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National Get A Pal For Your Pet Day 

November 15 2023

November 19th is a big day for our animal companions: it’s Get A Pal For Your Pet Day. Many households out there have multiple animals living together peacefully. However, this isn’t always the case. Some pets are just happier being only pets. A local Nacogdoches, TX vet offers some advice on getting a second pet in this article.

Benefits

There are some definite pluses to getting a second pet. First and foremost, you get to enjoy double the love, double the cuteness, and double the cuddles. Your furry friend will also benefit from the interaction and comfort of having a ‘sibling,’ playmate, and, of course, napping buddy. 

Making The Match

Choosing the right pet is more than half the battle here. Find out as much as you can about your potential pet, and take time to get to know them. This is one area where adopting from a shelter can be beneficial. Shelters usually try to vet their furry wards, and determine if they would be suitable matches for homes that already have pets, or if they would instead be better off without four-legged roommates.

Fluffy and Fido can form very close bonds. They also sometimes decide on a truce and mostly ignore each other. Either of those situations is usually fine, as long as both pets are content and comfortable. 

However, some pets act fearful or aggressive towards their roommates. This can lead to dangerous altercations. Be very careful when making a match. Consider both pets’ ages, sizes, and histories. Breed is also a factor, particularly with dogs.

 Both dogs and cats are often more accepting of puppies and kittens. If you’re adopting a puppy or kitten, there may not be much background to look into. However, if your new buddy was a rescue and/or wasn’t properly socialized, you may have some extra work to do. For adult pets, find out what you can about their history and, if possible, breed. Ask your Nacogdoches, TX veterinarian for tips on this.

Introducing Two Dogs:

If you’re adding a second dog, then your best bet is to introduce Rocky and Fido before finalizing the adoption. Ideally, this should happen on neutral ground, such as a park or quiet trail. Pay attention to both dogs’ body language. Good signs include fast tail wags and cheerful behaviors, like the playful ‘bow’ dogs do when they’re feeling frisky. (Play bows are when a dog puts its front end down and its hindquarters up, indicating a desire to play. This never stops being cute.) Red flags include snarls, growls, tail tucking, and licking lips. While sometimes dogs do warm up to each other, if they just seem to immediately dislike each other, it may not be a good match.

  • Take Things Slow Tossing two pups together and hoping for the best is really just not a good idea—in fact, this could result in fighting, injury, or worse. Let the two dogs see each other from a distance first. If things seem to be going smoothly, let them approach each other slowly.
  • Use Leashes Keep both dogs on leashes during initial introductions. This is essential for maintaining control over them. If possible, have a family member or friend hold one dog’s leash while you hold the other. You won’t have much control if you attempt to hold both leashes at the same time!
  • Pay Attention to Body Language Doggy body language is the best indicator of how well the first introduction is going. Knowing how to read the signs—can tell you whether the dogs should continue to greet each other or if you should separate them and try again later. 

Signs of a good first meeting include relaxed body language and facial expressions, tail wagging, and play bows. On the other hand, tense body language indications include things like tails tucked between the legs or growling or snarling. You’ll want to separate the dogs for now. 

Moving Forward 

If you’re bringing a second dog home, give each pup their own sleeping and eating areas. Make sure to give each dog some alone time every day. This is especially important during the first few weeks, because two dogs who spend too much time together can become overstimulated and start exhibiting aggression and other bad behaviors. 

A meet and greet isn’t going to be a very good gauge with kitties, as cats rarely like each other at first sight. In fact, it’s normal for them to initially hiss and ‘poof’ at each other. The kitties’ histories really come into play here. A furball that has always been an only pet is likely to be very jealous of a rival, and will take longer to warm up than one who has always lived with other felines. However, with time and patience, most of our feline pals do learn to at least tolerate their roommates. Think things over carefully, and ask your Nacogdoches, TX vet for more information.

Cats

With cats, you don’t have to worry about size differences as much, so age, history, and personality are the biggest considerations. If your resident kitty is a senior, a playful kitten may be too much for her. You may instead want to consider two kittens: the little ones will play with each other, leaving Fluffy alone to nap peacefully.

When you first bring your new feline friend home, set her up in a quiet back room with food, toys, treats, a litterbox, and bedding. This will give her a quiet place to relax and settle in. 

It won’t take your resident kitty very long to realize that there’s another kitty in the house. She will probably spend a lot of time sniffing at the door. Your pets may also start playing pawsies; under the door. Give both cats food and treats near the door. This will help them learn to associate each other’s scents with positive things.

When both your cats seem to have accepted one another’s presence, it’s time for formal introductions. This is very important, as first impressions are a pretty big deal to kitties. Take your new pet out into the living room in her carrier. Let your furry buddies see and smell each other. You may see some hissing and poofing at first, but this should diminish steadily. When your cats seem calm, you can let your furball out of her carrier.

Cats don’t generally like change. At first, they may growl or hiss at one another. If they actually fight, you’ll need to separate them. Offer your cats toys, treats, and catnip together can help them form pawsitive associations. Dual play sessions can also help. 

Make sure to provide separate food and litter boxes, as well as a few pieces of pet furniture. Be sure to offer your feline buddies a variety of toys to play with, as well as plenty of comfy beds to choose from. Last but not least, pay equal attention to both your pets.

Conclusion: Many pets do live together in peace, but this isn’t guaranteed. Taking time to make the right match and making introductions carefully can go a long way towards helping your furry pals become friends.

Please contact us, at your Nacogdoches, TX animal clinic, with any questions about your pet’s health or care. We are here to help! 

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