Redhead dog licking cat

Although you may have started out thinking yours would be an only-pet household, you may have felt the urge to adopt more pets. And, why not? They are wonderful, entertaining, and provide so much joy and love in our lives. But, there are challenges several of us face when adapting to multiple pets and creating a peaceful home for all.

According to recent statistics, more than half of dog and cat owners have multiple pets. As you might have guessed, most of these households include dogs and cats in the mix (and other small pet companions). And, as you might also guess (or have experienced yourself), newcomers and long-time pet residents don’t always get along–especially at first.

Preparing the Home for Multiple Pets

Whether you are considering adding another pet to your family, or already have a household of furry chaos, here are a few simple tips to keep your multiple pet household friendly.

  • When adopting a new pet, introduce him or her to other pets slowly, providing a separate space for the new pet for the first few days or week.
  • Create a comfortable space for each pet where he or she can go to get some privacy and have a place to escape if overwhelmed or annoyed by another pet or pets.
  • Establish separate feeding stations and meal times to discourage aggression or food “poaching” (we’re looking at you, family dog).
  • Avoid scolding or punishing pets when they hiss or bark at the new pet, as this will just reinforce the idea that the new pet is a threat. Simply separate the pets for a while and redirect the behavior.
  • Be sure to provide your attention to all of the pets and try to establish specific routines to help pets adjust to consistent, predictable interactions and daily care.

Ways to Promote Peace Between Pets

There are numerous benefits to having a multi-pet household. Pet “siblings” keep each other company, help socialize each other, have the chance to learn cooperative, appropriate interaction with other animals, and so much more.

However, there are tricks to negotiating those early days when the peace and sense of place within the family pack have not yet been established. Here are some ground rules to help your canines and felines get along.

  • All dogs need and benefit from training and socialization, for their own well-being and also for the safety of other animals and humans.
  • Feline pals need their space and several places to escape from boisterous canine siblings (consider creating cat-only areas of the home or provide window ledge beds, high shelves where they can perch, or cat trees for climbing).
  • Supervise pets when there is a history of aggression or in the case of a new pet. When it comes to young pets or seniors, you will want to maintain close observation to see how your adult dog behaves and limit any roughhousing or bullying.
  • Keep active pets busy by providing daily exercise, which should reduce the likelihood of problem behaviors or hyperactivity toward the other pet or pets.
  • Feline pheromone products such as Feliway have been shown to help reduce tension and aggression between cats.

Keep in mind that all pets – even those of the same species – have different temperaments and it will take time to peacefully adjust all furry family members to one another.

If your pets have not been getting along or you have concerns about possible aggressive or destructive behaviors, please give The Pet Experts a call to schedule a consultation to help you establish a calmer, well-adjusted multi-pet family.