Win tickets to see the smash hit musical Mamma Mia at the Roanoke Civic Center. Two winners will each receive four tickets!
Friday, July 12, 2013
Pet pals? Ever think of adding a furry playmate to your single dog or cat household?
There are many pros to having multiple pets. They can become playmates and cuddle buddies, and even can learn good behavior from each other. But without a smooth introduction, things may not start off on the right paw. The good news is it just takes a little know-how to get things going in the right direction.
Personalities are very important when deciding to add another pet. As with humans, some pets just don’t click, and a big age gap or divergent temperaments can make it tough for them to get along. If you have a 13-year-old dog or cat, for example, an energetic 8-week-old puppy or kitten can be an upsetting roommate if not handled correctly.
Ideally, the pair should have similar social habits and energy levels. Your veterinarian or a trained animal behaviorist can be a good resource to help you decide how a specific new dog or cat might get along with your current pet.
Dog meets dog: Dogs are pack animals by nature and most love having another dog they can interact with in the home. Dogs can enjoy each other on walks and playing around the house. If you already have a dog at home and want to add to the clan, there are a few things you can do to ease the transition.
A low-key first impression goes a long way. Arrange their get-together on leashes outside, and ask a friend to hold one dog while you take the other. A head-on encounter can be off-putting, so walk one up alongside the other. Remember to have treats on hand to reward good, social behavior. A positive stress-free first meeting should result in a successful addition to the pack.
Cat meets cat: Felines need a long time to acclimate to other animals, so make sure your cats keep their distance at first. Close off a room where your new cat can live for a few days. The cats will be able to smell each other, which helps them get used to the idea of each other. Then swap their spaces.
Many cats will do a lot more than tolerate another cat coming into the home. Although subtle to the untrained eye, cats are very social creatures within their pride and will have constant interactions with other cats in the house throughout the day. A smooth introduction can lead to a relaxed home atmosphere where multiple cats can thrive together for years.
Dog meets cat: This can be tricky, depending on the personalities of each animal. A very hyperactive dog mixed with a fearful shy cat can be a recipe for problems if not handled correctly. First, tire out the dog with vigorous exercise — the calmer the canine, the better the meeting will go.
Then encourage the cat to jump to higher ground so it can watch safely from above, where the dog can’t reach it. Until they are used to each other, separate them with a gate or a closed door when left alone, and make sure to supervise their time in shared areas until they reach their “agreement” on how to live together.
Cats and dogs can be great for each other and loads of fun in the same house. But teaching the dog that the cat is not a “play toy,” and letting the cat know it is not in danger are the keys to a fun dog-cat relationship.
Whether you have one, two, three, five or more animals in your household, the rewards can be endless. Companionship, active play time and a healthy lifestyle are just a few. Most dogs and cats enjoy having other pets in the house, even if they won’t admit to it. Ultimately, almost all pets will learn to accept and most learn to love having a new addition to the family. With patience and a little planning to start things off right, you can give everyone in your home some new life.
Weather JournalRain is here; no snow