to the freedom to explore their new home with limitations

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They need some room to fly around.
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Shutterstock

Many different outcomes can occur when you open the door and bring your pet into their new home for the very first time. Some pets may wander in cautiously or hesitate to look at anything. Others may squirm nervously and need to be put in an immediate cage. And some may see it as a chance to run excitedly through your entire home and mark their territory.

“To help your new animal feel at home, set up their bed and food bowls ahead of time to give them a place to rest and get comfortable,” DiCicco said. If they know right away there’s a place for them, it can be much easier for them to get comfortable.

For cats and dogs, DiCicco recommended giving them some space to get acquainted with the sights, sounds, and scents of their new home, while keeping an eye on them.

“When it comes to cats, some kitties are more sensitive than others and may prefer to initially be confined to one room, gradually being given more space to explore over time. This helps them adjust to their environment without feeling too overwhelmed,” she said. “If you are getting a puppy or dog who is not yet housetrained, consider creating a special area for the dog. using baby gates or a collapsible pen ahead of time so that any ‘accidents’ don’t damage carpets. Kitchens often work well for this.”


Be sure to have the right food on hand

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Make sure your animals get the proper noms.
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Shutterstock

Although you may have a particular diet you want your pet to follow, you probably shouldn’t force it upon your new pet all at once.

As DiCicco explained, it’s best to discuss your pet’s nutrition with shelter staff, if you’re adopting, and the animal’s vetirinary health team. If you’re going to make any changes, take it slow.

“Shelter staff can give you insight on what your new pet has been eating, along with their preferences, and the veterinary office is a great place to get nutritional recommendations and to get feedback on different brands of pet food,” DiCicco said.

This also means paying attention to how your pet responds to certain foods during those first few months. Sometimes the diet you had in mind for your pet works well for one dog but doesn’t work all that great for another.

DiCicco said that once you ascertain that your pet doesn’t experience any adverse reactions to the new food, gradually increase the ratio of new food in their diet until it’s completely turned shifted.

“Not only does this help their tummies and bodies adjust to a new diet, but it may even encourage a picky animal to start liking a food they wouldn’t try before,” she said.

While some animals – like cats and dog – have a straightforward variety of food brands and diets to choose from, other pets require other types of food as well.

“For example, rabbits and guinea pigs must be given a variety of vegetables daily,” DiCicco said. ” Always double check to be sure that the veggies you are providing are non-toxic to the species and that the nutritional content can be well handled by their systems.”


Begin potty training them immediately

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Get them into a routine.
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Shutterstock

One way to create a stable environment for your pet is to give them a space where they can safely use the bathroom. If your new animal is a cat, that means you should have their litter box in a designated area that’s accessible to the cat, said DiCicco. But if they’re a dog, you need to start working with them on a regular housebreaking.

Animals tend to thrive on routine, DiCicco said. This means you should mirror your pet’s feeding schedule with a walking or potty schedule that gives them the chance to “go” outside or in their litter box.

According to the ASPCA, you should praise your pet anytime they successfully “go” outside so they understand that they’re making a positive choice.

Of course, this entire process will take practice and patience by both the owner and pet. But as long as you keep things consistent and establish those routines, your pet will eventually learn what to do.


Come up with a plan for obedience training

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If you have multiple pets, they need to learn how to get along.
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iStock

Training your pet is essential for their own safety and the safety of others around them. Even the most well meaning animal that’s easily excitable can quickly become out of control and hurt someone if they aren’t taught how to behave around others.

By establishing clear boundaries from the beginning, you’ll help your pet develop positive behaviors that will last throughout their lifetime. You’ll also bond with them a lot better because they’ll know to listen to you as an authoritative figure.

It’s important to remember that all rescue animals come from unique situations, which means that training isn’t necessarily one-size-fits-all. Some animals may have aggression issues, while others may be mischievous for other reasons. But this doesn’t mean they are untrainable.

If possible, you should come up with a plan for training your pet before you actually adopt them.

“All animals are different,” DiCicco said. “If your dog needs to learn some basic manners and skills, like ‘sit,’ ‘down,’ and ‘come’ when called, you might benefit most from group obedience classes with a professional.”

Whether it’s group classes or at-home private sessions, different types of training suit different animal temperaments. There are programs available for many types of pets including dogs, cats, rodents, and even birds.

“While formal obedience training for cats is less common, you may find yourself wanting to train your cat in certain ways, like being more comfortable while being placed in a carrier,” DiCicco said. “This type of training can easily be done at home by feeding your cat’s meals in the carrier itself – this way, they begin to associate it with something they enjoy! Positive reinforcement with food rewards is always encouraged.”


