Are you considering another dog? Welcoming a second pet into your home comes with different challenges than becoming a new pet owner. Whether you already have a dog or other pets in your house, it can take some time for your furry friends to adjust to their new companion. Luckily, you can take some simple steps to make the transition as smooth and stress-free as possible.
Here’s what you need to know.
Consider a Meet and Greet
The introduction process is an essential step when bringing home a new dog. You want to make sure your pets will get along and prevent any negative interactions. Before bringing your second dog home, consider setting up a meet and greet on neutral territory. This simple step is a great way to see how your dogs will interact and help them get comfortable.
If you have a cat or other pets, ask about your new dog’s temperament and if they have interacted with other species. Make introductions slowly and provide close supervision during your pets’ initial interactions. This introduction process is essential for keeping everyone safe.
Consider a “coexisting period”. This is a period of time where the two dogs don’t interact however, they can see each other. You also want to be careful about leaving your newly introduced dogs together unattended. Be sure they are both comfortable before leaving them alone.
Make Sure Your New Dog Has a Clean Bill of Health
Another essential step in preparing for your new pet is ensuring they have a clean bill of health. Some medical conditions are contagious, so it’s critical that your new dog is healthy and will not be a risk to your other pets.
Adult dogs should be up to date on vaccines, and puppies should have at least their first round of shots. Whether you are adopting or working with a breeder, ask for your new dog’s medical records and double-check that they are up to date on veterinary care.
Before bringing your new dog home, it’s also essential to look for any signs of parasites such as fleas. Parasites can easily spread to other pets in your household. They are also difficult to get rid of once they are in your home.
Be Cautious Around Meal Time
Meal time can be tricky when you have multiple pets. Food aggression is common and can become dangerous if safety precautions are not put in place. According to the ASCPA, food guarding and aggression is one of the leading behavior problems seen in shelter dogs.
Luckily, research has shown that simple steps can help eliminate this behavior and prevent future issues. In a study conducted on 96 dogs who exhibited food aggression or food guarding, all dogs showed improvement after three months of owners making small changes to address the behavior.
When feeding your pets, make sure there is plenty of room between food bowls. Feeding your pets in separate areas can also help to reduce stress. Keep in mind that some pets eat faster than others, and your pets may have different eating habits.
If you have a cat that casually grazes throughout the day, make sure you place their food where your dog will not have access. Likewise, make sure your pets have time to finish their meals without being disturbed. When meal time is over, check your pet’s food bowls and pick up any unfinished food. This can help prevent food aggression and allow you to keep a closer eye on who is eating what.
Bringing a second pet into your home is an exciting time. If you already have pets, there are some important things to keep in mind during the transition process. It may take your pets some time to adjust to their new companion and get comfortable. Remember to be patient and take precautions to create a safe and stress-free environment.
We hope this information will help you create a happy and healthy home for all the pets in your life.