Do you have more than one pet? If so, you’re certainly not alone. Having more than one four-legged friend means you get to enjoy even more cuddles and love. However, things don’t always go smoothly between our animal companions. Here, a Brampton, ON vet discusses helping your pets make friends.
According to recent surveys done by the American Pet Products Association, of the roughly 85 million American households that include pets, the numbers average out to about 1.6 dogs and 1.8 cats per family. (Of course, no one has 6/10ths of a pet, unless perhaps you count Chihuahuas, so we’d round up for practical purposes.)
The best way to help your pets get along well really starts during the selection process. You’ll need to consider both pets’ breeds, temperaments, and histories. While many dogs really love having buddies to play with and cuddle up to, puppy friendship isn’t guaranteed. If you have two pooches that both have alpha personalities, they may not get along. It will help if they grow up together, of course.
First impressions are a huge deal to our animal companions. If you have a dog, and you’re getting another dog, it’s important to introduce them first. You should be able to tell pretty quickly if they will get along, just by reading both dogs’ body language. If you see lots of tail wags and play bows, it’s a good sign. Snapping and growling? Not so much. If anything goes wrong at this stage, it’s best not to proceed.
The first few weeks are very important. If you have a cat and a dog, make sure your feline pal always has a hiding place to go to if she feels scared. Jealousy is often an issue at this stage. Be sure to give both of your pets equal attention. Make sure that you have enough resources so that they don’t compete for things. You may have to get creative with feeding stations. One thing that may help is feeding your cat at a higher level, such as on a cat tower. If you have a closet or bathroom, you can also install a cat door to that, and feed Fluffy in there.
Please reach out if ever we can be of assistance. As your local Brampton, ON veterinary clinic, we’re here to help!