Slowly introduce them to your family (or roommates)

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It might take time for your lizard to warm up to people.
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Flickr/Chris Yarzab

Although you may be excited to show off your new pet to friends and family, it’s important to err on the side of caution. Your pet may not be ready to interact with other people, and that’s completely OK.

“You wouldn’t expect a new person in your home to know your routine and to snuggle you on command, so apply the same ideas to your new pet,” DiCicco said.

Your animals have been thrust into an entirely new environment. Giving them too much change at once may be overwhelming. In other words, you may want to avoid showing them off for the first time at an event like a birthday party where there’s bound to be a ton of people.

It’s better to take it slow, DiCicco recommended, and let a dog or cat approach you. By allowing the animal to initiate the interaction, you’re less likely to frighten them and trigger potentially aggressive behavior. “It’s also particularly important in the first few weeks of having a new pet to get into the habit of consent petting,” DiCicco said. “This means that instead of the human initiating the petting, the dog or cat initiates the petting. Stop every few seconds, and only start again when they nudge you for more.”

While this allows the animal to build trust, it’s still critical to be mindful that this approach isn’t guaranteed to work 100% of the time. DiCicco noted you should always gauge your pet’s behavior to see how they respond to different people.

“If the animal begins to show signs of feeling uncomfortable you should end your session and try again later. In dogs, this could include ‘whale eyes’ – a term used to describe when a dog shows the whites of their eyes – paw lifts and pacing,” DiCicco said. “In cats, this may include hissing, swatting and keeping their ears pinned back. People don’t like being forced to interact with someone they’re not comfortable with, and neither do pets! Giving the dog or cat a few of its favorite tasty treats during the session can help.”

As a general word of caution, DiCicco recommends you don’t leave babies (or small children) unattended around any pet. This is because they can’t comprehend why an animal wouldn’t want to share food or be smothered with touch, and are at risk for provoking your pet in the wrong way. Instead, keep them at a distance and under your watchful eye so your pet can get used to their presence.


During the first few weeks, pay close attention to how your pet is adjusting to their surroundings.

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Pets need some time to figure out the space around them.
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Shutterstock

As a new pet owner, it’s your job to ensure your animal feels comfortable in their new home. But this takes much more than buying all the supplies, food, and training books.

“Be on the lookout for other signs that they’re comfortable,” DiCicco said.”In cats, this could include slow blinks and leaving their legs stretched out. In dogs, this could include soft body language and eyes and a wagging tail.”

“Both cats and dogs are social species, and have evolved behaviors related to forming and maintaining social bonds,” she continued. “One sign of comfort that is easy to spot is when your furry friend seeks proximity by following you around the house. It’s also common for cats to ask for attention by rubbing against your legs or for dogs to put a paw on you as a call for engagement.”

Of course, it’s equally important to note their negative reactions and avoidance behaviors as much as their positive ones.

“Some avoidance behaviors your pet leaving the room or maintaining a buffer zone along with subtle signs of stress such as yawning, lip licks and shake-offs,” DiCicco said. “This can mean they are uncomfortable with a situation, not necessarily you. If you notice this, see if you can do something to help them feel more at ease.”


Set some money aside for emergencies

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Make sure you appropriately budget for caring for your pet.
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Rafi Letzter/Business Insider

According to CNBC, emergency vet visits can cost families anywhere from $800 to $1500 dollars. An unexpected expense like this often forces people to make difficult decisions about their pets, which can be devastating.

To avoid finding yourself in this situation, you need to develop an entirely separate fund that’s specifically for your pet’s needs.

“As responsible pet parents, we have an obligation to care for our furry friends in sickness and in health. Bringing home an animal is more than the initial adoption fee,” said DiCicco.

Be sure to also factor in all the different non-emergency costs if you want a better idea of how much you should set aside.

“Additional costs of caring for a cat or dog include food, veterinary care, grooming, and proper identification – a collar with tags and a more permanent identification such as a microchip, which is often included with adoption,” DiCicco said. “The ASPCA has a pet care cost table that shows the annual estimated costs of owning a pet. It’s important for new adopters to understand the financial commitment of caring for an animal and plan accordingly.”


Schedule their first vet appointment

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Dogs need vaccines, too.
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Rafi Letzter/Tech Insider

DiCicco recommends bringing your pet to a veterinarian within the first few weeks of adopting, which will allow them to administer vaccine boosters and establish a plan for ongoing care.

