Blended Families: How To Introduce Pets And Get Them Settled Into Their New Environment

Blended families are certainly becoming more commonplace. And for couples who both have children of their own from previous relationships, moving in together as one big family often makes the most sense. Usually, this is done after a period of time together where everybody has gotten to know each other, numerous sleepovers have been had, and kids have gotten familiar with their new step-siblings. However, one part of moving in together as a blended family that’s often overlooked is helping pets settle into their new environment. Suddenly living with more people than before can cause anxiety for a dog or cat, and if both families had their own pets beforehand, you will need to think about introducing each pet to each other in a calm, controlled and safe way too. Here are some top tips to keep in mind when introducing pets and helping them get settled into their new environment.

Think About Pet Insurance Cover:

First of all, you’ll want to make sure that each pet has up-to-date insurance. This may sound odd, but if you don’t keep your address details up to date, it can invalidate your cover. And moving into a new house and a new environment is stressful enough., let alone if something happens to your pet because of the move.

If you are going to be introducing two pets to each other for the first time, not all animals will get along with each other immediately. No matter how many precautions you take, there’s still the risk that a fight could break out and animals could end up injuring one another. This can happen with any animal but is especially likely with cats who can be quite territorial[1]. A cat insurance policy may provide financial peace of mind if you are hit with an unexpected vet bill due to a fight. You can find cat insurance quotes at Everypaw. Everypaw offers pet insurance for cats and dogs. These include Maximum Benefit and Lifetime Cover.

Create a Safe Space for Each Pet:

Make sure that each pet has a safe space that they can retreat to if needed. Don’t force your pet to come out and spend time with the family or introduce them to another animal if they are not ready. If you have cats, set up a room for each cat with their food, litter tray, a comfortable bed, and some toys so that they can get used to their new surroundings in a controlled and secure space before moving on to introducing them to anybody new. Go in and spend some time with the cat but let them come to you. If your cat is used to you, your presence might make them feel calmer, but don’t force them to come to you or let them be petted and be mindful that they might be anxious.

Introducing Pets to Each Other:

Families who bring two different pets to a new home that they move into together want nothing more than for their beloved furry friends to get on as well as they do. However, it’s important to bear in mind that this might not always be the case. The good news is that by introducing pets to each other correctly, taking precautions and having patience, you can improve the chance of your pets getting on – or at least tolerating each other enough to live together comfortably – in the future. If you have a cat, you can get a plugin that releases pheromones that will help them stay calm and relaxed during the process. Introduce any pets at a safe distance first; a baby gate can help pets get familiar with each other without risking a fight breaking out if one gets too close.

Helping Pets Get Used to New Family Members:

The way that you approach this will depend on your pet. For example, some dogs are very sociable and if they are already used to the new members of the family from past visits and stays, it probably won’t be very difficult to help them get used to the idea of having new people living with them. On the other hand, some pets are shyer and take longer to get used to the idea of having new people around. The key here is to avoid forcing your pet to spend time with the new members of the family and allow them to get to know everybody in their own time. Offer treats, pets and plenty of praise.

Give Pets Their Own Space:

If you’re moving two or more pets together, then it’s important that each animal has its own space, even after a successful introduction period. Pets can invite each other into their spaces, but don’t force them too closely together. If you have cats, it’s important that you have enough litter trays or boxes for them all as too few could lead to one cat getting territorial[2] over one of them, which can lead to accidents in the house. Ideally, you should have one more litter tray or box for the number of cats in your home and spread them out around the house.

Dogs should have their own secure, safe beds or crates to sleep in.

Training:

If you have a dog or dogs, extra training can help them get used to the idea of living together in harmony. Even if the dogs get on well, it doesn’t hurt to continue with training and teach them some new things that might be more important than they used to be now that you are all living together as a blended family. In addition, training is something that the whole family can get involved with, so it helps to foster a stronger bond with the dogs and strengthen relationships between humans and their pets. Clicker training is an ideal option and can be very useful if you have several dogs and want them to learn to wait before running for their food bowl, for example. You can also use it to teach them cool tricks that are lots of fun for everybody.

Moving in together as a blended family can be really exciting but your pets might not feel the same way. Keep these tips in mind to help your furry friends adjust safely.

[1] https://www.catological.com/are-cats-territorial/

[2] https://www.purina.com/articles/cat/behavior/territorial-behavior-litter-box

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