There are few things more exciting than bringing a new pet into your home. But adding a new cat or dog to your family requires more than just buying food, getting them a collar, and making sure they have their own set of toys. You want to ensure that your other four-legged family members are comfortable with their new furry sibling. Here are some tips for an easy introduction:
- Introduce pets slowly: Understand that it will take some time for the other animals in your house to get used to the new dog or cat. Don't bring a pet home and immediately expect everyone to bond.
- Don't leave pets unattended: Even if you think the introductions are going well, supervise all interactions.
- If you have more than one pet living in the home, let them greet the new animal one by one: This prevents the new cat or dog from feeling overwhelmed by the situation.
- Plan the meeting in a neutral location: You may pick a dog park, a vet's office, or the animal shelter. This stops resident animals from getting territorial and can ease any tension that might develop.
- Don't force the interaction: Let the animals smell each other and approach when they're comfortable. Dragging them towards one another before they're ready can cause a negative first meeting.
- Bring someone else in to help you: Have a friend or family member hold the resident pet, while you hold the newcomer. This provides further control over the meeting.
- Make sure to stay relaxed: Animals pick up on fear and tension. If they sense that you're stressed, they'll become anxious too.
If you're not sure exactly how to conduct a smooth introduction, don't hesitate to bring in a professional trainer for assistance.
Lauren Levine is a freelance writer who has contributed to publications and websites including The Huffington Post, Hello Giggles, Bustle, Thought Catalog, The Charlotte Observer, U.S. News & World Report, and others. She’s also the co-host of The Margarita Confessionals podcast. Say hi on Twitter, @lifewithlauren1.