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Introducing a New Pet to Your Current Ones

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Pet Proofing Your Home

Introducing your new pet to your current one is only a single part of the equation relating to taking a new pet home. You also have to make sure your new pet is comfortable in your home, which is a foreign environment to the animal. Like humans, animals can experience high levels of stress when placed in a foreign environment.

Pet proofing your home will alleviate some of the stress new animals feel in a foreign place. To do so, use childproof latches on the cabinets and doors that your new pet can easily access, to help prevent them from prying open dangerous cabinets and drawers. Place cleaners, chemicals and medicines on high shelves. Keep trash containers covered, closed or inside a latched cabinet. Move dangling cords and wires out of reach. Finally, keep an eye out for any tails, paws or noses when you scoot your chair or shut a door, to keep from accidentally hurting your pet.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask your vet.

Are you considering adding another furry companion to your family? If so, have you thought about how your new pet will interact with your current ones? Introducing a new pet into the family is always exciting, but it’s important to make sure that the pets you already have are prepared for the new addition. This will help ensure a smooth transition.

Determining Your Approach

Animals are like people in that each one has his own temperament. Most likely, you already have a strong understanding of how your current pet behaves around strangers, deals with stress and handles uncertainty — as you do with any member of your family. Use this information to determine the best approach to take when introducing your new pet to your current one. For instance, if your current pet does not like sharing his toys, make sure each of your pets has his favorite toy handy during the introduction, so the two pets are not competing for the same toy during the transition.

When choosing which introduction approach to use, you should take other factors into consideration as well, such as the breed, age and sex of your pets. All these factors inform how one animal will react to the other. For example, a 9-year-old cat that has never shared her home with other animals might never acclimate to sharing her home with a new pet. In contrast, a kitten that has been separated from the rest of her litter might welcome another animal to keep her company.

Examples of Introduction Techniques

Again, there are several techniques you can try when introducing a new pet to your current one. Use your knowledge of your current and new pets to choose the one that’s right for your furry friends. Here are a few techniques you can try:

  • Confinement. Keep your new and current pets in different rooms for several days or even a couple of weeks until they acclimate to each other’s scent. Make sure that each animal has a place to go to the bathroom (e.g., a litter box), a food bowl and a water bowl, in each room. Feed each pet on either side of a closed door, again, in separate rooms. Put their food bowls close enough to the door to allow each animal to smell the other. Continue feeding them in this manner, slowly moving the bowls closer to the door each time you feed them. Eventually, you can open the door, so the two animals are eating side by side. If they are able to eat calmly while standing next to each other, they should be able to get along. Another option is to keep each pet in an animal crate that are placed next to each other, giving the animals time to get used to each other’s scent.
  • The Switcheroo. While keeping your animals in separate rooms, swap the blankets that each of your animals uses. Another option is to gently rub a cloth on one animal’s cheeks and put in under the food dish of the other. When the animals eventually meet, their scents will be familiar to each other.
  • Neutral Territory. If possible, introduce your new and current pet to each other in a neutral space, such as a park (that you don’t usually frequent) or a neighbor’s yard. Using a neutral territory for your introduction will make your resident pet less likely to view your new pet as an intruder. If you are introducing two dogs to each other, make sure that each dog is on a leash and handled by a separate person.

Understanding Your Animals’ Cues

Animals use body postures and sounds to communicate their feelings. For instance, if one dog crouches with his hind end in the air and his front legs on the ground, he is inviting the other dog to play. This is a positive sign and typically elicits friendly behavior from the other animal.

However, if the hair on the back of your dog or cat is standing up, that animal is reacting aggressively, and you should calmly distract the animals until you can move them away from each other. Likewise, any growling or hissing sounds from either animal indicates aggression and stress.

It is important to remember that not every animal will be compatible. If your introduction does not go smoothly the first time, try again, slowly, at a later date. If several introductions still do not work, contact your veterinarian for help. He or she can provide useful information or resources to help your new and current pets make a smooth transition.
 

Sources:

http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2010/10/26/preparing-household-for-a-new-pet-dog-or-pet-cat.aspx

http://www.icatcare.org:8080/advice/understanding-your-cat/social-structure-cat-life

http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/cats/tips/introducing_new_cat.html

http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/dogs/tips/introducing_new_dog.html

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Testimonials

  •           8/29/2017

    I love Balboa Pet Hospital! Balboa Pet Hospital's staff is amazing! The staff is knowledgeable, caring and above all honest! I feel confident that my pets are getting the best possible care there. The staff has always taken time to answer all of my questions and if I think of something after my appointment, I can just email! I know I won’t have to wait too long for response.

    Unfortunately, this year I’ve had to make some really difficult decisions. The compassion the staff showed to both my pet and I made these unbearable times tolerable. I am indebted to both Dr. Del Rosso and (the wonderful) Dr. Ravn for their kindness, compassion and dedication.

    If you are new to the area or just looking for a new vet, please give Balboa pet Hospital a call!

  •           6/5/2017

    LOVE everything about this place!!! The people are all super nice & caring. I never feel like they’re trying to sell me stuff I don’t need. The vets (especially Dr. Alice Chan) are wonderful, I always fee; comfortable coming here whenever Walle has an issue. They even help me file the insurance claims after each visit! Would highly recommended any pet owners to see them for their fur-baby needs.

  •           6/5/2017

    My dog has been a regular patient since 7 years ago. Once in a while we visit other hospitals due to time conflicts. However, we always go back to Balboa Pet Hospital. My dog has bad allergy and the doctors and assistants always follow up with us after the treatments or visits, help us submit the insurance claims. It’s not a cheapest place to go but their patience and caring are irreplaceable.

  •           4/28/2017

    I’m glad to have found Balboa Pet Hospital near my home. It’s definitely a hidden gem! Dr. Chan saw my dog, Oreo, for her skin problem last week, and my three cats, Pepper, Tofu and Cola, today for annual check-up. She’s very patient (especially with Oreo who’s shy to strangers), knowledgeable and approachable. The front staffs are also very friendly and helpful. They are so prompt to reply my email (within a few hours when I checked back my mailbox). All my pets are about 1-year-old and I’ll definitely bring them here for their health issues/checkup in many years followed.

  •           5/4/2017

    Brought my dog here for a checkup and some minor concerns. Dr. Chan was very professional. She got my dog the treatment he needed and answered all my questions regarding my concerns. The rest of the staff were very friendly and gentle with my dog. You could tell that the staff are genuine animal lovers; definitely something you want when you entrust the health of your pet to someone.

  •           5 of 5

    Been bringing our animals to Balboa for over 25 years and will continue because they provide great advice and care. We love Dr. D and staff are really helpful and friendly. Now if I can find medical care for myself like my animals get at Balboa...

  •           5 of 5

    I have been a patron of Balboa Pet Hospital for almost 500 years now (wink). I love Everybody there and feel they are have always been a great resource and the BEST support system for everything pertaining to my pets.

  •          

    The staff is very kind and gentle, the doctors are very caring and patient when dealing with my scared cat Lulu. I appreciate the time they took to put her at ease and making this procedure as painless as possible for the both of us. Will definitely be spreading the word. Thank you Balboa Pet Hospital.
     

    Linda P.

    San Francisco, CA

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