How to Introduce Dogs to Cats
First, remember this. Slow and steady wins this race. The process of getting a cat and a dog ready to meet is a long process, but please trust and stick to it. For this example, let’s introduce the new dog to a cat already at home.
Second, or maybe this is first, keep the two animals separated. Before bringing your new dog into the home, place your cat in the most comfortable room like your bedroom. This will allow your dog to sniff and smell around the house while your cat is in it’s happy place. The dog will still be able to smell the cat and the cat will still be able to smell the dog without seeing each other.
Now its time to switch. Place the dog into a room and allow your cat to explore and smell where the new dog just visited.
Helpful introduction tips for dog and cats.
Now that both animals have smelled the room where they have roamed it’s time to meet. Tip #1: Place a leash on your dog (we suggest a 3-6 feet leash that’s non-retractable). Once on a leash this will allow the dog and cat meet each other in the same room. Tip #2: reward your cat and dog for calm behavior. Continue (remember slow and steady) to introduce until your cat seems uninterested and relaxed. What does that look like? Your cat may use the litter box or go eat and your dog may not even care a cat is present.
However, if you find your dog is focused on the cat for a long period of time you are not ready to move on to the next step. You may need to keep them separated and try the leash method on another day until the dog does not care about the cat.
The introduction between your dog and cat is going well; now what?
Once your cat and dog seem to show no interest in each other you can let roam and explore around the house. Tip #3: Remember to monitor this stage. Even though the dog is off leash instinct could take over. If the dog begins to chase or act inappropriately, crate your dog and allow the dog to try again in 5-10 minutes. Tip #4: Make sure you keep them two separated when no one is home. Just because the interactions between your dog and cat are going well does not mean you can leave them at home alone. This is not a scene from the Secret Life of Pets. Or maybe it could be, yikes. Use a baby gate, crate your dog or place one in a room. And always remember. Slow and steady wins the race. Good luck.