Are you considering adding another furry companion to your family? If so, have you thought about how your new pet will interact with your current ones? Introducing a new pet into the family is always exciting, but it’s important to make sure that the pets you already have are prepared for the new addition. This will help ensure a smooth transition.
Determining Your Approach
Animals are like people in that each one has his own temperament. Most likely, you already have a strong understanding of how your current pet behaves around strangers, deals with stress and handles uncertainty — as you do with any member of your family. Use this information to determine the best approach to take when introducing your new pet to your current one. For instance, if your current pet does not like sharing his toys, make sure each of your pets has his favorite toy handy during the introduction, so the two pets are not competing for the same toy during the transition.
When choosing which introduction approach to use, you should take other factors into consideration as well, such as the breed, age and sex of your pets. All these factors inform how one animal will react to the other. For example, a 9-year-old cat that has never shared her home with other animals might never acclimate to sharing her home with a new pet. In contrast, a kitten that has been separated from the rest of her litter might welcome another animal to keep her company.
Examples of Introduction Techniques
Again, there are several techniques you can try when introducing a new pet to your current one. Use your knowledge of your current and new pets to choose the one that’s right for your furry friends. Here are a few techniques you can try:
Understanding Your Animals’ Cues
Animals use body postures and sounds to communicate their feelings. For instance, if one dog crouches with his hind end in the air and his front legs on the ground, he is inviting the other dog to play. This is a positive sign and typically elicits friendly behavior from the other animal.
However, if the hair on the back of your dog or cat is standing up, that animal is reacting aggressively, and you should calmly distract the animals until you can move them away from each other. Likewise, any growling or hissing sounds from either animal indicates aggression and stress.
It is important to remember that not every animal will be compatible. If your introduction does not go smoothly the first time, try again, slowly, at a later date. If several introductions still do not work, contact your veterinarian for help. He or she can provide useful information or resources to help your new and current pets make a smooth transition.