Introducing New Pets to the Family

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New family members don’t always come straight from the hospital swathed in baby blankets. Sometimes they come from the animal shelter or the pet store – and they need to find their place in the pre-existing hierarchy of your family. Whether introducing a new pet to other pets or to other people in the household, we need to realize that our furry companions, both old and new, are intensely social an territorial creatures and they need to find a place for themselves and feel that they belong.

Patience is key here. It could be that your new dog or cat will immediately bond with the pets you already have. But it’s more likely that you’ll need to play referee to all the members of the household for t least a few days if not a few weeks before everything starts running smoothly.

Try bringing the new animal into the house in its carrier and letting your pre-existing pets meet him/her this way. Meeting in this fashion can be less threatening for all concerned. If all goes well, remove the carrier from the picture and let them all interact together. Never leave a new addition to the family unsupervised with other pets, though. As stated, most pets, especially dogs, can be fiercely territorial. So be absolutely sure that everyone can play nice together until you take your eye off them.

If a conflict does happen, separate the pets immediately and let everyone cool off. It could be that your old pets see the new as an invader, so if you can, let them meet and greet on neutral/unfamiliar territory like a park or a friend’s house. This way, everyone’s on equal footing.

Bringing a new addition into the fold isn’t always easy, but with patience and a watchful eye, everyone can get along.

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