Introducing new pets and managing a multi-pet household

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If you’re lucky enough to have more than one furry friend, you know the immeasurable joy that multiple pets can bring to your life, at least when they get along. If your furry gang are less keen on a harmonious situation, we can help. Read on for some simple strategic moves to help quiet the chaos.

Start them young

It may sound simple, but setting rules from the very beginning will help your pets grasp who rules the roost, and what they can and can’t get away with. A prime example is sleeping on furniture, begging at the table or jumping on your bed.

Basic commands are best practice

You can rely on some simple commands to keep situations under control, from ‘wait’ and ‘sit’ to ‘stop’ and ‘no’. Make sure all of your pets understand and respond to the word ‘no’ as this will help you discipline them and quickly halt any untoward behaviour. Frist things first though, make sure they know (and respond to) their names!

Peace and equality

Treating your pets the same is important, with no obvious favouritism! This is especially important if one pet in particular is jealous or competitive. If left unchecked, it can result in attention seeking, or even peeing in places they shouldn’t. Many things can trigger this sort of behaviour, including a lack of boundaries and resources, which leads us on to our next point.

Give your pets a bowl and a bed each

By making your pets share resources, you may be unintentionally forcing them to compete for attention and space. Giving them each an individual bowl and place to sleep will result in a much happier environment. Make sure they get plenty of stimulation, playtime and toys will help avoid conflict or any (not so playful) scrapping.

If you have multiple cats, giving each one a litter tray, plus having one additional one, is ideal. Placing them in different locations will also help encourage positive separation.

Feed separately if you can

In an ideal world, feeding your pets with microchip feeders will avoid any conflict during mealtimes, but this isn’t always an option. In which case, the next best thing is feeding them in separate locations. Why can this help? By doing this, you can be sure your pet is eating the correct amount of food, reducing the risk of over and undereating. It’s also common knowledge that both cats and dogs can be territorial, and so will generally prefer to eat alone.

Easy introductions are best

Dogs are naturally inclined to follow a leader, and so, in the case of pet and owner, you are the leader of the pack. By remaining calm and in control in new situations, you’ll be able to lead by example and encourage harmony. When introducing a new dog, one of the best ways to approach the situation is by taking them all on a walk together, and upon returning home, you should enter first, with the newest dog entering last. It may not make much sense to us or seem trivial, but this will actually help your dog understand that everything is as it should be.

If it’s a feline friend that you’re introducing to your fur family, keeping them in a separate room initially, ideally in a carrier, is the best approach. Introductions should be gradual and supervised, with an emphasis on the pets making their own introductions and investigations, in their own time.

Creating the perfect environment

If tensions are running high despite your best efforts, it may be worth looking into a pheromone-based diffuser for support. Relationships between cats are complex and can often be tense. Feliway Friends is specially designed to reduce conflict.

It’s very important that your cats have their own personal space, with wall shelves and cat trees a savvy choice if you’re limited to a smaller living space.

Finally, while showing the same level of love and affection to each of your pets is important, so is treating them as individuals, with their own set of feelings and preferences. Spending solo time with each pet will strengthen your bond with them, and may even improve the general mood amongst the fur family.

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