Throughout all of the stay-at-home requirements the past few months, you may be considering a pet for your family, or adding another pet as a friend for the one(s) you already have! Bringing a new family member into your pack requires patience and some transition time, but it will be so worth it when everyone starts getting along as one big happy family!
How to Know You are Ready for a New Pet
Am I financially prepared?
Pets can come with a pricey tag to help ensure their health, safety, and care for their entire lives. Potential pet owners need to make sure that they are financially capable of providing for these basic needs. When you consider vaccinations, monthly heartworm, and flea and tick medication, spaying or neutering, monthly food and treat purchases, bowls, beds, leashes, collars, and other creature comforts, expenses can add up quickly. In addition, an unexpected emergency can multiply those costs in the blink of an eye.
Is my home pet friendly?
Do some research before you get your new pup to ensure the happiest possible outcome for both you you when you do bring him or her home. Make sure there aren’t any limitations on pets or breeds mandated by your apartment complex, HOA or city. Make sure your home is pet safe prior to bringing a pet home. Is your yard fenced in? If not, are you willing to pay to have one installed, or are you able to take your pet out on a leash everytime he needs to use the bathroom? If you have a pool, is it closed off so your pet can’t accidentally fall in without help getting out? Is there access to any toxic chemicals in your bathrooms, kitchen, or garage that your pet could accidentally get into? Make sure those are securely closed and out of reach of any animals!
What’s your purpose?
Think about why you want a pet. Are you single and looking for a companion to spend your down time with? Searching for a pal to go on hikes, runs, walks with you? Or maybe you just want to have someone to show unconditional love and have that feeling be reciprocated. These are all great reasons to include a pet into your home. While you consider the reasons you want a pet, another important factor is considering if you are willing to put in the time to support and care for this pet. Sometimes this is easier said than done for some people. Pets require attention and physical activity every day. If it’s below freezing, raining, or extremely hot and you don’t feel like going outside, are you willing to face the elements because your pet will still need to go out and use the bathroom? Make sure you are willing to dedicate the time and effort it takes to spending with your pet on a daily basis.
Introducing A Pet Pet to Your Pack
So you did your homework and considered all aspects of adding a new dog to your home and you decided to go for it! Congratulations!
If you don’t have an existing pet and this is the first pet you are bringing home, watch to see how your new pet is acting. If he is shy and timid, give him space and let him check things out on his own, make slow movements, and let him come to you when he is ready. If you happen to see that he is excited and full of energy, then take out a few toys or maybe go in the backyard to play!
Here are a few ways to make an easy transition for your new pet into a household who may already have a pet! Keep in mind this can be a stressful situation not only for the new pet, but also your existing pet so take things slow and be patient! Remember your goal is to set your pets up for success!
First Impressions are everything – how your pets interact for the first time can affect how their relationship grows. Introduce your dogs slowly and carefully. One of the best ways to do this is have both dogs on a leash and have them meet in neutral locations, like a park. Take both dogs for a walk while giving them space, avoid letting them sniff and actually meet face to face at first. You want to avoid confined spaces where the animals may feel stressed or tense. You can slowly let them sniff for short increments of time (2-3 minutes) and then slowly separate them.
Moving to the House
Once your pets have initially met at a neutral location, it’s time to work your way home. Have both pets meet outside in the driveway or yard, never bring a new dog into your home with your existing dog. This could create a lot of tension and a very negative reaction. Once the dogs have met outside your home, it is time to go inside. Let the new dog go in first, and allow your resident dog to follow. It’s a good idea to keep both dogs on a leash at this point and watch how they interact. If they seem tense, separate them and try again later. Keep both dogs in crates to help avoid any negative interactions or injuries.
If your pets still aren’t getting along after multiple attempts of introductions, you may want to consider getting some help. Many dog trainers specialize in dog behavior and helping them to get comfortable living with each other.