Change is a big part of life, especially when it comes to living with new people. If you’ve experienced this, then you know that it can also be difficult, and that an adjustment period is often necessary. The same holds true, if not more so, for pets. Whether you are giving a new pet a home, merging households with someone else, or giving your current pet a playmate, introducing pets to each other (or children) can be stressful and should be taken slowly. Follow these suggestions to help make the process go more smoothly.
- Start in a neutral area to prevent the original from being territorial, and supervise closely.
- Watch for signs of aggression, and separate them if they don’t seem to like each other.
- Offer plenty of praise and treats when they get along well together.
- Keep them in separate rooms to get used to each other’s sounds and scents.
- Once they do, put them in the same room, but watch for aggressiveness.
- Continue to let them interact more if their first meeting goes well.
- Take your dog out on a long walk before their first meeting.
- Keep your dog on a leash when you introduce him to the cat.
- Let your cat set the pace, and don’t force them to interact if they don’t want to.
- Make this a slow and gradual experience, starting with a few short periods of time.
- Teach your kids how to pet animals appropriately, explaining how to pick up and hold a young or small pet correctly, and that grabbing him by his tail or ears is dangerous.
- Before introducing your pet to a baby, let the animal smell something of the baby’s to get familiar with the scent. When you do introduce them, do so at home (a familiar environment) while holding the baby, and let your pet smell the baby from a distance. You can gradually get closer as they get acquainted.
For more practical pet tips, visit www.americanlifestylemag.com/pets.