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Should You Get Another Pet?

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Picture of Dr. Rick Coufal, DVM

Dr. Rick Coufal, DVM

Dr. Rick Coufal is the founder and lead veterinarian for Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic. Coufal graduated from State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in May of 2000.

Thinking about getting a new furry family member but not sure how your pets will react? To ensure the health, safety, and happiness of your pets and potential pets, it is important to do your research. At Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic, our team is proud to serve each member of your pet family. We want to ensure you have access to the proper resources so you can make educated decisions to establish the best life for your pets and your family.

cat and dog laying on their backs in the grass with text representing the blog post title "should you get another pet, things you should consider before adding another member to your furry family"

Things To Consider Before Looking For A New Pet

  • Do you have time for a new pet?
  • Would your current pet(s) get along with another?
  • Is there enough space for another pet at your residence?

If you answered “no” to any of these questions, it is in the best interest for both and the animal’s best interest to not move forward with the idea. However, if you answered “yes” to these questions, you are one step closer to being ready to get a new pet.

Best Pets: Find The Right Match

It is best practice to choose your new pet based on a “matching” process. It is important to consider the personalities of both animals, especially when it comes to cats and dogs. Like humans, they are more likely to get along when their energy is similar.

If you are not quite sure what your pet’s personality is, try to think about how he has interacted with other animals in the past. Was he playful, shy, or aggressive? The age of the animals will also be a big contributor to the dynamic. All of these aspects will help you determine which pet would be a good match, or if you should get a new pet at all.

If you don’t have a lot of reference points to gauge how your pet will react to other animals, oftentimes, the staff at your chosen adoption center will be able to help you with the “matching” process. 

How To Introduce New Pets

Once you have your new pet, now it is time to introduce your new family member to existing pets and see how they get along. Of course, if the animals aren’t very young, the process is likely to take a while and will need to be moderated by you and your family.

1. Have Realistic Expectations

Patience is key. Keep in mind that it is rare for pets to get along instantly, especially if your pet has been an only child for years, or you are introducing dogs and cats. You will need to be aware of the time you will need to put in to make sure both pets are safe and happy during the transition.

2. Determine a Neutral Meeting Place and Separate the Animals

When possible, it is best to choose a neutral meeting place. This will help keep the animals calm as they won’t be concerned with protecting their territory. You should also keep the animals in separate rooms and spaces of your residence in the beginning. While in these separate spaces, it is recommended that you get the animals familiar with each other’s scent before meeting face-to-face.

3. Make Leashed Introductions

Once your pets have become accustomed to each other’s smell, you are ready to try leashed introductions. You will have both pets in the same room with the dog securely leashed. During this interaction, watch each pet and take note of their reactions and emotions. You should continue these interactions every day until your pets are completely relaxed around each other. Keep in mind, your pets should be kept completely separated when you are not supervising.

4. Have Unsupervised Interactions

After about a month of supervised interactions, your pets should be ready for unsupervised interactions. However, if you have any hesitancies or are not certain they won’t hurt each other, continue doing leashed introductions.

Remember, patience is key. Do not rush the process. Some animals take longer to get accustomed to new surroundings and friends. It is important that you keep an eye out for red flags and watch for like body language, so you don’t end up putting the animals in danger.

Warning Signs When Introducing Cats and Dogs

There are two main warning signs to watch for when introducing cats and dogs:

  1. Lots of aggressive behavior – Whether the dog is overly focused on the cat, the dog is lunging and growling, or the cat is hissing and swatting, then it may be time to see a vet for specific tips about how to make this an amicable relationship.
  2. Changes in normal behaviors – if either pet is not eating, relieving itself, or visiting with your family like usual, he is not happy with the change and may need additional help adjusting.

Make Sure Your Pets Are Happy at Home | Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic

No matter how many pets you have, Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic in Colorado Springs is here to help ensure they are happy and healthy. We are proud to care for animals throughout the year as well as provide the tools pet owners need to take care of their pets outside of our veterinary office. Contact us to schedule a wellness exam, microchipping, vaccinations, and many more pet wellness services. We are also happy to provide ideas about how to ease the transition for your pets.

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Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic is seeking an enthusiastic and caring veterinarian to work relief, part-time or full-time in our general practice. PVC is a full-service, 3+ doctor, small-animal veterinary hospital. We have established an excellent reputation for developing lasting relationships with our clients and for providing compassionate and quality care to our patients.