Remember, your pet is a living creature, which means they require check ups, vaccinations, and health care. Prior to leaving the shelter, DiCicco recommends you consult with the staff to get a summary of your pet’s health profile so you can learn about any medical issues your pet might face, like diabetes, hypertension, or allergies.

But as far as other pets go, the priority is ensuring they’re properly vaccinated and spayed. The good news is that many shelters take care of this process for you.

“Many shelters, including the ASPCA Adoption Center, make sure all adoptable animals are spayed or neutered, up to date on age appropriate vaccinations, and microchipped before they are ready to find a home,” DiCicco said.

Some examples of vaccines your dog might receive while in the shelter are the DA2PP and FVRCP vaccine. Both dogs and cats over 12 weeks old also receive rabies vaccines.

In any case, it’s a good idea to create a medical record for your pet and keep track of their overall well being. The sooner you make that vet first visit, the sooner you’ll be able to get a thorough look at your pet’s health and develop plans for how to ensure they stay healthy for life.


Practice patience

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Animals can be frustrating, but they’re worth it.
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Jim, The Photographer/Flickr

Let’s face it, you’re probably going to run into a few challenges during those first few weeks – or months – with a new pet. Whether you’re dealing with a cat who won’t stop scratching furniture or a parrot who won’t stop chirping at night, it’s bound to happen.

“No matter where they live, where they come from, or where you find them, all animals – even animals within a specific breed – have individual personalities and dispositions,” DiCicco said. “Just like people, they need time to adjust to new surroundings and environments.”

The key to moving past those hurdles is to understand that developing good habits doesn’t habit overnight. The best thing you can do is display a consistent attitude so your pet understands that you want what’s best for them, no matter how frustrating it is.

“You can help your pet adjust by being patient and giving them time to get acquainted with their new home,” DiCicco said.”If your new pet is hiding or seems fearful at first, don’t fret! Most animals adjust to new environments after varying amounts of time, so your new dog or cat may not act the same in the first few days as they will once they feel comfortable later down the line.”

8 signs that your pet is lonely and how to help

8 signs that your pet is lonely and how to help

INSIDER consulted with veterinarians and pet experts to identify signs that your pet needs company and how you can help.

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INSIDER consulted with veterinarians and pet experts to identify signs that your pet needs company and how you can help.
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Shutterstock
  • Excessive hair loss and fur damage may indicate boredom, loneliness and even severe separation anxiety among household pets, according to experts.
  • If your pet is experiencing loss of interest in playtime or increased sleep, these may be warning signs of loneliness.
  • Too much isolation for your furry friend can even cause destructive behavior like howling and ripping up furniture.
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.

We all want our furriest family members to be happy, but crammed social calendars or busy work schedules can sometimes mean pets need to be left on their own. Though it’s hard not to feel guilty in these situations, it can also be hard to identify if your pet is lonely and what you can do about it

INSIDER consulted with veterinarians and pet experts to identify signs that your pet needs company and how you can help.

Your pet follows you around the house constantly

Having a pet that follows you from room to room or whines whenever you're out of view may be showing signs of loneliness or separation anxiety.

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Having a pet that follows you from room to room or whines whenever you’re out of view may be showing signs of loneliness or separation anxiety.
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peepnee/iStock

Dr. Joe Alcorn, veterinarian at Care Animal Hospital in Temecula, California, told INSIDER that a lonely pet may sometimes follow a family member around the house in order to get the companionship they crave. Though it’s not unusual for animals to want to stay close to their favorite humans, having a pet that stalks you from room to room or whines whenever you’re out of view may be showing signs of loneliness or separation anxiety.

Make sure you’re giving your pet focused attention when you are around to help get your pet back on track. Keep them occupied with interesting or treat-stuffed toys when you need to leave them alone.

Your pet isn’t as playful as they once were

Lonely animals may often be so distressed or unhappy that they don't engage with their owners or other pets.

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Lonely animals may often be so distressed or unhappy that they don’t engage with their owners or other pets.
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Shutterstock

If your formerly-energetic pet now appears listless and lazy, loneliness may be to blame. Dr. Alcorn told INSIDER that one surprising sign of loneliness in household pets is a lack of interest in playtime. Lonely animals may often be so distressed or unhappy that they don’t engage with their owners or other pets.

In some cases, pets may lack the social skills to be comfortable playing with other animals due to a lack of consistent company. Make sure your pet is getting frequent access to the company of other animals and make an effort to play with them consistently.

