7 Tips to Smoothly Introduce a New Pet to Your Household

Bringing a new pet home is an exciting time, but it can also cause disruption in your household. Take the time to prepare your home, family, and current pet for a new addition before bringing home that adorable puppy you found in an animal shelter. Follow these seven guidelines to successfully introduce a new pet into your home.

#1: Arrange dates for pets.

It would be wonderful if pets could instantly become best friends, but this is uncommon, so you should look for a new addition whose personality compliments your current pet. The feisty kitten may have captured your heart, but your elderly cat with arthritis and kidney disease will undoubtedly have other ideas. Think about your family's preferences as well when selecting a new pet. Are you looking for a more laid-back couch potato or an energetic pet that you can take running and hiking? How long do you have to spend training your new pet? Are you able to devote the necessary time to a young pet?

#2: Establish separate pet areas.

Create separate areas for your new and existing pets once you've decided on the best pet for your household. This will allow them to have their own areas to relax without having to compete for resources. To introduce the pets gradually, you may need to use baby gates at first to keep the areas truly separate. Cats, for example, often require more time to adjust to change than dogs, so prepare a spare bedroom or office for your new cat. For maximum comfort, provide a litter box, food and water dishes, bedding, and a climbing tower, and allow your cats to sniff each other under the door until they appear to be comfortable with each other.

#3: Introduce your pets' scents in your home.

When introducing your pets, mix scents to ensure a smooth transition. Exchange your pets' bedding so that your current pet can inhale the scents and pheromones of the new pet, and vice versa. This will help to reduce your pets' and your own anxiety.

#4: Let pets meet face-to-face in neutral territory

Try an in-person introduction after your pets have "met" via smell. While meeting on neutral ground is challenging for cats, this method works well for dogs. Instead of taking your new dog inside right away, explore a neutral area first, like a park or open field. Then, take your time introducing the two animals while maintaining enough of a distance for them to see and smell each other.

#5: Use positive reinforcement for both pets at all times.

Include training activities that help your pets focus on you rather than each other as you bring your pets closer together. Trick training combined with food rewards will create a positive experience and help your pets bond. Bring them closer together gradually, asking each pet to sit and focus on you if they become too agitated. You and your pets will soon be walking side by side with no problems if you proceed slowly and give out plenty of treats.

Heres an example of one of the many positive reinforcements you can use:

"Our 4 year old dog “Mac” gets very excited when meeting new people or other animals, which can be a very stressful situation.

Whenever we are introducing new friends or visitors to our home, we give her the Nature’s Pet Relief CBD treats. Not only does she love the taste, it also helps keep her relaxed and calm making the intros a much easier experience for everyone!”

- Mavi G. Austin, Texas

#6 Maintain a routine for your pet.

Animals thrive on routine, and any disruption can be harmful to their physical and mental well-being. Stressed-out cats who have experienced household changes may experience urinary problems, whereas dogs may behave destructively. Avoid altering your regular routine when bringing a new pet home. Maintain a regular daily schedule, get up at the same time every day, and walk, feed, and interact with your pets. Spend one-on-one time with each pet, whether it's walking, playing, or grooming, to help your current pet feel safe and secure. Plan group activities as well to foster positive interactions and make your pets feel more at ease with one another.

#7: Show both pets some patience.

Remember that it may take a new pet some time—possibly several months—to get used to your household and for your current pet to accept the new one. But you can coexist peacefully if you have patience and encouragement.