Introduction of Pets 101
How you introduce a new pet to your existing pet or pets can make all the difference in the animals’ adjustment period. The key is patience and giving each animal his or her own space before letting them spend time together. Rushed introductions can lead to jealousy and ongoing fighting.
Start by sequestering the new pet in a room of its own for at least a week, possibly more. Let your old pet sniff at the closed door to slowly get used to another animal in the house. After a week or so, start swapping the animals for a few hours so the new pet can roam around and your old pet is confined for a while.
Give your old pet extra attention and praise to make sure he or she does not get jealous of the new pet.
Next, let the animals see each other. If practical, try introducing them on opposite sides of a baby gate. (If you are introducing two cats or large dogs this won’t work, however.) Limit the amount of time the pets spend together and never leave them alone together unsupervised.
Let the pets get to know each other. Cats may hiss or swipe and dogs may growl. But it is important not to interfere as they establish their own boundaries, notes www.dogsworldwide.com. If one pet consistently hides from the other, however, it could be distressed and it might be time to go back to separate spaces for a while.
When adopting a pet from a shelter, try to select an animal that has a history of getting along with other pets. Also consider getting a pet of the opposite sex from your current pet since they tend to get along better, according to The Daily Cat (www.thedailycat.com).
Image: Grakus Art / via Flickr