Adding a New Addition to the Family

26 Feb 2019 | Written by Freshpet
Introducing a new pet to the family can be an exciting time for owners, but unfortunately it isn’t always for the existing pets in the home. To be sure that both of your pets find the experience as exciting as you do, we’ve put together six tips for smooth introductions.

Allow your new pet to become familiar with the home on their own

Each pet should have a space outfitted with everything they need to be comfortable while they adjust to their new home. This area should include access to their favorite Freshpet food, fresh water, toys, comfortable bedding, and, of course, plenty of time with you. During the adjustment process, this area will act as a safe space where they can escape for some downtime away from other pets and other stimuli in the house.

Start by introducing the other pet’s scent

Once the new pet seems more comfortable in the house, begin to introduce your pet to the scent of the other. An easy way to do this is by swapping blankets or toys between pets so that they can “meet” prior to their first real introduction.

Take face-to-face introductions slowly

When you feel the time is right for a face-to-face introduction, make sure that it’s in a controlled environment where they can be separated quickly if necessary. This can be done by keeping both pets on leashes or by putting up a baby gate and having one pet on each side.

Let your pets go at their own pace

Some pets take longer to get used to other animals and that’s okay – let them go at their own pace. Until your pets are completely comfortable with each other, schedule short play dates where they can interact under your supervision. When one or both pets look like they need a break, bring them back to their separate areas. Continuing with this cycle as long as necessary will help make sure that your pets don’t feel overwhelmed and begin to associate those feelings with the other.

Keep things equal

While introductions are taking place, be sure to keep things equal between your pets. Whether you’re giving them treats, toys, or attention be sure that both pets are receiving equal amounts. This will reduce the chance of jealousy as well as give positive associations to the interactions. It’s also important that both pets have their own food and water bowls both during the introduction process and beyond, so you can avoid any potentially possessive behaviors.

When in doubt, talk to the professionals

If you have any questions or concerns when introducing your pets, speak to your veterinarian. They will be able to provide you with some helpful tips or products to help the introductions go smoothly, as well as refer you to an animal trainer or behaviorist if necessary.

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