When you bring in a new pet to your home, it is a big adjustment for everyone. Not only do the humans in your family need to adjust, so too do any other pets you have. How they take to each other depends a lot on their personalities, but there are some things that you can do to make the transition easier. Some pets end up being best friends, while others may just be tolerant of each other.
What you really need to worry about is making sure that they are able to live together. Even if they don’t become best friends, they need to be able to live harmoniously. You need to have realistic expectations and take care when you introduce them to each other.
Tips for introducing a new pet
Let new pet explore alone.
The first thing you should do when bringing a new pet into your house is to let it get a feel for its new home. Confine your other pets in a different room and let the new one explore the rest of the house. This will allow the new pet to get familiar with its new surroundings before having to confront or deal with any other animals.
Make the introductions indoors in a controlled environment.
When you introduce your new pet to your existing pets, do it inside. This will allow you to control the situation and not have to deal with outside forces beyond your control. If you are introducing dogs to each other, have them each on a leash. This way you can help to prevent or immediately stop aggressive behavior. If you’re introducing a dog and a cat, make sure to maintain control of the dog. You don’t want the dog to chase or corner the cat. This could cause problems. Even if the dog is just playing, it will still stress out and scare the cat.
Give your pets time to adjust to each other.
You can’t expect your new and existing pets to get along right away. It could take some time for them to get comfortable around each other. Don’t force them together and let them adjust at their own pace. Some are more timid and unsure around other animals. If you try to push them together, you may cause more issues. They could view it as a negative experience and make the entire process take longer.
The animals may just want to sniff each other through a gate at first. Let them get comfortable. They will gain confidence and decide when to face each other.
Use plenty of positive reinforcement for all pets.
You want your pets to associate each other with good things. Make sure to praise and reward them when they do something good with the other. Even if it’s just a wag of the tail, anything positive is deserving of praise. This will help them further warm up to each other.
Don’t hold a cat when introducing a dog.
If you are introducing a new dog to your cat, you don’t want to hold the cat in your arms. This could further upset the cat if you’re trying to hold it back. If it becomes frightened or nervous, you’ll probably end up getting scratched. Instead, confine the dog to a kennel or behind a gate and let the cat approach when it’s ready.
Prevent food and water conflicts.
When you have more than one pet, make sure to give them both separate water and food bowls in different locations. This will help prevent fights over food or water. If you have more than one cat, they should also have separate liter boxes.
Take extra precautions when introducing a dog or cat to caged pets.
It is possible for caged pets, like rabbits and birds, to live in harmony with dogs and cats, but you do need to be careful. They should be introduced under controlled supervision. Don’t assume that placing a cage high will protect the caged pet. Cats are pretty agile and can usually get to high shelves.
Supervision is key.
Until you’re positive that your pets get along, make sure to keep supervising them whenever they’re together. You can put one of them in its own room if you’re not around or otherwise occupied. You don’t want to risk one of them getting injured until you’re sure they can behave together.
It can take some time for your pets to completely adjust to each other. You need to be patient and maintain a positive attitude during this time of transition. Your attitude will go a long way to getting your home acclimated to a new pet. Contact our Team at Longview Animal Hospital with any questions or to make an appointment.