If you have a puppy or kitten then you know how much joy they bring and you may consider getting a companion for your pet. Here our Little Elm vets discuss things you should consider when raising a puppy and a kitten together.
You have one adorable new pet at home and you know how happy they make you and so you may be thinking about a second pet and raising a puppy and kitten together.
These two animals growing up together can form an incredible bond but in the beginning, they may not always get along. One of the biggest fears is that your dog may mistake your new cat for prey. Here, or Healthy Paws Veterinary Center team explains how to avoid this by setting your puppy and kitten up for success, and long happy life together.
What dog and cat breeds live best together?
There are many ways of ensuring that you are set up for success when it comes to raising these animals together there are ways that you can be proactive before even adding these pets into your life.
The long-term success of this potential new bond may rely greatly on the breed of dog that you decide to bring home, Some dog breeds are more prey-driven than others and some are better with other animals. The instinctual drive to hunt is present in all dogs, in fact, a lot of their play involves simulating some aspect of hunting, from chasing down a ball (small animals) to tugging on a rope (dividing up a catch). Even squeakers in certain toys are exciting to your puppy because they simulate the sounds of dying prey (yikes!).
This prey drive may be apparent in your dog from the moment you bring them home so this is a major factor to consider. As your dog grows to be larger than your cat, regardless of how well they get along, if your pup is of a breed with a highly-tuned hunting instinct, they may have those instincts take over and seriously chance your cat like prey.
Dogs like Shiba Inus, Huskies, Terriers, Beagles, Dobermans, Malamutes and Cattle Dogs all have notoriously high prey drives and, if your puppy is one of or mixed with these breeds, you will likely have to be very mindful of their prey drive when rising them with your kitten.
What is the best way to raise a puppy and kitten together?
While being conscious of the breed that you have chosen for your dog there are many other ways to be sure that you have the best experience possible. There are a number of strategies you can use to introduce your two pets to one another in order to set them up for success and a life of friendship!
Allow them to get to know each other at their own pace
Introducing your pets in a way that both feel as comfortable as possible is important, as well as introducing them at as young of an age as you can.
When first introducing your new pets to each other it is important that neither feels like they can't escape, have plenty of room for them to move away if they need to. Make sure that they are also able to see one another well during this time. Setting them up in connected rooms with a baby gate between them can be an excellent start.
Regardless of how the experience pans out, your new pets will most likely be excited in some form. Your cat may try to make itself look as threatening as possible by hissing and swiping at your dog, this is just your cat setting boundaries and they should relax over the duration of the introductions. The goal from these first few introductions is positive reactions, or even just apathy. If your puppy and kitten are happy to do their own thing while in eyesight of one another, that's a great sign that they will be able to safely and comfortably live together.
Ensure that you spend enough time training your puppy
Working with your puppy through proper training is always necessary but will be extra important if you are introducing them to a new kitten.
The basic commands will be helpful in all everyday situations. You may find that your puppy is getting too rough with your new kitten, getting too excited around them, or beginning to stalk or chase them, this is where extra behavioral training will be useful in order to hinder these unwanted behaviors before they become an issue.
Monitoring your new pets
For a while, you will need to monitor any and all interactions between your new animals. Over time you can assess how things are going and how much time you can begin to leave them toegther unsupervised. Some things you can do or watch for in order to continue making this new situation a success are:
- Avoid having your dog and cat in the house alone together. You can crate your dog when you need to leave the house for long or close off part of your home with one of them in it to avoid confrontations.
- Avoid having your puppy and kitten eat at the same times or in the same place. Some dogs are very protective of their food and may get confrontational with your kitten, even if kitty was only sniffing the interesting food their sibling is eating.
- Set up safe areas of your home for each pet to be alone if they would like. This can include teaching each of your pets to stay out of the other's space, getting your puppy a crate, or setting aside the upstairs or basement for one pet or the other.