Stress-Free Tips For Introducing A New Pet Into The Home
Bringing home a new cat or dog is an exciting time, however not all family members may be thrilled with the prospect of sharing their space (and their people!) with another pet. Rescued pets in particular may require additional support and a longer settling in period. Regardless of whether you are introducing a puppy, kitten or older pet, there are a number of steps you can take to prevent the fur from flying and ensure that all pets—both old and new—stay calm and happy.
Preparing Your Home
It's important to make sure that your home is safe and secure for your new furbaby, but it’s just as crucial to introduce them in a way that minimises stress and anxiety for other pets too.
1. Create a Safe Space. Set up a comfortable space for your new pet to rest and relax. Make sure this space is away from any potential hazards such as wires, toxic plants, or other pets. Cats will appreciate a secluded area or a position up high where they can retreat to.
2. Stock Up on Supplies. Before bringing your new pet home, make sure you have all the necessary supplies such as food, water bowls, litter boxes, toys, and bedding.
3. Secure the Perimeter. Check your home for any escape routes or hazards that your new pet may encounter. Ensure all windows, doors, and gates are securely locked.
4. Consider Crate Training. Crate training can be an effective way to keep your new pet safe and comfortable while they adjust to their new environment. Make sure the crate is large enough for your pet to move around in comfortably.
6. Slow Introduction. When introducing a new pet to other pets in the home it's important to take things slowly. Allow the pets to sniff each other from a distance and gradually decrease the distance over time. Ensure that your new cat or dog has a clear escape route back to their safe space.
7. Use Positive Reinforcement. Reward good behaviour with treats and praise. This will help to reinforce positive interactions between pets and make the introduction process more enjoyable for everyone.
8. Be Patient. Introducing a new pet to other pets can take time, so it's important to be patient and allow each pet to adjust at their own pace.
Keeping Your Pets Calm
Pets will adjust at different rates, so it’s vital that you continue to monitor behaviour and be vigilant for signs of fear or aggression. Here are some other methods for keeping your pets calm for the longer term:
Provide plenty of exercise and playtime.
Plug in a pheromone diffuser. Pheromone diffusers such as Adaptil for dogs and Feliway for cats can help to reduce fear and anxiety.
Consider a prescription diet that is specifically tailored to help reduce stress-related urinary problems such as Hills c/d Multicare Stress for cats.
By following these tips, you can help to ensure a smooth transition for your new pet and make the introduction process as stress-free as possible for everyone involved. If you are still having problems or would like to speak to one of our qualified veterinary nurses, please contact us on (03) 9568 2211.