Introducing a New Pet to the Family

For many of us with multi-pet households, we get caught up in the excitement of bringing another dog or cat into the family. Besides the changes a new pet brings for the humans, the changes can be significant to other pets. To help ease that transition, it is important to think about how to introduce the new dog or cat to other animals in the family. 

KEEP THESE TIPS IN MIND:

  • The introduction of the new pet to the other family pets is important. There are a number of options to consider. One path is that the new pet should be introduced to the other pets on neutral territory. Another way is that the new pet should be allowed to roam and smell its new home while the other pets may be confined to a space. Once the new pet has roamed around, switch, and release the resident pets to do the same. A third option is to keep a dog on a leash while a cat is introduced to help the cat feel more at ease.
  • Pay attention to the body language of all the animals in the beginning and let that determine the pace of the introduction.
  • Once all the pets are under the same roof, it is best to keep a close eye on them. It is important to remove items that might cause a squabble, such as toys or special treats, and it is essential to reinforce positive behavior.
  • Other tips include making sure each animal has his or her own food and water dish and blankets or beds.

Being patient with everyone involved is essential.  It can take time for all the animals to bond with one another and become the loving playmates you hoped they would become.

For more reading, check out some of these links:

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Image provided courtesy of ASPCA Pet Health Insurance. Read their articles on how to socialize dogs and cats.