Lonely dogs might develop lick granulomas

Bored or anxious dogs can develop a negative relationship with grooming habits.

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Bored or anxious dogs can develop a negative relationship with grooming habits.
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Shutterstock

Not all signs of loneliness in pets are behavioral. A lonely dog might begin to lick or bite at their own fur, causing hair loss or damage.

“Lick granulomas are a common manifestation of boredom or anxiety in dogs, and present as small circular sores that are often on the dog’s carpus or ‘wrist,’” Dr. Caroline Wilde, staff veterinarian at Trupanion, told INSIDER.

Many lick granulomas start small but can develop into major skin lesions that require medical intervention and even surgery. Getting your dog to a vet and identifying the trigger for their obsessive licking is the best thing you can do if you spot evidence of lick granulomas.

Lonely cats may experience hair loss

Lonely cats left to their own devices will sometimes take their hygiene to a harmful extreme and develop a condition known as

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Lonely cats left to their own devices will sometimes take their hygiene to a harmful extreme and develop a condition known as “bare belly syndrome.”
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Shutterstock

Cat owners know that felines have a fondness for keeping clean. Lonely cats left to their own devices, however, will sometimes take their hygiene to a harmful extreme and develop a condition known as “bare belly syndrome.”

“When cats are anxious due to their owner’s absence, they will often over-groom. This can result in hair loss, usually on the cat’s lower belly,” said Wilde. Hair loss due to excessive grooming can often be identified by hair regrowth, hinting that the cat is removing hair rather than struggling to grow it.

As always, checking with your vet about any fur or body changes is the best course of action.

They’re sleeping more than normal during the day

Because animals are flexible sleepers, lonelier pets are likely to fulfill most of their daily quota during the day and sleep less at night.

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Because animals are flexible sleepers, lonelier pets are likely to fulfill most of their daily quota during the day and sleep less at night.
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Solovyova Lyudmyla / Shutterstock

Noticing that your pet is sleeping more during the day or not settling down at night could be a clue that they’re feeling lonely or bored.

“Lonely pets often sleep a lot through the day because there is no distraction,” said Alcorn.

This daytime napping can result in restlessness in the evening or waking up in the middle of the night.

Of course, many pets need much more sleep than most adult humans. According to the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, dogs and cats generally require about 12 hours of sleep per day to be healthy and happy. Because animals are flexible sleepers, lonelier pets are likely to fulfill most of their daily quota during the day and sleepless at night.

Pets who have lost an owner or friend may linger near their belongings

Giving your pet lots of love and attention while they adjust to the absence can help them feel safe and less lonely.

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Giving your pet lots of love and attention while they adjust to the absence can help them feel safe and less lonely.
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Shutterstock

Pets who are missing someone who is no longer around might exhibit certain behaviors that can tip you off to their potential loneliness.

“If your pet has lost an animal friend or human that they were very closely bonded to, they will sometimes sit near that person’s favorite spot in the house or sleep in the other pet’s bed,” Dr. Yolanda Ochoa, veterinarian and regional veterinary director of Fetch My Vet, told INSIDER.

Though there’s nothing you can do to bring back a person or pet who has died or left their lives forever, giving your pet lots of love and attention while they adjust to the absence can help them feel safe and less lonely.

Your pet’s appetite decreases

A change in feeding patterns maybe linked to stress or anxiety, with loneliness being one possible cause.

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A change in feeding patterns maybe linked to stress or anxiety, with loneliness being one possible cause.
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Dmytro Zinkevych/Shutterstock

One indication of pet loneliness can be a change in appetite. Ochoa told INSIDER that a lonely pet may begin to eat or drink less than they used to. A change in feeding patterns may be linked to stress or anxiety, with loneliness being one possible cause.

It’s important to remember that loss of appetite at mealtimes can also be a sign of medical problems or even snacking on too many treats throughout the day, so talk to your vet to rule out any serious causes.

They’re destructive or howl when left alone

Excessive howling might be a clue that your furry friend is feeling bored or under-stimulated without you around.

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Excessive howling might be a clue that your furry friend is feeling bored or under-stimulated without you around.
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Bigandt_Photography/ iStock

Does leaving your pet alone usually mean endless barking or whining at the door? Excessive howling might be a clue that your furry friend is feeling bored or under-stimulated without you around.

Some pets feel such fear about being left alone that they might claw the furniture or rip up carpeting. In these cases, it’s likely that your pet is suffering from separation anxiety rather than simple loneliness. Talk to your vet about how to reduce or eliminate this behavior.

