You’ve decided you want to be a multiple pet household– 

Now what? 

Depending on what type of pet you currently have, and what kind of pet you’re looking to add, there will be more specific introduction instructions, but what about the basics?  

No one wants to disrupt the peace in their household, so there are some things to be considered when deciding how to go about adding another pet to the family.  

Here are some realistic steps you can take when preparing to introduce pet siblings and nurture their relationship: 

Have a plan. You know your pet best, so you’ll likely have an idea of what their needs are, how shaken up they’ll be by a new pet in the home, and can plan on how to proceed from there. Run through all the possible scenarios in your head, and decide how you would handle each one. Ensure each family member is aware of their boundaries and understand that sticking to the plan will be crucial to success!  

Give it TIME. Getting a new pet is exciting. The dream scenario is that your pets hit it off and become best friends from day one. This is not usually realistic! Remember that the more time and patience you give your pets to naturally desensitize to each other, the better chance they will have at a respectful relationship.  

Know your pet’s personality, and try to match that accordingly. Dogs and cats have varying personalities, just like humans. Just like we are not expected to get along with every person we meet, we shouldn’t expect that from our pets. Before deciding on a new pet to bring into the home, evaluate your current pet’s personality traits and your expectations for them. Many animal rescues and shelters may know the history of some of the pets in their care and can direct you towards pets who have previously cohabitated with others. There are some pets who would NOT be okay living with other pets, and it’s important to be able to recognize that too. Consider it a personality trait, and love them solo!  

Work with a trainer to optimize positive results. Before adding a new pet, consulting with a trainer to work with you throughout the introductions is a great way to ensure success! Having a professional opinion you trust will be especially helpful if you hit any unexpected rough patches or issues. A professional can also remind you to be consistent and patient, which can sometimes be hard to do within our everyday lives. It’s worth the investment!  

Prepare your home. Dedicating space for each pet to have “alone” time can give them the recharge they need during introductions. This will be a big shift in their world! Honor that with some privacy and individualized attention when needed. A bedroom with their crate and a comfy bed inside, or just blocking off a section of the house is something you can easily plan out in advance!  

With dedication, time, and patience, you can find the right fit for your family and set EVERYONE up for success!