Introducing new pets into the household
Posted September 07, 2017
Bringing home a new furry friend can be an
exciting experience. However, there are a lot of responsibilities
to consider in pet ownership, including time, energy, and
commitment. After all, pets are a part of the family, too.
Dr. Sarah Griffin, lecturer at the Texas A&M College of
Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, said to carefully
consider pet ownership, especially if children are in the
“Pets can be great additions to a family, but parents must be
leaders in showing children how to interact with and care for the
pet,” Griffin said. “Younger children need constant supervision
when they are interacting with the pet so that the child is not
accidentally harmed and the pet is not traumatized by rough
Additionally, parents should be attentive to signals that the
pet is stressed, such as a tucked tail or pinned ears. In this
case, the pet may be overwhelmed and need a safe place in the home
for quiet time.
“For dogs, this could mean the crate,” Griffin said. “Cats
prefer towers or condos to climb on and get away from the chaos
If pets are already living in the household, owners should
determine whether the existing pets would get along with new pets.
In general, Griffin said kittens and puppies are more accepting of
new pets, while older cats and dogs may require some time to adjust
to the change in their lives.
For introducing a cat to another cat or kitten, Griffin
suggested housing the new cat in room that can be closed with a
door for a least a month. This way, the new cat can get
familiar with their new home.
“The cats will be able to smell each other but won’t be able to
have any face-to-face interaction,” Griffin said. “After this
adjustment period, the cats can be allowed to meet through a baby
gate or kennel. This will limit any physical or threatening
contact and safely allow their first face-to-face interaction.”
A similar method can be used for introducing a cat to a dog.
However, when the face-to-face interaction is allowed, the dog
should be on a leash so they don’t accidentally or intentionally
hurt one another.
“Make sure there is an escape route if the cat feels
threatened,” Griffin said.
When introducing two dogs to each other, Griffin recommended
keeping both dogs on leashes until neither animal is showing any
signs of aggression. Additionally, taking the dogs to a
neutral territory, such as a park or front yard, for an initial
introduction can help the animals be more accepting and less
territorial. Feeding in separate areas can also decrease the
chance for aggression.
Although it is easy to fall in love with an animal, it is not
always easy to care for them. Before bringing home a furry friend,
be sure you and your family are ready for the responsibilities of
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Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. Stories can be
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