There’s a lot to think about when bringing home a new pet. You’re excited and eager for him to feel comfortable. You might even be a little nervous, especially if you have children or other pets. How will they all get along?
Introducing a new pet into the family doesn’t have to be stressful. The key is to go slow, be careful and use plenty of positive reinforcements while he settles in.
Here are 10 things to keep in mind when introducing a new pet into your home:
- Do your homework first. Be prepared before bringing a new pet home with you. This means making sure that your current pets are well trained and get along with others
- Bring your new pet home when you have lots of time. Allow him to adjust to his new surroundings and give him ample bonding time. Long weekends or holidays are ideal.
- Let him ease in before making introductions. You can close off rooms and let him explore his environment calmly before meeting with other pets or children.
- Match your behaviour to his. Is your new pet energetic or shy? Get the toys out or sit quietly with him so that he feels more comfortable.
- Introduce him to the family in controlled situations. If you have more than one dog, for example, allow your new pet to meet each one separately – and always supervised.
- Watch his body language. Loose movements and a relaxed mouth means that things are going well. Be very cautious if you notice prolonged staring or stiff movements.
- Be present with children. If you have children, make it clear to them that pets aren’t toys and should be respected. Never leave young children unsupervised with new pets.
- Let pets adjust to each other. If that means simply sniffing each other for the first few weeks, so be it. Don’t force friendships. They will decide when they’re ready to interact.
- Supervise new pets. Never leave pets unattended together in the beginning and always be around until you are 100% sure that your new and old pets get along.
- Keep things separate. Allow new pets and old pets to have their own food bowls, water stations and litter boxes – and keep these in separate areas in the beginning.