For people who genuinely love animals, few things are as exciting as bringing a new pet home! Hopefully, your resident pet will eventually bond with the new addition to the family, but their relationship may be a little rocky at first. Have realistic expectations. Plan to introduce your pets slowly, as they tend to do better when they have time to adjust to change. If either pet displays persistent aggression, you can consult your veterinarian for pet-specific advice.
Isolate the new pet.
Your new pet will need some time to adjust to the new home. If you’ve brought home a cat, you can put everything he or she will need into one room. Keep the door closed to keep the pets apart while the new cat gets settled in. If you’ve brought home a new dog, keep him or her in an appropriately sized crate whenever you aren’t there to supervise. Your resident dog can roam around as usual during this time. When you are available to supervise, put your resident dog in a different crate and let the new dog explore the home.
Introduce the pets’ smells.
Animals get acquainted with each other via smells. Give the new pet something that belongs to the resident pet, and vice versa so that they can “meet” each other by proxy. You can also feed a resident cat outside the door of the new cat’s room. Feed the new cat at the same time. You may need to keep the bowls a few feet away from the door at first, and then move them closer with each subsequent meal. This can help cats to associate each other’s smell with a positive event.
Host a meet and greet.
Always supervise the first few meetings. It’s normal for cats to sit and stare at each other for a while, and there may be a little growling as they establish the pecking order. To introduce two dogs, have both on a leash and let them meet each other on neutral territory, like a neighbor’s yard.
Before you introduce your new pet to your resident pet, swing by Horizon Animal Hospital for a wellness exam and any vaccinations your pet needs. You can reach us at (480) 800-4559 seven days per week. Our veterinarians in Scottsdale love to meet newly adopted shelter pets!