You’ve decided it’s time to add a furry friend to your family. Congrats! It doesn’t matter if you want to make your new pup Instagram famous or you’re just living out your inner cat lady; adding a pet to the mix is a really big deal. (Single? Pets can change your dating life for the better.) So, for a milestone this big, we decided to call in the pros. Insert Caitlin Ultimo, Chewy’s resident pet expert. Below, she shares her best tips for bringing home a new furry companion and making sure the transition goes smoothly. Read up and get ready for some serious fun with your new best pal.

1. Buy the basics. Before your new pal arrives, make sure you have a comfy pet bed ready, plenty of food, bowls, treats, and, of course, toys! If you’re bringing home a puppy, stock up on potty pads, or for a kitten, pick up a litter box and a big bag of litter. If you have all the essentials on hand before your new companion arrives, you’ll be able to enjoy those first moments together instead of worrying about everything you need to buy.

2. Pet-proof your home. Childproofing your house isn’t just for toddlers; it’s for pets too. “Pet-proof your house before your new pet arrives. Store things that could be toxic, like chocolate, cleaners, medicine, or alcohol, in out-of-reach places,” Ultimo says. “Organize and tuck away wires, cover upholstered furniture, and consider picking up a pet gate so you can slowly and safely acclimate your pet to the new space.”

3. Find a vet. “One of the first things you’ll want to do with your new pet is take him to the vet for a checkup,” Ultimo says. Spend some time researching vets in your area and ask friends or family for their recommendations. Once you’ve found a vet with great reviews, set up an appointment within the first few weeks of your pet’s arrival, Ultimo says.

4. Allow plenty of time to bond. If it works with your schedule, bring home your new pal on a Friday night. That way, you have the entire weekend to bond. Ultimo says, “This will help him adjust and become comfortable with his new surroundings and with you and the rest of his new family too.” If you feel like your new pal is anxious or having trouble adjusting to the new space, “consider trying out a calming aid like a dog calming mist or cat calming spray,” Ultimo says. “These calming aids can help ease his nerves during this transition period.”

5. Keep things quiet. When your pet is first adjusting to a new family and a new home, a large group of people and pets can be super overwhelming. Make sure you both have had some time to adjust before inviting your whole crew to celebrate your new addition. Ultimo says, “While you may be tempted to show off your new pet during his first few days at home, try to postpone any welcome parties or large group introductions until you are both comfortable.”

6. Be patient. It may take some time for your new furry friend to get used to a new routine. That’s totally normal. It’s super important to be patient and stick with your training, even if your pet doesn’t catch on at first. “Set a routine that you both can follow and depend on; that means try to go for walks and feed your pet at set times, so he can become comfortable with your schedule,” Ultimo says.

7. Spend QT together. This is the most important tip of all. “The more time you spend together playing, cuddling, and just hanging out, the stronger your bond will become,” Ultimo says.

Did you recently bring home a furry companion? Show us pics of your new pet on Instagram @BritandCo!

(Photos via Getty)