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Getting a new dog or cat is exciting and fun! We have a few suggestions for when you are picking out your newest family member.
If getting a puppy or kitten, consider adoption from a local shelter or rescue society. It’s shocking how many pure breed dogs and cats can wind up needing shelter - even puppies and kittens!
If you don’t find what you want from the shelter or rescue, consider buying from a reputable breeder. A reputable breeder will invite you to see the conditions in which the puppy or kitten is being raised and meet the parents - or at least the mother. Beware of anyone who does not want you to visit the puppy or kitten prior to picking up the pet.
Consider adopting an older dog or cat. You avoid the pesky house training stage, get a pet whose personality is known by the shelter or rescue organization to best work with your lifestyle, and you rescue a pet!
If you’re not looking to get a pet from a puppy mill, here are some things to avoid.
DO NOT pick out your puppy on the internet without visiting the breeder.
DO NOT get your puppy or kitten from a pet store, unless they deal solely in rescues.
If you think there is resistance to visiting the puppies or seeing where the puppies live with their mother, you might be dealing with a less-than reputable breeder.
Introducing your new puppy or kitten to existing pets.
When introducing a new cat, it’s very true that “absence makes the heart grow fonder”. Your new kitten should only be introduced to your existing cat under the strictest supervision and in short doses in a confined area. At other times, they should be separated by a door - around which they can sniff each other, but can’t see each other. You can also trade spaces - with the new kitten getting to roam freely while the older cat gets to explore the new kitten’s space. Do this for at least a week.
After your new cat and older cat are calm when introduced, you can let them have more time together and give the kitten free reign of the house, but still while supervised. At times when you are not available to supervise, the cat and kitten should not be allowed to interact. This stage can take several weeks.
Finally, your cat and kitten are ready to integrate. There may still be bumps in the road for many months, as it takes time for solitary animals to peacefully co-exist.
Dogs are usually simpler to introduce to one another. However, the key is making sure your puppy and older dog are only allowed access to one another in the first week when closely supervised and monitored for any signs of aggression. After at least a week with only peaceful interactions, it should be safe to leave the pets alone together. This is also where crate training may be beneficial - not only to teach your puppy where and when to eliminate his bowels and urine, but to ensure that your puppy is not agitating your older dog while you are not watching. I strongly recommend crate training for all dogs for the sake of safety, as well as help with potty training!
Remember, we are here to help you make your decision and get the best new addition to your family! Do not hesitate to call us with any questions or concerns as you expand your family!