Introducing your dog to new pets, including another dog | TeamDogs
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Introducing your dog to new pets, including another dog

Behaviour expert Anna Webb shares her advice on preparing your dog for a new arrival

Danielle Elton

Posted 40d ago

Getty - Kimberlee Reimer

Our dogs are part of the family - we love them, care for them and spoil them just like we would any other member, maybe even more so.

We share incredible bonds.

But what happens to that relationship when a new member of the family is introduced?

Whether a new dog, a new baby or even a small furry, it can be an upheaval for our dogs and they will need to be considered, 

That could mean deciding whether or not they could live happily with another dog or preparing them for the arrival of a baby

If you’ve decided on getting another pet, Anna Webb, behaviour expert and host of A Dog’s Life podcast, shared her advice.


Introducing your dog to another dog

We have so much love for our four-legged friends, but sometimes just one is not enough, especially with so many dogs sitting unwanted in kennels.

It breaks our hearts to think of them without a home or without owners who will dote on them just as much as we do our own.

But if you’re thinking of adding a new dog to the pack, it’s not always as simple as bringing them home, especially if your current dog is in its later years.

Anna told us: “Introducing another dog into the home can be tricky as an older dog can be territorial, and upset emotionally by a newcomer. 

READ MORE: Everything you need to know before you adopt a new dog

“Before taking the plunge be sure your older dog is sociable and realise that two dogs are a lot more work than one dog.”

But she says that it can work.

Anna added: “The old adage that a young dog can bring life into an older dog is often true, providing the older one is still able to play. In fact the older dog can teach the youngster lots of manners.”

To help your current dog adjust to a new dog, Anna recommends feeding the older one first to ensure they don’t feel pushed out by the new addition.

She also added: “Spending some one-to-one time with them both is advisable as well as managing their interactions together.

“I always suggest introducing a complementary breed or mix. For example, many people like Labradors and Jack Russells as they offer a perfect complement. 

“Sometimes similar personalities and energy levels can clash, but as dogs are social creatures, another furry friend in the home adds enrichment, even if you introduce a cat.”

According to Purina, there are certain breeds that get on better in a multi-pet household.

They include:


  • Beagles
  • Border Terriers
  • Corgis
  • Collies
  • Golden Retrievers
  • German Shepherds
  • Labradors
  • Poodles
  • Pugs

Introducing your dog to a new cat

You might think that dogs can’t live harmoniously with cats, they’re often portrayed as age-old enemies but that just isn’t the case. Many dogs share their homes with cats, often becoming best friends.

When introducing a new cat, or vice versa, the Blue Cross recommends keeping them separate in the early days, instead relying on scent swapping for them to get used to each other.

You can do this by stroking each pet without washing hands and swapping bedding.

It also recommends giving each pet their own safe space away from each other, somewhere they can go if they need some time away from the other. For a dog it might be a crate or their dog bed and for a cat it could be a separate room or somewhere high for them to jump.

You’ll also need to consider where you put the food bowls and litter trays.

READ MORE: Dog and cat’s daily ritual of cuddling up together goes viral

Blue Cross advises: “Cat food is hugely tempting for any dog, so keep it well out of the way. Likewise a litter tray can be pretty tempting too, and should be kept out of your dog’s reach. 

“Cats need to toilet in private and if your dog is able to access the litter tray easily or pester your cat while toileting, your cat is likely to become distressed and may even resort to toileting elsewhere in the house.”

If you have a specific question about introducing your dog to a new pet, head over to our ‘Ask Teamdogs’ section where you can put your question to an expert.

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