Whether you have animals in your house already or not, introducing a new pet can be challenging in any environment. It takes time for animals to adjust to their new surroundings, let alone any other pets that you may have. Furthermore, introducing a new pet also becomes stressful to the pets that you might already have, as some can be quite territorial, and see a new animal in their home as a bit of a threat.
As owners, we are inclined to worry and want our pets to feel as comfortable as possible. So, to help you out a bit, we’ve come up with a few key things to remember when bringing a new pet into your home.
Get them vaccinated
One of the first things that should be a priority when you get a new pet, such as a puppy or kitten, is to ensure that they have all of their vaccinations and are treated for fleas and worms to prevent any potential illness. Furthermore, if you have other pets already living there, it’s important that they aren’t at risk of catching anything from the new pet if they have not had the correct veterinary treatments.
Allow time for your resident pets to adjust
When it comes to introducing new pets to the pets you already have, it needs to be a gradual process. It’s not a good idea to just throw them together straight away, and doing this could actually be quite dangerous. For example, if dogs are involved, it is better to keep them on a lead at first so that you have full control over them. If you are bringing a new cat into a home where a dog already resides, it’s good to keep the dog in an enclosed area, such as a cage, or behind a gate, and allow the cat to approach them whilst the dog is separated from them.
Furthermore, don’t be alarmed if your pets don’t get along to begin with. This is a stressful time for them, and they need time to get used to each other. As we know, cats are territorial, so having a new cat or kitten brought into their home probably won’t please them at first, however with time they should adapt and everything should settle. This applies to any combination; cats, cats and dogs, or just dogs. However, with dogs we do recommend that you let them meet beforehand, to ensure that it is safe and they are okay around each other.
One room at a time
To a new pet, your house is going to seem pretty big and a little scary. To help them cope with this, we suggest that you stick to one room at a time. When you first bring them home, keep them in one room for a little while with the door shut, until they are comfortable and have began to settle, and following this, you can gradually allow them into more areas of the house.
Let them explore
As we mentioned, being in a new environment with new surroundings can be pretty daunting and stressful for animals, and they need to adjust themselves to the situation. Providing it is safe to do so and that you keep an eye on them, it’s good to allow your new pet to explore your home themselves. Let them walk around, find hiding places, take in new scents. Allowing them to do this at their own pace will help them to settle and feel more relaxed. In line with our previous point, we recommend doing this room by room. Don’t give them the full run of the house straight away, but instead let them roam around each room at their own pace.
Separate eating areas
This only applies if you are introducing a new pet to a home where other animals are already present. With animals, food often causes fights, especially when it involves a new animal that your other pets aren’t used to yet. To avoid risk of any fights or aggression, we advise that you set up a separate eating area for your new pet.