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Introducing a New Pet to Resident Pets (Part 1 of 3)

The following guidance is based on excerpts from "Creating a Peaceable Kingdom: How to Live with More Than One Pet" by Cynthia D. Miller (Animalia Publishing). This book very helpful information for anyone adding a new dog, cat, bird or other species to their home, particularly people with resident pets.

Planning for Peaceful Introductions:

Until you have the new addition in your household, you cannot be sure how relationships will develop. Animals have unmistakable, distinctive personalities, and they have their own likes and dislikes. If two animals decide that they will not get along, there may be constant battles, ranging from cold war to physical scrimmages. You will be called upon to referee, and you must act quickly and fairly to decide how to remedy the situation. Some animals quickly, and almost immediately, accept the new addition with curiosity and approval.

If you intend to make changes in the environment (such as adding a crate) or in the current routine (feeding at a different time), then these alterations should be initiated before bringing home the new pet. Giving your current animals a prior opportunity to adjust to these changes lessens the negative impact on their lives when the new pet comes to live in the home.

Keep in mind that it is easier to introduce animals to each other if none of them are adolescents. Adolescence is a time for rebellion, activity and feistiness. None of these qualities contribute to successful introductions, but great friendships can be developed despite them.

Be prepared to face any problems due to conflicting personalities, and have a plan ready to enact to deal with these challenges.

Have a number of alternatives and solutions in mind. Do you have room in your house to keep the animals separated until they can tolerate each other's company? Are you equipped to set up a dog-free area if your dog threatens your other animals? Can you trust that all people in your home will be diligent about keeping the animals in their respective environments? Do you have the patience and persistence to train the animals to respect each other? If they can coexist peacefully when you are present, can you provide a system to keep them apart when you are not around?

Next week: Introducing New Dogs to Resident Dogs

For more Dog Tips about pet care, adoption and the work PAW does, visit our website at:

Partnership for Animal Welfare, Inc.
P.O. Box 1074, Greenbelt, MD 20768

Last Updated: April 26, 2018 (LET) PawSupport