Polar bear goes for CT scan and has semen extracted for artificial insemination

Polar bear goes for CT scan and has semen extracted for artificial insemination

Of course there was duct tape.

Amid the precise administration of anaesthetics, the heart-rate monitoring and the many other cautious scientific preparations involved in getting a polar bear into a CT scan machine at Brookfield Zoo in Illinois, the United States, recently, it came down to good old duct tape (laid over cloth strapping) to hold the animal in place so that detailed images could be made of its innards.

The animal strapped to the high-tech, high-weight capacity, medical device table like a loose (and furry!) pipe in a handyman’s basement was Hudson, Brookfield’s 12-year-old male. He had been put under earlier in the morning for a variety of procedures.

More than just the ursine equivalent of an annual physical, these included the potentially groundbreaking ones of undergoing the CT scan and having semen extracted for a couple of tries at artificial insemination. (Hello, lady polar bears of Brookfield and of Madison, Wisconsin’s Dane County Zoo!)

And, yes, making sure an apex predator is effectively sedated is an especially important job when you consider that, at one point, more than 40 Brookfield staff got involved in the pushing, pulling, truck driving, strapping and gurney wheeling involved in getting the bear from its enclosure to the computerised tomography machine. An early wake-up would not be a happy moment, for bear or, especially, humans.

The CT scan will be the first, or at least one of the first, Brookfield veterinary radiologist Marina Ivancic believes, of a living polar bear. It will be helpful in building a baseline of knowledge for the species whose existence in captivity becomes increasingly important as its icy natural habitats diminish.More immediately, it will let the zoo’s veterinary staff examine Hudson in areas standard medical exams or even ultrasounds cannot reach, probing deep into the body to see anything from a tumour to arthritis.

Polar bear

Hudson is under anaesthesia for a routine check-up,  CT-scan and semen extraction. Photo: TNS

“This is the first opportunity we’ve had to get an animal this size through a CT scan,” said Dr Michael Adkesson, the zoo’s vice president of clinical medicine. Only six zoos have a version of the device at all, and Brookfield has the biggest, but it only recently acquired a new, sliding, spinning table – made for horses, with a 953kg capacity – that lets it feed its biggest animals through the CT imaging “donut”.

“We’ve got the largest scanner, and with this table, we’re also now not limited by the weight of the patient,” Adkesson said. Hudson checks in at about 465kg.

In addition to the routine check-up plus scan, “we’re taking advantage of having him under anaesthesia to do semen collection on him, hopefully for successful artificial insemination, which has not been done in a polar bear before,” said the veterinarian.

Captive polar bears have been mating but have not been as successful in reproducing as species management experts hoped. Developing reliable artificial insemination techniques, as has been done in other large mammals, would be a big plus for bears and their keepers.

“We would then be able to just move semen between facilities and we wouldn’t have to actually move the bear,” he said.

So the semen was taken from the animal in a procedure that did not involve a magazine and a private room. (A chemical stimulates the reproductive system and pushes sperm towards the tip of the urethra, where specialists draw it out.)

Good news: In the two samples taken, microscopic examination showed “about 90% motility, which is about as good as you can do” on the fertility scale, explained Erin Curry, a reproductive physiologist from Cincinnati Zoo, Ohio, assisting with the process. “We were very pleased with the collection today.”

Fresh semen is the best semen so Curry planned to drive immediately to Madison, Wisconsin, the next day to perform procedure No.1, then return to Brookfield the next day to try to impregnate Hudson’s sometime natural partner there.

“So if you see the Cincinnati Zoo truck driving on the highway, you know we’ve got the polar bear sperm,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Brookfield staff manoeuvred Hudson onto the fancy new table, turning him onto his back, which would have been cute in an animal that had not evolved into a killing machine. At Adkesson’s direction, they moved him a little this way and a little that so that he would line up precisely with the donut.

“It’s a little harder than we thought,” the doctor said.

“It was a lot easier during the dry run when there was no bear on the table.”

It would take several hours before the images would be fully taken, processed and able to be analysed on the big screen in the radiology office of Ivancic.

But even a preliminary “scout” image showed promise. “This grey part is the fat,” she explained, pointing to a smaller screen outside the CT room. “The white here is the pubic bone.”

Adkesson headed back into the room with a crew of staffers to manoeuvre the bear into slightly better scan position. But it was all pretty good.

“Any CT images of polar bears is going to be a huge win for the zoo community,” said Ivancic.

