Getting a new pet is an exciting time for the whole family. However, some family members, like existing pets, might not share your enthusiasm. Jealousy, frustration with energetic youngsters, or territorial behaviour may arise when your new pet moves in. Make sure any existing pets are up to date with their vaccination and worming schedule. Follow our advice when introducing a new pet into the household for a positive experience.
New pet wellbeing
We know how tempting it can be to introduce your cute new pet to everyone. However, giving them time to adjust to their new home is a must. Encourage all family members to handle the new arrival quietly and gently. Allow them plenty of time to rest without disturbances (particularly if they’re very young). Young animals should be fed small, frequent meals, preferably of the type of food they have been accustomed to eating in their old home. If vaccination and worming have not been carried out, this should be done immediately. Contact your local Greencross Vets.
Acceptance into the household
When introducing new pets to existing ones, you must consider your older pet’s nature. For instance, a mature female dog who is well socialised with other animals will usually accept new puppies and kittens quite readily. On the other hand, a territorial and aggressive dog may never be totally trusted with a new kitten in their own yard. You should take into account the possibility of conflict between various types of pets. An example includes introducing a rabbit to a cat (who would normally hunt this type of animal in the wild). It may also be sensible to choose a new pet which is more likely to remain submissive to the more established member of the family. A less aggressive or smaller breed may be a good choice. Neutering a male dog may reduce the probability of conflict over dominance as he gets established. In some cases, you can arrange a meet and greet between existing pets and potential newcomers. Many shelters allow you to bring your dog along to the facility to test for compatibility.
It is advisable to first introduce your old and new pets on neutral ground. In this situation, they are more likely to behave in a cautious, rather than an aggressive, way. For example, a dog who lives in the backyard and chases intruder cats is more likely to accept a new kitten into the household if they meet inside the house. If you are concerned about safety, put your older animal on a leash for better control.
When introducing new cats, it’s nearly impossible to find neutral ground. We advise confining your new cat to a separate part of the house while your existing pets get used to their smell. Allow the pets to familiarise themselves with each other over a few days before allowing full access to each other. Remember that introductions between old and new pets may not always run smoothly, especially if both are adult animals. However, careful planning, a cool head and gentle persuasion on your behalf will usually result in success.