When your dog or cat starts to get older, you might think about adding a new pet to the family. Unfortunately, not all pets react well to the new addition. There is about a 50/50 chance that your older pet will welcome the new pet with open paws, but it is also possible that he could become stressed or resentful.
Things to Think About Before Adding a Pet
Whether or not your senior dog or cat responds well to the addition of a new pet in the family depends on a number of factors. Certain breeds of dog and cat simply do not get along well with other animals. It may also be the case that he is used to being the only pet in the household and it might take some getting used to if he suddenly has to make room for another pet. Before you add a new pet to the family, keep the following tips in mind:
Consider what’s best for your pet: When your dog or cat starts to get up in years, he may become less active, preferring to nap in peace rather than running around the house. Certain pets might interrupt your senior pet’s naptime or cause more stress than good. Think about the needs of your senior pet before you add another pet to the family.
Think about a dog for an older cat: If you have a senior cat, adding a dog to the family might be a better option than adding another cat. Senior cats are often unaccepting of new cats, especially if they are used to being the only pet in the household.
Choose a pet that has the best chances of getting along: When you are thinking about a new pet, choose one that will have a good chance of getting along with your existing pets. For example, if you have a senior dog you should try to avoid getting a second dog that will grow larger than the senior dog. You should also think about getting a new pet of the opposite sex to minimize problems.
Be careful with your introductions: When it is time to introduce your new pet, be very careful – this is especially important if you are adding a dog to a cat-only household. Make the introductions on your cat’s terms, keeping the dog restrained while the cat has the option to escape.
Prepare a room for new kittens or cats: Dogs are often more willing to accept new pets than cats, but it is still important to make sure that your new pet feels safe. Set up a room for your new furry friend where he can rest and be alone as he settles in. Let him get acquainted with your senior pet on his own timetable.
Keep your pets’ possessions separated: Many of the problems that occur between old and new pets have to do with territorial feelings or resource guarding. To prevent problems, make sure both pets have their own food bowls, beds, and toys.
Feed your pets separately: To prevent fights over food or the development of resource guarding behavior, feed your senior pet and your new pet separately. You should also have several water bowls around the house.
Don’t neglect your senior pet: When you bring home a new pet, it is easy to get caught up in the excitement and your senior pet might start to feel left out. Make sure you give your senior pet plenty of love and affection.
Adding a new pet to the household when you already have a senior pet can be tricky. By following the tips listed above you can make the transition smooth and problem-free for all your four-legged companions.
Content reviewed by a veterinarian.