Introducing a new pet to the household can be an exciting but delicate process, especially if you already have existing pets. To ensure a harmonious integration, consider the following advice:

  1. Choose the right time: Pick a time when you can dedicate ample attention to the new pet's adjustment. Avoid introducing them during busy or stressful periods when you won't have enough time to supervise and manage the initial interactions.
  2. Create a safe space: Prepare a separate safe space for the new pet such as a spare room with all the essentials (bed, litter box, food, water and toys). This allows them to acclimatise to their surroundings and gives your existing pets time to get used to their scent without direct contact.
  3. Gradual introduction: Before allowing direct contact, start with scent swapping. Exchange bedding or toys between the new and existing pets so they can become familiar with each other's scent. Use the same brushes, or, when stroking your existing pet put a glove or sock on your hand and use the same on your new pet.
  4. Controlled introductions: When it's time for the initial face-to-face introduction, you could start by opening the door a little way but not wide enough for either pet to pass through to prevent any potential aggressive behaviour. Keep dogs on a lead for the first few interactions. Allow them to see and sniff each other from a safe distance. Always make sure the new pet is able to retreat back to their initial safe space if they are not feeling confident.
  5. Positive associations: Reward both pets with treats, praise, and affection for calm and non-threatening behaviour during the introduction. This will help create positive associations with each other.
  6. Supervise interactions: Always supervise interactions between the new and existing pets, especially in the early stages. This allows you to intervene if any tension arises and prevents potential conflicts.
  7. Equal attention: Ensure that both the new and existing pets receive equal attention and affection from you. Jealousy can be a common issue when introducing a new pet.
  8. Respect boundaries: Some pets may need more time to adjust than others. Respect their individual comfort levels and give them space if they show signs of stress or discomfort.
  9. Maintain routines: Stick to established routines for feeding, playtime, and walks with your existing pets. This consistency will provide a sense of stability during the transition.
  10. Consider gradual integration: If you have multiple existing pets, introduce the new pet to each one separately to reduce the stress of overwhelming group interactions.
  11. Training and socialisation: More relevant to dogs, but invest time in training and socialising the new pet to ensure they understand basic commands and appropriate behaviour around the other pets.
  12. Address conflicts promptly: If conflicts arise between the pets, address them promptly but calmly. Seek advice from a professional animal behaviourist if needed.

Remember that each pet is unique, and the integration process may take some time. Be patient, and celebrate small victories along the way. With proper guidance and care, many pets can learn to coexist happily in a multi-pet household, and we do our best to test their tolerance levels for other animals whilst they are in our care.