Introducing New Pets
Read these helpful tips for introducing a new pet to your existing pets.
According to the 2015-2016 APPA Survey, 42% of pet-owning households have more than one pet. Whether you’re looking to welcome a furry new addition to your one-pet family, or opening your home to your fifth or sixth pet – there are steps to take to help ensure you have as smooth a transition as possible.
Check out these helpful tips on introducing a new pet to your existing pet(s).
- Slow and steady – Before the first introduction, be aware that this process is a marathon not a sprint. It may be tempting to surprise your trusted cat to a new kitten friend right away, or bring a new dog home and ‘play it by ear’ – but experts will tell you there are many baby steps to take before the formal introduction. Be patient – it will pay off in the long run.
- Neutral ground – Some pets are instinctively territorial when they’re at home, so if you have the opportunity to introduce your pets on neutral ground – take it! An outdoor play session at the local dog park gives you the chance to have the dogs interact without the extra tension you may experience in the home.
- Separate rooms – Pets should be kept separate at first – ideally the new pet will have use of their own room for the first few days with food, water, toys and a litterbox (for feline friends).
- Sniffing - If you have a crate-trained dog, lock them up and give the new dog or cat the opportunity to explore their new home and sniff out their new furry companion. While still primarily kept in separate rooms, try swapping out a few items, like toys or blankets, so the pets can get familiar with their new playmate’s smell.
- Keep a routine – Your new pet has a lot to adapt to, but your current pet(s) will have hurdles to overcome as well. It’s important that you keep your routine consistent throughout the transition. If your trusty companion is used to having two walks a day at the same time – stick to it! Your new pet should be introduced to ‘life as usual’ as soon as you’re confident they’re ready.
- Step in when needed – When your pets do finally come face-to-face be prepared to step in if necessary. Making strange sounds and being nervous are relatively normal, but if the behavior of either animal appears to be bordering on aggressive take a step back and separate the animals. Try again in a few hours (or days). It gets easier!
Having a multi-pet household can be a fun and rewarding experience, for you and your pets. Be patient, be observant and enjoy every minute of life with your growing furry family!