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How to Help Your Dog and Cat Get Along

Owning two pets at once can make for a hugely entertaining and exciting time in your household, but it can also lead to some tensions, especially if you’re introducing a new dog to a cat you already own or vice versa. Here, a Carmel veterinarian offers advice for helping your dog and cat get along with each other.

Introduce Slowly

The number-one rule for introducing a new pet to one that already lives in your home is to go slowly. Don’t force the animals into the same room together all of the sudden—it could end with serious injury or worse. Let your pets get used to the other’s smell, movements, and mannerisms. Gradually, the animals will get used to each other on their own terms.

Provide Hiding Places for Cats

Regardless of whether your cat is the new family member or the older one, he may want a place to hide when he sees the new doggie come through the door. A safe, quiet place elevated off the floor will work best—it will allow your cat to feel he has a safe haven from the dog. Ask your veterinarian about the best hiding places for your cat.

Keep Dogs Restrained

Most dogs will instinctually chase a small moving object. If your cat decides to run, the dog will very likely chase it and could harm the cat. Keep your dog restrained upon first meeting your cat, either with a leash or with animal or baby gates set up in the house. These will prevent any chasing episodes, and allow each animal to survey the other through the safety of a barrier. Your Carmel vet can advise you on what types of gates might work with your house and pets.

See a Behaviorist

If all else fails, and your pets just can’t seem to get along, you may need to seek the help of a professional animal behaviorist. Your veterinarian can put you in touch with one—set up an appointment to get his or her recommendation.

 

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