Are you ready to add another furry friend to your family? Congratulations! Research shows that owning dogs and cats can improve your mood, reduce stress, and even manage healthy blood pressure.
But beware that if you already have a cat and are considering adopting a dog, the proper considerations are necessary. Without preparing your home and animals for this big change, you put them at risk for stress and fighting.
Want to learn how to introduce a new dog to a cat? You’re in the right place.
Keep reading to learn how to make this adjustment successful for everyone. Let’s get started!
How to Choose the Right Dog
There are around three hundred forty breeds of dogs. Each has different characteristics and temperaments. So, how can you be sure that you’re choosing the right dog for your home?
When making your selection, think about introducing a new dog to your cat. Consider your cat’s unique personality traits.
For example, if your cat tends to be skittish and shy, a gentle, older dog may be your best bet. If your cat is playful and energetic, a dog with similar attributes may be lots of fun.
Preparing Your Home for Your New Dog
Home preparation is an important part of introducing a dog to a cat. Here’s a simple to-do list to get you started.
- Create safe places for your cat in every room
- Keep the cat’s water and food dishes where the dog can’t reach
- Place your cat’s litter in a private area where the dog is not allowed
- Make sure your new dog is up-to-date on necessary vaccinations
By following this simple checklist, you’ll ensure that your animals feel safe and comfortable while you figure out how to introduce your dog to your cat.
How to Introduce a New Dog to a Cat
Introducing a new dog to your cat can be simple or complicated, depending on the animals’ personalities. Follow this step-by-step list for the smoothest transition possible.
- Figure out which commands your new dog understands before bringing them home
- Give your dog food and exercise to relax him or her
- Place your cat in a secure area of your home
- Allow the dog to get acquainted with your house for a half hour or so
- Take the dog for a walk and allow the cat to roam around the house (to smell the dog’s scent)
- Keep your dog on a short leash for the first few days to prevent attacks
- Reward good behavior with tasty treats
- Allow leashed visits three times a day when introducing a dog to your cat
- Continue this pattern for at least three days, until the cat and dog are comfortable with one another
As you can see, learning how to introduce a new dog to a cat doesn’t have to be stressful. If you follow the simple tips above, you’ll keep both of your animals safe and happy.
Just remember to take your time with the introduction, and to provide safe spaces for your animals throughout the process. Before you know it, they’ll be best friends!
Want more great advice about owning a dog? Check out our how-to articles for tons of great information and tips.