How to Add Another Pet to Your Home
It can be wonderful to bring another pet into your household, but it can also take some getting used to for your new addition, your current pet (or pets), and yourself. These tips—along with a little time and patience—can help make it less stressful for everyone involved.
A Room of Their Own
Before you bring your new pet home, set up a cozy private room where they can start acclimating to their environment peacefully. Giving them a separate space also gives all pets time to adjust to each other’s sounds and smells before meeting.
Make sure the room is warm and safely pet-proofed. You should also stock it with necessities and creature comforts, like food, water, a pet bed, blankie and toys.
On homecoming day, put your current pet(s) somewhere safe and out of the way. This allows your new pet to explore and sniff around the new digs undisturbed before you leading them to their exclusive room.
Once you’ve secured your new pet, you can let your other pet(s) investigate the new scent around the house. Your pet may express excitement by the new discovery. That’s to be expected, but don’t let him / her near the new pet’s door if barking or hissing takes place.
Meet and Greet
If all goes well for a few days, you can install a secure gate, like a baby safety gate, at your new pet’s door. Let your pets meet at the gate and look each other over. If either pet shows aggression, calmly close the door and try again in a day or two.
Once your pets are comfortable with their gated introductions, you can attempt a brief face-to-face meeting. Never force interaction and keep it short at first – just five or 10 minutes to start.
Happily Ever After
As your pets acclimate to each other, you can increase their engagement times. Supervise their interactions, especially during the first few weeks, and separate them if you notice any aggression.
If weeks go by and your pets still can’t seem to get along, you should seek help from your veterinarian or a behavioral specialist. Any cost will likely be well worth a peaceful household in the end. Some pet insurance plans, like ASPCA Pet Health Insurance, cover behavioral treatments that can help your pets live together happily ever after.