How to Introduce New Pets


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    Research the realistic compatibility of your new pet being housed with your old pets, preferably before you select your new pet. In addition to predator/prey relationships, some animals can be very territorial and aggressive towards members of their own species. Learn what you can beforehand and you’ll have a better idea of how much peaceful interaction you can expect your animals to have.
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    Consider the personality of your current pet or pets. Think about how your pet acts around you and around other animals.
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    Give your new pet as much time as possible to adjust before meeting your current pet. Moving into a new home is enough of a challenge without the added stress of meeting your other pets. If you can, set aside a room for your new pet to stay in for the first few days.
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    Keep your current pet’s schedule as normal as possible. If you are going to house your new pet in a separate room to start with, restrict the current pet’s access to that room well in advance so the change can feel more gradual. Make sure your current pet still gets all the time care and attention he or she is accustomed to.
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    Look for “pre-introduction” opportunities. Give each animal items with the scent of the other animal on them. Allowing the animals to smell each others’ scent before they actually meet can help make the face to face meeting easier.
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    Introduce animals slowly and for small periods of time until they are well adjusted to the sight and smell of each other. Use a crate, child gate, or a leash to control the animals during the interactions. Try to keep the animal who has the most potential to hurt the other one under direct control, either through a leash or a crate. Give the animal that is more likely to be frightened a safe haven where the other pet cannot reach him or her.
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    Reward good behavior. Remember that not all animals are going to be friends, so even disinterest is positive. Offer praise, treats, toys, and affection to promote good interactions
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    Supervise closely. Don’t just throw your animals together and go watch television. Pay attention to the way they interact during different times of the introduction.
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    Be patient. Animals need time to adjust to each other, especially if your old pet is older and the new pet is a baby. It might take months before your animals really begin to accept each other.