Introducing A New Pet Into Your Household

The process of Introducing A New Pet Into Your Household takes patience. The amount of time this process takes varies from pet to pet. Whether or not your pets get along depend on their personalities. Your current pet may view a new pet as a threat; there may be a few scuffles as each animal establishes his "place in the pack". Do not interrupt them if there is no danger of injury, and provided they are supervised at all times.

Some pets will merely tolerate each other. Others will become great companions. Here are a few tips for introducing a new pet into your home.

  1. Visit the vet. Before making an addition to your home, consult your veterinarian about what type of pet would fit best with your current pet family. Make sure your current pet or pets are up to date on their vaccinations.
  2. Pet proof your home. Electric cords should be put away. Sockets should be protected. New pets will explore so make sure there is nothing on the ground that will endanger them.
  3. Exchange smells. Exchange items that have each pet’s smell on them such as blankets and toys prior to the pets meeting.
  4. Walk the resident dog separately with the new addition on neutral territory.
  5. From the first meeting, help both dogs experience "good things" when they're in each other's presence. Let them sniff each other briefly, which is normal canine greeting behavior. As they do, talk to them in a happy, friendly tone of voice; never use a threatening tone. (Don't allow them to investigate and sniff each other for too long, however, as this may escalate to an aggressive response.)
  6. After a short time, get the attention of both dogs and give each a treat in return for obeying a simple command, such as "sit" or "stay." Take the dogs for a walk and let them sniff and investigate each other at intervals. Continue with the "happy talk," food rewards, and simple commands.
  7. Place the new cat in a carrier in the center of a room for 15 minutes a day, a couple times throughout the day.
  8. Use a leash and collar on the new pet while walking through your house.
  9. Physical introductions should be supervised. Once the resident pets are comfortable with the smell and sight of the new pet
  10. Make gradual introductions when Introducing A New Pet Into Your Household. You can make the transition easier by using gradual introductions. It cannot be a forced situation. They will come around. Sit on floor with your new pet and let the older pet make their moves at their own pace. It will happen. The older pet may growl or show teeth and signs of discomfort for a while, but it is only temporary. The main thing is to show a great amount of attention to the current residents of the home while introducing the new “intruder”. The older pets need to be assured that you still love them very much and have plenty of room to love another.
  11. During the periods of reintroduction, watch closely for any signs of hostility, such as flattened ears, growling, hissing or staring. Within the first 30-60 seconds of the initiation of aggressive behavior, use a foghorn or a battery-operated water pistol to negatively reinforce the pet for that behavior. If the aggression persists, place the perpetrator in a neutral room for approximately 15 minutes. This deprivation of human contact further emphasizes that the aggressive behavior is unacceptable. When the pet is quiet and calm, s/he may be allowed to rejoin the owners and other animal(s).
  12. If the aggressor continues to react unfavorably to the other pet despite the use of these methods, a flooding technique can be used. The pet who initiates the aggression is placed in a wire shallow crate in a room in which the other pet has free reign. This forces the aggressor to acknowledge the other animal’s right to exist in the household. While stressful for both animals involved, this method may hasten the resolution of the problem.
  13. The road to social harmony with cats often takes a little longer. Felines will normally react to dogs by hissing or swatting with their paws, and will try to escape by running or hiding.
  14. Never leave the pets alone together unsupervised in those first few months. Cats need to gain confidence around new dogs and don't want to be chased around, so keep new dogs, particularly puppies, on a lead until they are friendly. Signal an emphatic 'No!' if the dog is at all unfriendly. Feeding your cat in the presence of the new dog will also help your cat to relax.
  15. Don't be surprised or upset if your cat occasionally continues to hiss at - or even swat - the puppy. The fact that your cat is willing to stay in the same room is a positive sign. Adult cats sometimes see the new dog as a threat to their pole position and so may spray to mark territory. This is normal for a stressed cat. To allow the cat to preserve the required sense of territory, don't let your new dog roam freely around the house. And make sure your cat has somewhere the dog can't access, with litter box, food and water to hand. Don't worry if they never get along. Cats are independent by nature and can do without having a dog for a friend, thank you!
  16. Your dog may try to keep the new dog away from things that are very important to him. He may block the new dog from approaching you, from resting places like dog beds and furniture, or from rooms like the family room or the bedroom. If the new dog is very anxious, he may do the same, trying to keep your dog away from him in certain locations, or even sticking with a family member and trying to keep your dog away. Do not scold or punish the dogs if this happens. Instead, get up and move if it looks like you will be the center of contention, and distract either dog if he seems to be invading a place where the other is resting.
  17. Keep both dogs away from areas where food is being prepared or eaten at first. If either dog is anxious about the food, there could be a conflict.
  18. Very few dogs coexist without disagreements. When Introducing A New Pet Into Your Household be aware of the signs. A stare, a lifted lip or a growl is a normal dog signal that he’s uncomfortable with something another dog is doing. Often the recipient of these signals will stop and move away—this is appropriate. There is likely to be some of this at first. As the dogs become more comfortable with each other they should do less of this, but punishing them can have very negative results. It can turn uncertainty into fear and aversion and result in ongoing conflict between the dogs.
  19. Don't leave the dogs together when they are alone in the house until you're reasonably sure that they are comfortable with each other. The new dog especially may be very anxious when left with your dog at first. If they can be crated, fine; if not, perhaps they can be gated apart. It may be difficult to separate them behind closed doors. Leave them for very short periods at first to make sure no problems arise when you're gone.
  20. Hire a pet sitter to visit your pets during the day while you are at work. This gives the new dog or puppy a chance to go potty and also helps with socialization. The team at No Worries Pet Sitting offers mid-day potty breaks and dog walking. We serve the Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton, Whitehall, Coopersburg, Center Valley, Bethlehem, Macungie, and surrounding areas. 

By following these tips, you’ll have an easier time Introducing A New Pet Into Your Household.

No Worries Pet Sitting LLC Po Box 20644, Lehigh Valley, PA 18002