So you’ve fallen in love again and adopted a new furry friend to bring home and be a part of your growing family. While you’re at the shelter or rescue, it’s easy to only think about the big eyes in front of you and the desire to create a forever home for that beautiful creature, but reality can hit you quickly when you remember that it might be hard for your other furry friend to accept this new family member. Many shelters and rescues will now ask about other pets already at home when considering families for adoption. The success of the adoption can depend greatly on how the pets react to each other – and whether they hit it off or not.
Outside of taking your new friend for a veterinary check-up at your trusted Southeastern Massachusetts veterinarian to guarantee safety, health and vet care for all cats and dogs in your home, New Bedford pet owners should consider these introduction tips. Your vet will let you know if you need to isolate the new pet for awhile after vaccinations, deworming, spay/neuter surgery, or other treatments to prevent issues for both your new and existing pets. Other treatments, such as flea and tick prevention, should also be provided and your new pet checked over carefully to make sure you aren’t bringing any parasites into your home.
How to Introduce Dogs
Bringing a new dog home to become a part of your “pack” can be exciting, but also a bit nerve-wracking. What if they don’t like each other? Some shelters will request that you bring your existing pets in for an introduction, but if that doesn’t happen there are things you can do to ensure the best possible outcome.
- Step One – Don’t just bring the new puppy or dog home. Have them meet at a neutral location. Have a friend bring the new pet to a park where you can walk your dog or dogs and have them meet without feeling as though they have to defend their territory at home. Having a friend walk the new dog will help your pack feel more comfortable.
- Step Two – Don’t hang out there just standing. Allow the dogs to greet each other and do their sniffing, but then start walking together as a group. Studies show that dogs will accept other dogs faster and bond more closely if they are able to walk in a pack.
- Step Three – Spend some time training the new dog to understand the “rules” of your household and become familiar with everything. If the new dog is a puppy and housebreaking needs to happen first, make sure to provide a space for training so the other dogs won’t start going indoors on the pee pads.
How to Introduce Cats
Cats can be a bit more difficult to introduce, as they are even more territorial than dogs in many ways. There is a hierarchy involved between cats, so make sure not to slight your existing cat or cats when bringing a new feline into the home. Have a friend or family member help you with the introduction in case you need to break things up in a hurry.
- Step One – Don’t put your new cat in the same room as your existing cat (or cats) right away. Make sure to keep them separated for a few days. This will help the new cat smell the existing pets and become familiar with their scent and will provide your pets with the chance to understand that there is a new cat in the house.
- Step Two – Purchase separate litter box, beds, and toys for the new cat. They may eventually share everything after they get used to each other, but it is always a good idea to have separate items at first. Most cats won’t appreciate another cat sleeping in their favorite spot or playing with their toys.
- Step Three – Introduce the cats after a few days being careful not to add stress or pressure to the situation. Go slowly and separate them so you can try again at a later time if tensions rise during the initial introduction.
What to Do If Pets Do Not Get Along?
Don’t give up right away if your pets do not get along at first. How would you feel if a stranger moved into your house and started cuddling up to your favorite person? Take your time, but seek out the assistance of your trusted Southeastern Massachusetts veterinarian or animal behaviorist for professional advice and support if you need it. Providing quality vet care for cats and dogs is essential to create a happy and healthy home. Schedule regular veterinary check-up appointments for all pets by calling 508-996-3731. Anchor Animal Hospital provides quality care for New Bedford pet owners and pet owners throughout the Southcoast region.