Introducing A New Dog to Your Cat
dogs live peacefully with other animals, such as cats, rabbits, birds, and
rodents. Not all dogs, however, are suited for a multi-species household.
Introducing a dog to a small animal is potentially risky and needs to be
Your Best Bet
You can be more confident that a dog will accept other animals
in the home if the dog has lived with other animals in the past. Puppies who
were raised with cats or other small pets are much less likely to prey on them.
For instance, if your puppy grows up with rabbits, as an adult he will be less
likely than a dog who did not grow up with them to chase and kill a rabbit.
However, some dogs will learn to accept a particular rabbit, but not other
rabbits. There are also dogs who are completely trustworthy with the family
cat, but would chase and kill any other cat.
Watch for certain behaviors in the dog that indicate he might
not be compatible with small animals:
- The dog has killed another animal.
- The dog is aggressively possessive over food, toys, chew bones, or even the
- When on walks, the dog is obsessed with chasing squirrels, rats or
- When excited, the dog becomes unruly, uncontrollable, and doesn’t
- When on walks, the dog stares intently at other animals, and perhaps even
For introductions, the general rule is to proceed slowly!
Enlist the assistance of a family member or friend so there is a person to
control each animal in the room. If you don’t have someone to help, confine the
small pet (cat or other small pet) in a cage or behind a secure gate. Have the
dog on a 4- or 6-foot leash. Have tasty treats (chicken, liver, cheese, etc.)
for the dog within reach. Practice each step for a minimum of 10-15 minutes.
Remain at this level until the dog is able to stay relaxed and focused on you
for at least five minutes at a time. If the dog is unable to remain calm do not
progress to the next step.
1. Have the small pet settled in one room, at the far end from
the door, attended by your assistant. Bring the dog in the room and remain by
the door. Sit down on the floor with the dog and engage the dog to interact
with you. Ask the dog to sit, stay down, and any other commands he might know.
Keep his interest. Praise him for paying attention to you. Stroke him if this
helps him to relax. If the dog is more interested in the other pet and will not
attend to you, use treats to entice the dog to turn away from the pet to face