Bringing a new pet into the home can be tricky, especially if you already have pets in the home.
Here are a few tips to help make the transition go as smoothly as possible.
When you first bring your new pet home, it’s important to let it familiarize themselves with their new environment. We recommend temporarily confining old pets to one room so that the new pet can have free range to scope the place out and feel more secure about being there.
Always introduce your pets indoors, and make sure that each pet is under control by a person. Dogs should be on leashes so that any aggressive behavior can be immediately controlled. Dogs should never be allowed to chase or corner a cat, even if the dog is friendly, as the cat may attack or never trust the dog following the event. Let them smell each other and get used to each other’s presence before letting them play.
It’s important to note that when introducing a cat to a dog, never hold the cat in your arms, as a scared cat may excessively scratch while trying to free themselves from you. You should always put the dog in a kennel or behind a gate and let the cat approach it at their own leisure.
It’s never okay to force animals to get along or spend time together –as long as they aren’t harming each other, they’re fine just co-existing. Some pets will become best friends over time, and some may just tolerate each other but live in harmony –time will tell, but forcing them to be around each other is never a good idea.
Bribing and praising the pets with treats for companion-like behavior is never a bad idea. Whenever the two do something together, even if it’s something as small as wag their tails in each others’ presence, giving them treats and praise will teach them that this behavior is good and accepted by you.
Pets should always have their own separate food and water bowls, (and litter boxes for cats) as they can become territorial over their meals. Starting out, it’s recommended to place the new dog or cat’s food and water dishes in a room different than where the first pet’s dishes are so that they don’t feel as if their food is being threatened. After they’re used to each other’s presence in the house, the dishes can slowly make their way to the same room in the house.
Introducing a new pet effectively can take days, weeks, or even months, but that’s normal –it’s simply all up to your pets and their personalities, but in time they’ll be just fine together.
As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to your local pet store if you have questions on this or any pet related topic.