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Animal Skin and Allergy Clinic Blog

Introducing A New Pet To Your Existing Pets

two dogs

Bringing home a new furry loved one is an exciting time. Our own enthusiasm, though, can get in the way of how our existing pets will respond. 

One big happy family, right? Not all of the time, unfortunately. 

Our pets are creatures of habit (just like us) and a change can result in a less than successful meeting when done too quickly, or without careful planning.

It’s important to make this change a positive experience for the new pet and your existing loveable companions. This is why the team at Animal Skin and Allergy Clinic wants to give you some suggestions for successfully introducing a new pet to the mix.

Tips for Creating a Great Meeting of Fur Friends

If your current best four-legged friend is very sociable, you may just assume that an introduction will go smoothly. That the new pet will cozy right up to the family. This is an ideal, but it is not usually how the scenario goes. Any pet, even the well socialized, needs time to ease into change. 

Consider, too, that adopted pets often come with unknown backgrounds. Fears, anxieties, and inappropriate behaviors may need to be addressed for a successful introduction. We recommend some of the following tips to make a harmonious start.

  1. Keep pets separated for a week or so, allowing them to sniff each other under the door and settle into the presence of other pets in the home. Make sure to have all of the daily needs of your new fur friend ready for their arrival, such as a litter box, waste bags, toys, bed, treats, and so on.
  2. Allow your new pet to explore the home slowly, while existing pets are in another room. Giving them some supervised time to get to know the home without the distraction of other animals can help them acclimate.
  3. After time has passed, introduce your pets to each other in a supervised way. Choose a neutral spot like the backyard, and have both of them on a leash, allowing them to sniff each other. With cats, be mindful of not holding them in your arms. They will potentially feel threatened, since they need the autonomy to leave the situation. A common room in the home is a good choice for cats.
  4. If the meeting is with some growling or strife, don’t worry. Just go back to separating them and continue to allow time for adjustment. 
  5. Praise both of your pets for their good behavior. Keep things light and positive, encouraging better behavior through positive reinforcements, like treats and verbal praise.
  6. Make sure to give your pets an equal measure of time and attention. It can be easy to focus solely on your new friend, but maintaining consistency of affection for all of your besties will benefit everyone.
  7. Feed pets in different rooms and at the same time. Each should have their own water and food bowls. Cats should have multiple litter boxes (we recommend two per cat).
  8. Even when you feel there is peace in the home, make sure to supervise your pets when they are together for the first few weeks. Observe and make note of any behavioral changes in either pet. Call us if there is aggression or fear, so we can guide you through some socialization tips.

Forever Friends: Questions About Introducing a New Pet 

Many pet families share their homes with multiple pets and it can be an incredible joy to see everyone bond and keep each other company. This doesn’t usually happen overnight, which is why it’s important to have a plan in place for introducing a new pet to your existing pets. 

If you would like more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact us. We look forward to meeting your new love!