New Pets in the Family

When you adopt… There are many things to consider when adopting a new pet, especially if you have other animals.

Incorporating a new pet into your family comes with a lot of considerations, such as your budget and the time the family has to devote to a new pet. Another important consideration is how a new pet will fit in with any other family pets. As a pet owner with three dogs and six cats, I can tell you that sometimes the new addition isn’t a smooth transition. Both cats and dogs may need an adjustment period to get used to any new furry family member.

When it comes to introducing a new dog, remember that dogs are pack members. For your household, this means that when a new member joins the pack, or the family, he or she needs to figure out his “rank.” Typically, the dog who has been in the family the longest will assert its dominance over the new dog. This includes growling and barking, and in extreme cases, a dog brawl. Please note that this may not always happen. I have a 10-year-old lab who is so used to new pets coming into the family, she doesn’t bat an eyelash. In fact, she acts more like a mother hen and starts cleaning them.

Cats can have very much the same reaction as dogs. And they can be very territorial of their spaces and their family. Our cats are much less accepting of new furry family additions than my dogs are. But I know of one “old-timer” cat who followed a new kitten around the house for the first few days. He seemed just to be checking her out, but kept a respectable distance. He was such a gentleman! Now they’re great friends.

Some tips for incorporating new pets into your family dynamic:

  • Get the new pet’s scent on you and then interact with your old pets. This will get them used to the smell.
  • Don’t push it. If the old pets would rather avoid the new friend, let them.
  • Give it time. Changes can disturb a family pet, and they may just need time to adjust.
  • Consider keeping the new guy separate from your current pets for a day or more. That gives everyone a little time to adjust to a new “relative.”

For everyone’s health, take your new pet to the vet ASAP. If it has parasites, they might spread to your old pets.

Last, when adopting a new furry friend, pay attention to how your current furry pals feel about it. And do what you can to make the transition smooth.

Do you ahave personal experience with adding pets to your family? Share tips with us in the comments!

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