Introducing a new pet to the family is an exciting and enjoyable occasions.
At the same time, there are a few important things to remember when making plans to introduce cats or dogs, in order to optimize for resident pets and to facilitate smoother introductions between new pets and older pets.
1. Introducing Pets: Newcomer Quarantine
While your new kitten or puppy may come with a health certificate, the newcomer may in fact be harboring an infection that has not yet manifested itself. When introducing dogs or cats, germs and viruses can take time to develop, so it is a good idea to quarantine your new pet for at least a week.
2. Introducing Pets: Visit Your Vet
A timely visit to the vet is always prudent to ensure your new pets robust health as well and gives you and your veterinarian the opportunity to get a baseline for future reference.
If you have adopted a pet from a shelter, or purchased your new family member from a reputable breeder, it is important that you get any vaccination or veterinary records and any de-worming information from the previous owner.
Obtaining the type and manufacturer of vaccines is wise as well. Discuss any incubation periods for common illnesses with your vet.
3. Introducing Pets: Ease Into Cat and Dog Introductions
Once you have established incubation periods and they have elapsed, it will be a lot safer to begin slow and patient introductions.
Puppies can be exuberant and want to immediately play with your resident pets, which may not be like-minded. Therefore, its important to ease into introducing your new puppy to resident pets.
Its also important to ease into cat introductions. Cats in particular need a period of consistent and sensitive introductions. It can take weeks for cats to be able to tolerate a newcomer, whether the newcomer is a kitten or an older cat.
4. Introducing Pets: Introducing Cats
Most of the time older cats may just ignore the fluffy new baby, but they may also tell you in no uncertain terms that they are not pleased at all and can communicate their displeasure with hisses and growls.
To avoid fearful encounters and help familiarize newcomers with resident cats, follow these easy tips:
- Keep the new arrival in a separate room
- In this room provide food, clean water and, if needed, a little box, which will help avoid territorial issues
- Try rubbing a towel on the new arrival to capture scent, and then rubbing that towel on the resident cats. This will help familiarize the resident cats with the scent of the newcomer, and make introducing them to each other easier.
- Try the above procedure in reverse order, rubbing the towel on the resident cats first and then rubbing the towel on the newcomer.
5. Introducing Pets: Spend Your Time WiselyWith Your New Pet
Of course, spend lots of time with your new cat or dog to begin the bonding process. Allow your resident cats and dogs full run of the house. They will start introducing themselves by sniffing under the door, since there is a strange new scent emanating from the separate room where you are keeping the newcomer.
6. Introducing Pets: Always Supervise New Arrivals
Be sure to supervise the new cat or dog when you are ready to release him into your home. With cats and dogs, leash a dog the first few times you bring him out to be sure he doesnt lunge at the cats. An occasional hiss or growl is not necessarily dangerous, but if they are starting to fight in earnest, separate them and start the procedure over again. Some animals will never be best friends, but eventually most will tolerate each other.
Giving a treat to animals while they are in the introduction stage is a good idea as well. It helps them associate each other with good things.
For cats in particular, make sure that you allow one litter box for each cat in your home plus one extra.
7. Introducing Pets: Adjusting to New Food for Newly Introduced Pets
While feeding high quality puppy food to your new puppy and kitten food for your kitten, it is essential that any change in diet is done slowly. Mix in the new food with the one to which your new pet is accustomed, and slowly make the switch to the diet you wish to feed. This will avoid upset tummies. Do not give kittens cows milk. Cats are lactose intolerant and can develop digestive upset. For a young kitten, only use kitten milk replacement products.
8. Introducing Pets: The Rewards of a Routine
As puppies and kittens are creatures of habit, they will soon learn your family routines. Keep your pets on a consistent schedule and they will thrive. Most of all, spend lots of time playing with them, and showing them how much you love them. The affection they will return is priceless.
Have you had experience in introducing new pets to your household? Share any suggestions you feel really work well by leaving a comment.