Puppies and Kittens—Introducing a New Pet Into the Home
Bringing home a new puppy or kitten is the beginning of an adventure! Watching them explore their new surroundings and begin to bond with your family is an incredibly rewarding experience.
To help make the transition easier for the whole family we’ve put together a few tips to ensure that your furbaby has a stress-free introduction to their new home.
Puppies are little bundles of excitement and energy, eager to explore and experience all of those new sights and smells! They haven’t yet learned how to avoid dangerous situations, so it’s up to us to introduce them gradually and allow them to learn in a safe, calm and positive environment.
Preparing the Home
1. A growing puppy needs lot of rest! Provide a cosy soft bed in an easily accessible place that is away from the hustle and bustle of household traffic.
2. A crate is another safe place for your puppy to retreat when they are feeling overwhelmed. Crate training is a valuable skill to teach your puppy as it will get them used to travel and trips to the vet.
3. Ensure that your puppy has constant access to fresh clean drinking water in a bowl that cannot be easily knocked over.
4. Provide toys for activity and mental stimulation, and remove any items that could potentially cause a poisoning or choking hazard. (You may also want to put your designer shoes away in a safe place!)
5. Place puppy pads to assist with toilet training. These can be removed as your puppy learns to urinate in a designated place outside.
Other Pets and Children
Some pets may take days or even weeks to become accustomed to each other. Never leave new pets unsupervised until you are sure that everyone is comfortable.
1. Teach your children about the correct ways to safely hold and play with your new puppy. Get them involved in your puppy’s care and exercise routine, and supervise all interactions until you are sure that puppy and children are confident with each other.
2. Allow your puppy to explore their new home while keeping other pets temporarily separated. Then let your pets back into the shared living areas and allow them to smell and get used to the scent of your new puppy. Repeat this a few times without allowing pets to encounter each other. Use this time to teach your puppy a few basic obedience commands so that you have some control over them when they eventually meet the rest of the pack.
3. Give your puppy a treat in their crate to distract them while other pets get used to their presence. Make it a positive experience for your pets by rewarding them with lots of pats and praise.
4. Once out of the crate, keep your puppy on a leash while they interact with other pets. If your puppy becomes too excitable, remove them from the room.
5. When introducing your puppy to cats, ensure that your kitty has a safe place such as a high shelf or cat tower to retreat to. Do not force your puppy onto your cat. Let your cat choose whether or not to come up and have a sniff.
6. If you have other dogs, take them for a walk before introducing them to your puppy so that they are feeling happy and relaxed. If possible, let them meet each other on neutral territory first to see how they react with each other. Bring treats and reward your dogs for good behaviour.
7. Enrol your puppy in Puppy Preschool to learn basic obedience and socialisation skills.
Who would think that such a cute ball of fluff could get into so much mischief? Before you unleash your kitten into the big wide world take a moment to look around your home and assess and remove any hazards. Set up a ‘safe space’ for your kitten’s needs where they can gradually adjust to their new environment.
Preparing the Home
1. Ensure that your kitten has a safe place to retreat to. Position the litter tray in a quiet corner where other pets cannot access it. Remove poisonous plants and substances and make sure there are no small items such as needles and thread left lying around.
2. Keep external doors and windows shut for the first few weeks to prevent kitty from escaping.
3. Cats prefer to drink well away from where they eat, and eat and drink far away from where they go to the toilet, so keep food, water and the litter tray separated.
4. Provide a cosy bed in a secluded area or positioned up high where they feel safe.
5. Offer a variety of toys to keep your kitten active and occupied. Toys are also a great way to interact with your kitten and strengthen the bond between you.
6. A scratching post or cat tower will give your kitten a place to sharpen their claws and mark their territory without damaging the furniture.
7. Provide a secure cat carrier as a safe retreat for your kitten. This will also get them used to being in the carrier for visits to the vet.
8. If you plan to let your cat outdoors we recommend keeping them inside for the first week or two until they have assimilated. A cat flap will provide free access to an enclosed outdoor area or 'catio'.
Other Pets and Children
Unlike dogs, cats are not pack animals and therefore have less need to be ‘social’. While some cats in the same household will curl up and sleep next to each other, others will happily coexist while keeping their distance from each other.
1. Keep your kitten separated from other pets for the first few days until they assimilate to new smells and get settled into their new home.
2. Introduce your kitten to the smell of other pets by stroking each pet without washing your hands and mixing the scents.
3. A kitten pen will keep your furbaby out of mischief and everyone safe while you introduce them to other pets. Use food as a distraction while you assess how your pets react to each other.
4. A baby gate can keep very young children away from food bowls and litter trays, while giving your kitten a safe place to escape from curious toddlers if they are feeling stressed or overwhelmed.
5. Educate your children about correct handling and care for your kitten. If they are old enough, teach them about feeding, playing and cleaning up after your kitten so that they can feel involved and learn about responsible pet ownership.