Just like humans, pets can become overwhelmed by their environment, and they require time to decompress and adjust to their surroundings.
What Is Decompression?
Decompression is a calming period that a new pet needs when first arriving in your home. It is imperative they have this time to adjust to the unfamiliar environment, people, and other animals. The average decompression time for dogs and cats is about two weeks, but it differs for every pet.
Many people do not realize how crucial decompression is, and how this will impact how your new pet sees themself as part of your family.
Decompression for Dogs
It’s important for pet pawrents to know how to calm a dog down. This can be beneficial in any situation, but particularly when helping a new pet adjust. Creating designated calm spots where your dog is allowed to rest and relax is important. Comfy, cozy bedding is a necessity, and is especially appreciated by senior dogs. Your new dog should have some safe spaces in the home where they can withdraw for some alone time. If you reward them with treats when they go to those areas, it will help them feel more settled in their new environment.
Is Decompression for Rescue Dogs Different?
Understandably, dogs who go through the rescue process can need time to adjust and decompress in their new homes. All the new surroundings, people, and sometimes other pets inside the new home can be overwhelming or confusing for them. Look out for signs of anxiety in your rescue dog, as this can signal that they are not adjusting well and need more decompression time. When dogs are overstimulated, they experience the opposite of separation anxiety, and they need calm, quiet time to wind down.
The shelter can tell you what type of food your dog has been eating and make you aware of any allergies. If you decide to change their food, do so slowly to avoid upsetting their digestive system. Dog food that supports brain development is particularly important for pets to decompress. Stock up on appropriate treats for training and rewards.
Decompression for Cats
All responsible cat pawrents should know how to calm down a cat during stressful periods, like bringing them home for the first time. We’re not kitten around about this! As is true with dogs, cats also require a low stress time to be set up in an unfamiliar environment where they will feel safe and secure as they adjust. They should be given their own private space away from other animals in the house, and be allowed to retreat to it whenever they want. These zen treats can also help your kitty chillax. Keep in mind that they should not be forced to socialize before they are ready.
Bottom line: Don’t stress, decompress!