Thursday, August 8, 2019

Full (Dog) House: Introducing A New Pet To An Already Packed Household

If you think having more than one child under one roof can cause problems, imagine what it's like for your pets! Living with many different pets under one roof is a big challenge but this shouldn't stop you from opening your door to all the pets you want. But it's about consistency and ground rules. And it all depends on a few different factors…

The Space

From a common-sense approach, you need to have in a space for your pets to thrive. When introducing various animals into a home, especially at the same time, you need to ensure that you have, not just the time, or even the finances, but actually the space for all the pets you want to buy. When you think about something like a ferret, they aren’t necessarily going to be spending a lot of time outside of the cage. And while you might be looking for the best ferret cage to house them, consider how these animals that will be in cages are going to thrive. If you have a guinea pig, they're going to want to be out of the cage a bit more. On the other hand, having rabbits in hutches means that they will be more self-sufficient and spend time there. And at the same time, you've got to think about the practicalities of the space.

Preparing For Hostility From The Older Pets

Adding a new pet into the family requires big changes, not least for the animals. It all depends on their individual practicalities. After all, introducing a puppy is more straightforward than introducing a snake, but you still have to prepare yourself for some level of hostility. Bringing home a new pet, especially when you have dogs and cats in the household already, means they will go through three different levels of acceptance. First, hostility, then the pet will become tolerant, and, hopefully, after this stage has passed, the original pets in the household will begin to bond with the new breeds. You have a hand in making this smooth integration. Letting them look and examine each other is key, but don't let them have physical contact. If you have different pets that have unique smells, let the new pets come into the household, but keep them in a crate or a cage while the regular residents get used to the smell. From there, you can keep the new pet in a room that's closed off, allowing them a bit more freedom. From there, you can supervise interaction, as long as all the pets seem calm and friendly. At this point, put their toys away, especially preferred toys.

Assessing The Different Diets

Different animals have different diets, which is common sense. But when you have more pets than you are able to keep an eye on at the same time, if your dog gets into the cat food, or any other food that could cause health problems. Also, if your pet has a specific diet that's been prescribed by a veterinarian, this can cause issues. The best trick is to make sure that your pets feed at exactly the same time, but in different parts of the home. Put all the food out, and then make sure that one pet stays in the kitchen, one in the living room, and so forth. Put away the remaining food, and make sure that it is completely out of the way. As you have to maintain some sense of regularity in life, by feeding them all at the same time, this can help to make that balance better for you, but also, ensure that the pets don’t get into each other's food.

Try Not To Let One Pet Dominate Your Attention

Having a new cat means that they can dominate your attention because they need more help. On the other hand, some may be completely self-sufficient, but they have a personality that demands you dote on them more. With something like a new puppy, you need to potty train them, encourage their obedience, as well as take him to the vet. And personality clashes can occur between the pets. This can be difficult, but it's your responsibility to keep them all simulated to the level that they require individually, but be sure to spread your love evenly. On the other hand, with cats, and more independent animals, you can spend quality time with them on an individual level. It's all about keeping them exercised and stimulated, so they are happier and healthier.

Minimizing Fights

It can happen. But while lots of animals know better than to get involved in a fight, it's still a responsibility to train the animals when possible. If we have dogs, like terriers, we need to reinforce what is called “training incompatible behavior." For example, with a dog, if you teach them what “go lie down” means, and if the dog ever gets up to chase another animal around the house, you tell them to “go lie down” and reinforce this with a treat. It also depends on the reason for the fight in the first place. If they are fighting because of food or toys, introducing more toys, so the pets don't need to share, will be a big help. It's also about encouraging each animal to have their own space. To do this, put their accessories into one place so they are tempted to go back there all the time. It's very difficult at the beginning, but constant reinforcement and training will get the message through.

Arguments and scuffles are par for the course when anybody lives under one roof, but animals to be continually taught one single lesson. So you've got to have the time, energy, as well as the space to do it appropriately. As nice as it is to have many different pets, they can be an emotional drain when they are going through a difficult patch. It's important that you know what you're getting yourself in for. Having many pets can be incredibly rewarding, as long as you are prepared to go through the settling in period with an open mind.

Disclosure: This is a partnered post. 


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  7. I know this is really important, especially with dogs. Thank you for publishing this article. It is very helpful.

  8. We have two cats and a dog and would like to adopt 2 more cats and another dog this year so we are constantly thinking about how it will work out with all the different personalities. Having space is very important. Our cats usually stay on one side of the house for some unknown reason and the dog is on the other side of the house, its not that much room but we keep introducing them to each other gradually so they'll get more and more comfortable which is already starting to happen 2 months later.

  9. This is a great article! My girls have been begging for a second cat for a few years, but with a dog as well I feel like it is a tricky balancing act.

  10. great info not all dogs will get along


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