By Laura Sutherland ~
Oh, goody! A new fur-baby is coming to live with your family.
Have you considered how bringing in a new pet might be an issue with your existing 4-legged family member(s) or YOU? Let’s talk about that.
Adding a new pet can be stressful. There are so many sad cases of dogs and cats being returned to shelters because they didn’t “work out.” Hopefully, this will never happen to your new family member.
Consider the following tips to assure a smooth transition for both your pet and your family.
When you have existing pets, it is crucial to introduce a new one slowly and carefully. Acclimated pets may not take to a newcomer right away.
Introduce dogs to each other in neutral territory, instead of just bringing the new one into the house without warning. It’s even a good idea to take a blanket that the new dog has been using and bring it into the home. Place it around your current pup’s sleeping area. Let him get used to the smell of the new dog before you adopt it. If that’s not feasible, then bring your “old” dog to the shelter and watch how he reacts around the one you are considering adopting.
If you plan to bring home a new kitty, keep the cat in her traveling crate in a separate room for the first several hours. Do not allow existing pets to come into contact with her/him. Then, let kitty out of the carrier but keep her sequestered in the separate room for a few days. Your other pets can sniff at the door to get used to her presence.
Return your kitty back into the carrier, and allow each existing pet to come in the room and sniff the cat through the carrier. After about four or five days of this, you can introduce the new kitty to the rest of your fur family. It might take your other cat or cats weeks to get used to the newcomer, so don’t be surprised at hissing and hiding for a while!
Research the best breed for your particular lifestyle and compatibility with your current brood. If you have an active dog, already, get another one! But if Freckles is a couch potato, then the new addition should match his energy unless you want to encourage Freckles to get more exercise!
I always suggest going to a shelter and spending time with the breed you are considering.
Try to get as much info/history on a new dog as possible, so you’ll know beforehand if he’s housebroken, knows how to walk on a leash, is a barker, or doesn’t like cats or children.
For cats, note how skittish or affectionate they are.
If you’ve done your homework, there is no reason you can’t expand your four-legged family with grace and ease. With the right preparation, your current fur-babies will greet your new addition with a warm “Welcome Home!”