One Big Happy Family: Adding A Second Pet To Your Household

HOT_iStock_000044276980_LargeIf you’re like most pet parents, there will probably come a time when you think to yourself “Having a (dog, cat, rabbit, cockatiel, chinchilla) is so great; so having two would be even better, right?”

Much like the decision to adopt your first pet, adding a second pet to your family comes with it’s own rewards and challenges, many of which are different than going from no pets to one. With a little bit of strategizing, and a lot of planning, you can help to ease the transition from a one-pet to a two-pet household.

Things To Think About Before Adding A Second Pet

The following considerations need to be addressed prior to bringing home a new pet:

  • What is your pet’s temperament, age, size, and health condition? How well would he or she tolerate the introduction of a new pet? The characteristics of the new pet are important to take into consideration as well. For example, an exuberant German shepherd puppy may not be the best match for your senior Chihuahua with health issues.
  • Plan on doubling your budget for pet expenses when adding a second pet. Besides the extra food and supplies, you will need to take into account veterinary expenses, day care/kennel costs, obedience training, and pet insurance for an extra animal.
  • Having two pets in the home will likely require an additional time commitment from everyone in the family, especially during the introductory period. If every member of the household is already booked solid, you may want to reconsider adopting an additional pet until more free time is available (even if the fact that you all are so busy is why you think your current pet should have a buddy in the first place).

Planning The Introduction

Once you’ve figured out the ins and outs of bringing a new furry family member into the fold, the fun part can begin! Keep the following tips in mind when first introducing two pets:

  • Keep the introductions supervised and closely monitor all interactions throughout the early days
  • Dogs should be introduced to each other in a neutral setting, away from the home. Keep both dogs leashed at first, with one adult handling each dog.
  • A new kitty should be confined to one room of the home and be given his or her own litter box, food, water, and bedding. Make the introductions between the new cat and other animals slowly over time and with plenty of supervision.

Don’t worry if your pets don’t immediately become best buds. It can take weeks or even months for a new pet to fully integrate into the household. Give us a call if your pets continue to struggle to get along, we can help you to address aggression or other behavioral challenges before they get worse.

Don’t forget to schedule a wellness appointment for your new pet as soon as possible. We look forward to meeting your newest addition!