Tips for Creating a Happy Multi-Pet Household

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Over 60% of pet households include both cats and dogs, and while it’s no secret that cats and dogs can have a difficult relationship, that doesn’t have to be the case. It seems like every cat and dog interaction is a lost cause for some households. Whether a cat is secretly plotting against a dog or a dog is persistently chasing a cat; it’s almost impossible that they get along under one roof. Don’t expect cats and dogs to be natural best friends right off the bat, a lot of work and patience will be needed to make this relationship work.

Does having your dog and cat tolerating each other seem like an impossible goal to reach? Surprisingly it doesn’t have to be, and it actually can be done! Give some time for the two species to become acquainted with one another and even bond and develop a relationship.

If there is still trouble in paradise months down the road, maybe it’s time to add some strategic planning into the mix. Time to diffuse the problems and get this family feud fixed once and for all.

Below are some helpful tips for creating a happy multi-pet household:

Slow Down the Introduction Stage

For pet owners who are just bringing a new pet home and there’s already another one in the picture, make sure to approach the introduction with caution. If you have a dog at home and you are bringing in either a cat or dog, make sure they are trained up on their simple commands.

If one of your pets can follow obedient cues, this will show the other one how to behave and act. Within the first couple days of the introduction, keep the two animals separate unless they are carefully supervised. You want them to slowly become acquainted with one another and build a solid foundation before any problems can occur.

Consider Your Pet’s Personality

If you have an aging dog at home, bringing in a spunky and playful kitten may not be the best decision. These two animals are going to have very different behaviors, energy levels, and characteristics. Before setting yourself up for a hostile household, think about your pet’s personality and age. These two factors should be highly considered when bringing in a new pet into your home.

Share the Love

Keep in mind that these two pets are fighting for your time. An easy way to ensure that your pets aren’t fighting over you is to give them each their own separate love and attention. Your pets will be able to sense any favoritism, which may further their conflicting relationship. If you are dealing with multiple dogs, take them on walks together so the entire group can bond.

Separate Your Pets at Meal Time

A common problem that can occur between your pets is trouble during dinner time. If one of your pets tries to steal the other’s meal, separate the two at feeding time. Place each of the bowls in different areas of your house to make sure there is no conflict.

Monitor Playtime

Whether it’s two cats, two dogs, or a combination of each, a little roughhousing is completely normal. Dogs are especially known for getting physical with one another.

However, there is a fine line between playing and hurting. If there is already conflict between the two, you as the mediator should be there to control the situation and break it up if needed.

Give Them Space

Just like with any relationship, if you try to force the two to like each other, it probably won’t end well. Let them have their space in different rooms of the home, so they aren’t constantly fighting for the same spot.

Be the Leader

Chances are, if two of your pets are hostile with one another, it could be because one is trying to show dominance over the other. This is especially true for households with multiple dogs. So how can you overcome this?

It is critical that you as the pet owner establish yourself as the leader. Once your pets realize this, they will turn their obedience towards you, and end their bickering between each other. Show your role by being assertive when needed. If the animals are fighting, calmly break it up, and keep them separated from each other. Another helpful tip is providing incentives or rewards for your pets when they act submissive and friendly. Always make sure to encourage good behavior when it’s deserved.

Living in a multi-pet household has its ups and downs. However once a solid relationship is established between the two pets, you will never have to worry about either of them being lonely again. They will both have a best friend waiting for them whenever they want!

Keep the peace in your home by trying these tricks above. The last thing you need is chaos in your home, and that’s why a slow introduction is key to success.

Do you live in a multi-pet household? What did you do to establish a relationship between your cat and dog?

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