Introducing New Pets
Many families brought home new pets over the holiday season. If you were one of those families and you’re having trouble acclimating the other pets in the house to your new pet, or if you’re thinking of adding a new pet to your house we’re here to help! Below is a great way to start:
Pets and New members
If you’re bringing home your family’s first pet here are some guidelines to help make the introduction a little smoother for you, your family and your pet:
- Demonstrate good petting
- Show children how to gently pet the pet, and emphasize that rough play is not appropriate for the puppy/ dog. If you are introducing a puppy to family members, make sure they know when the appropriate times to play are- when a puppy is sleeping they should be left alone as this is when they release essential growth hormones!
- Know how to read your pet
- Know the signs of when your pet is anxious, uncomfortable and even happy- that way you can take preventative steps to avoid a disaster, or know what your pet likes. Pets can lash out when they are scared or anxious so be aware of your pet’s signs can help save lives.
- A pet can lead the way to learning other important life lessons like caring, patience and routine. Make these teachable moments a part of your routine with your pet, and let your children know about the awesome lessons their learning.
- Of course, you’ll want to ensure that you’re supervising the situation for the safety of both pet and family members
Mature Pets and New Pets
How to safely introduce your new cat or dog to the existing pets in your house:
- Let everyone get used to a new scent. Set up the new cat/ dog in a separate room (with a door) and ensure they have fresh water and food. The new cat’s scent will travel around the house, and your existing pets will probably sniff under the door, but make sure no contact is made.
- Visual Contact
- Once everyone has ‘investigated’ the new pet (about a week) introduce the new pet to the existing pets visually- if possible, its best to keep the new pet in a carrier. Place the pet in a room where the existing pets are- like while they are eating or lounging around, for a few minutes either once a day, or a couple times a day.
- Extend social times
- Keep up with the visual contact and extend the times- your pets should be expressing friendly gestures towards the new pet by now
- Short physical contact
- Introduce physical contact with the pets. Let the new pet out of the carrier and allow everyone to get acquainted. These should follow the same steps as the visual contact above- start with short visits and extend as time goes on.
- Love up your existing pet(s)
- Make sure your existing pets know that you’re not replacing them! Love them up when they are friendly to the new pet, and throughout the day to help them with the transition!