Introduce a new pet to your other pets with love and compassion.

Congratulations! You’re adding a new pet to your furry family. This time is exciting of course, but can also be stressful for both you and all the pets involved. When you introduce a new pet to your existing pets, there are some best practices to follow which can help alleviate everyone’s nerves. Below, we walk you through how to seamlessly integrate a new pet into your home.

How To Introduce A New Pet…

Because the old adage, “you never get a second chance to make a first impression” is true in the case of how to introduce a new pet to your household, take special care in that initial meeting. We do recommend making introductions before you are fully committed to a new animal. It’s important to take things slow. If you need help, please call your team at Goldorado Animal Hospital.

Let’s get started!

How to Introduce Cat to Cat

Cats are naturally social animals and understand group dynamics. That doesn’t mean your existing cat or cats will readily accept a newcomer, though. There is a social protocol that all cats must follow when accepting a new member into their group. In the wild, a new cat will trail the group, staying on the periphery, for days or even weeks so that they can get used to his or her scent. The same should be repeated in your home.  

Give your new cat a small, dedicated space to call her own while letting your existing cats come and go as normal, and give them chances to smell the newcomer. A baby gate may work well for this. You can also leave blankets or cloth with the new cat’s smell in high traffic areas of your home where the existing cats will become used to the new cat’s smell.

Over time, start limited and supervised introductions, so the new group can get used to each other. Remember that this can take weeks, so don’t rush things!

How to Introduce Dog to Dog

As with cat introductions, it’s important to take your time when you introduce a new pet to your dog household. The best way to introduce dogs to other dogs is to start on neutral ground. This means you’ll need a human helper who knows your existing dogs well. Start with a walk, in an area where you don’t normally frequent. You will walk your existing dogs, and your human helper should walk your new dog.

In the beginning of the walk, your existing dogs should go first, and the new dog should follow. You can then switch positions so that the new dog is in front and your existing dog has a chance to smell him or her.

Then, when things seem calm, bring the dogs home. Let your existing dog enter the house first so that they can “invite” the newcomer in. After that, keep a close eye on them at all times, to see how things progress. Sometimes a crate for one or the other can be helpful if both dogs are crate trained.

It’s common to want your existing dog to be the “alpha” dog, but this may not be the case, and it’s important to let the dogs decide their own hierarchy over time and to accept their roles – safely, of course.

Introducing Cat to Dog

The best way to introduce a cat to a dog is to allow the cat to maintain control of the situation. You can have the dog and cat together in a small space, and keep the dog tightly leashed. Reward the dog for calm behavior. Keep working on this slowly but regularly, and keep the cat and dog apart if you can’t supervise until you are sure they will be safe together. Over time, most dogs and cats can learn to coexist peacefully.

With a little planning and knowledge, you can safely introduce a new pet to your household. If you need more guidance or have specific questions, please schedule an appointment or give us a call. We are here to support you and all your pets in this transition. We hope to see you soon!