“I don’t know if there are any others out there.” – Tribune News Service/Chicago Tribune/Steve Johnson

A bat flew out of an 86-year-old man’s iPad case, bit him, and infected him with rabies

A bat flew out of an 86-year-old man’s iPad case, bit him, and infected him with rabies

Roy Syvertson didn't expect to find a bat in his iPad case.

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Roy Syvertson didn’t expect to find a bat in his iPad case.
source
WMUR-TV
  • 86-year-old Roy Syvertson from New Hampshire got a shock when he opened up his iPad case to find a bat squeezed inside.
  • He told WMUR-TV he took the bat outside, but not before it nipped his finger.
  • He thought nothing of it until the next day when he saw the bat had died. The New Hampshire Department of Fish and Game then told him to seek medical attention immediately.
  • “It’s a good thing I didn’t decide to cuddle him a little bit,” Syvertson said, as the department later found out the bat had rabies.
  • Syvertson has recovered from his intruder’s attack, but he said it will remain a mystery as to how it snuck inside in the first place.
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.

When opening up your iPad, a rabid bat is probably the last thing you’d expect to see. But that’s what happened to 86-year-old Roy Syvertson from New Hampshire, when he noticed a surprise guest hiding in his tablet case.

“I opened it up like that and I flipped it around” Syvertson told WMUR-TV, showing how he usually gets his iPad out to watch something. “I looked, and the bat was coming out of here, between the cover and the back of the pad … And then I got up, still squeezing it, which I’m sure he wasn’t happy about, and I took him outside.”

Syvertson said the bat nipped his finger, which he thought felt like a bee sting at first. It was only the next day when the bad died that he realised: “I might have a problem.”

Syvertson called the New Hampshire Department of Fish and Game about his concerns.

“He said ‘I would like you to go to the hospital right away, waste no time,’” he said. “It’s a good thing I didn’t decide to cuddle him a little bit.”

rabies bat

source
WMUR-TV

Read more: A homeopathy enthusiast gave rabid dog saliva to a 4-year-old to treat bad behaviour – and scientists aren’t happy

Rabies is usually transmitted through the bite of an infected animal, and it is deadly if left untreated. Some symptoms include headache, weakness, nausea, and a fear of water brought on by trouble swallowing.

“A bat that flies into your room while you’re sleeping may bite you without waking you,” the Mayo Clinic website states. “If you awake to find a bat in your room, assume you’ve been bitten.”

At the hospital, Syvertson was given rabies treatment straight away, which was the right call as the Fish and Game department later confirmed the bat was rabid.

Syvertson has recovered from his intruder’s attack, but he said it will remain a mystery as to how it snuck inside in the first place.

“My joke of ‘he probably knew my password’ is not going to last forever,” he said. “That won’t be funny for a long time.”

Watch the full story from WMUR-TV below.

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The secret danger of superbugs in petting zoos

The secret danger of superbugs in petting zoos

In addition to being a fun and educational place, petting zoos for children provide a safe haven for drug-resistant superbugs, which could result in lethal pathogens being passed on to visitors, researchers have found.

In contrast to more traditional zoos, petting zoos allow visitors – particularly children – to hold and touch the animals kept there.

The study, by scientists at Ariel University in Israel, looked at the risk of drug-resistant bacteria becoming established within these spaces.

Among the bacterial strains identified in petting zoos were the highly virulent E. coli ST656, which causes travellers’ diarrhoea, and E. coli ST127 – a frequent cause of urinary tract infections in humans.

The appearance of the animal also doesn’t seem to be any indication of what kind of illnesses could be caught from it.

Professor Shiri Navon-Venezia, who led the team, says they found drug-resistant germs present in healthy-looking animals.

“We recognise the high educational and emotional value of petting zoos for children,” she said.

“Therefore, we strongly recommend that petting zoo management teams implement a strict hygiene and infection control policy to reduce the risk of transmission between animals and visitors.”

Recommended measures include the installation of hand-washing stations, the prohibition of food and drink consumption near the animals, and separation from visitors of any animals receiving treatment with antibiotics.

The researchers looked at eight randomly-chosen petting zoos geographically distributed across Israel, taking samples of faecal matter, as well as samples from the skin, fur or feathers of 228 animals belonging to 42 different species.

In total, 382 samples were collected from 228 animals, with 12% of the animals found to be colonised with at least one drug-resistant bacterial strain.

Thirty-five different species of harmful bacteria were found. – dpa

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