You’ve done your research and found your perfect new furry family member. Now it’s time to get your home ready for their arrival. Here are some things you can do to help introduce a new pet to your home.
Adding a new pet to your household is exciting but the reality is, pets take commitment and work. Before your pet comes home, discuss and agree on who will be responsible for regular tasks such as feeding, picking up poop/litterbox cleaning and baths. Having a clear plan on responsibilities will solve any arguments on whose “turn” it is later.
Create a safe, quiet space for your new pet with their bed, food and water and litterbox for cats. This will help them stay calm and not be overwhelmed by a huge new space. Clear the room of any cables, potential spots they could get stuck if trying to hide and any toxic plants. For cats, prepare safe hiding spaces and places to climb up on so they can get away if needed.
Make a note of your preferred local vet, emergency veterinary hospital and puppy schools so you are ready to take your pet for any check-ups, microchipping, training etc. Schedule an appointment with the vet for a few weeks’ time so you can do a full health check early on.
If this is the only pet in the house, once they are calm and comfortable, allow them to explore more of the house, this should be after about a week. For some dogs, it may be best to be given a guided tour while on a leash so you can control and redirect any inappropriate behaviour.
For cats, it is best to sit just outside the room with the door open and encourage them to come to you freely. After 15 minutes, if your cat seems comfortable, you can let them explore on their own, keeping an eye on them in case something happens. Start with an hour of free exploration and increase the time as your cat gets more comfortable.
Close off any rooms that are out-of-bounds and allow your pet to sniff and explore as they are comfortable. Reward your pet for good behaviour with treats or affection so they create positive associations with the new surroundings.
Adjust the amount of exploration depending on how your pet responds. If they seem nervous, don’t force it, rather adapt to expanding the “tour” one room at a time.
Puppies should be kept in one room of the house until they are house-trained.
Once your pet is completely relaxed you can move their bed and food to their permanent location.
Ensuring your existing pets are comfortable with their new potential friend should be a priority before you even consider getting a new pet. Improve the chances of everyone getting along by controlling the situation from the start.
Whether it’s dogs, cats or a combination, you will need to keep them in separate spaces until they are comfortable with each other and their new surroundings. Giving each pet their own space where the other is not allowed will help them ease into the change. The key to introducing your pets is to do it under supervision in a neutral space and to reward calm behaviour.
A way to start is by feeding the pets on either side of a closed door. This way they will be able to smell each other without getting overwhelmed by seeing each other and avoiding any potential chasing. Once both pets can calmly eat near each other you can move on to letting them see each other.
The safest option for face-to-face interaction is to do it through a gate or sliding door where both pets can see each other without the risk of a physical altercation. Distract each pet with their favourite toy or treat so they learn that it’s better to ignore each other. Keep the interaction short, calm, and controlled.
Once both pets are calm or if you think both pets can handle it, you can remove the barrier and have the pets meet in a neutral space. Keep any dogs on a loose leash so you can control any over-excited or aggressive behaviour. This is especially important when introducing cats and dogs, as a dog’s instinct will be to chase the cat should they decide to run away.
Watch both pets body language, if there are any arched backs, hissing, staring or stiff bodies, separate the pets and go back to the previous step. The goal is to keep your pets safe and not force interactions.
If your pets are calm, give them a treat and allow them to get a bit closer (still with loose leashes). If your dog is trained, have them sit or lie down and allow your cat to move freely around the room. Once again, reward your pets for staying calm and ignoring each other. Allow the interaction to last a few minutes and increase the time each day until they can live happily together.
Always consult your vet when introducing a pet to your home. They will be best equipped to give advice on dietary changes, behavioural issues and how they think your pet will respond to environmental changes.
You are not the only one who had to deal with lockdown. For your pets, the change in routine and having you around 24/7 may have caused some stress as well. Now with the colder months starting and you going back to a regular routine, it may be more of a challenge to exercise and treat your pets. Here are our tips for keeping your furry family members healthy. (more…)Read More
Starting 2017 as a furniture design business, Cape Town HOMEMAKERS Expo Exhibitor, JD Collab has since evolved into projects a bit closer to owner, Jessica Leigh’s heart, pets. As a local two-man business JD Collab’s innovative pet furniture, beds, houses and animal inspired wall designs give animals and animal lovers something special that looks great in any home. (more…)Read More
The entries for the Cape Town HOMEMAKERS Expo Design, Art and Textile Design ComPETition, in association with Hill’s Pet Nutrition and Domestic Animal Rescue Group (DARG) are in! Along with you being able to support DARG by bidding for your favourite design, the winning designers will be picked by our panel of expert comPETition judges.
The comPETition judging panel is made up of Marycke Ackhurst and Kim Johnstone from Hill’s Pet Nutrition; writer, curator and lecturer, Marilyn Martin and fashion designer, Kobus Dippenaar.
Tell us a little more about yourself:
Kim: I’m an animal lover and very passionate about my job. I’ve been with Hill’s for just under eight years and feel blessed to work with people who share my passion. I live in Hout Bay and am very lucky to have one of the best views. I’m married and have a six-year-old son, who would love to be a vet one day when he grows up.
Kobus: I’m from Riebeek West and a farm boy at heart. I’ve been in the fashion industry for 35 years. I did a stint in the UK in corsetry and millinery. Back in SA, I participated in my first Fashion Week in 2007 and have never looked back. In 2009, I started a wedding dress collection under the name Anna Georgina and started touring the UK and USA. Today I have 17 stores around the world buying my range.
Marilyn: After eleven years as director of the South African National Gallery, I was appointed director of art collections for Iziko Museums in 2001. I retired in 2008 and have since worked as an independent writer, curator and lecturer. I am an Honorary Research Associate at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town. In 2002 I was admitted to the Legion of Honour of the Republic of France at the rank of Officer and in 2013 I received the medal of the Fondation Alliance française in Paris. I launched my book Dreams and Realities – a History of the South African National Gallery in July.
Marycke: I am one of the very fortunate people that has a job that combines my passions. I, first and foremost, am an animal lover, I am very interested in nutrition and am very passionate about educating pet parents. To work for a company like Hill’s, that share my values and vision, is the ultimate opportunity anyone can dream of. I love that for 16 years I have felt that I can make a difference on so many levels in pet’s lives – be it puppy schools, rescue organisations, general pet education or breeders.
How do you feel about animals? Do you have any?
Kim: We have a German Shepard Milo and a DMSH Cat named Max. My son often refers to Max as his brother.
Kobus: I love animals. We have a cat called Princess. I would love a dog, but it’s not a good idea in a small space.
Marilyn: I do not have any animals.
Marycke: My daughter and I live on a small holding where animals are pretty much our life. I’m passionate about all animals but I have a keen interest in Golden Retrievers and my daughter favours Papillon. We also have two Birman cats and a beautiful black domestic cat called Bibi. We’re involved in showing our dogs and cats and when younger my daughter competed in Junior Handling.
In your opinion, what is the most important trend in design/art for pets?
Kim: The “lifestyle” trend is becoming very popular. Design and art of this kind can be seen to be included as an extension of our home decor and should be as our pets are included as part of our family.
Kobus: Pets are an integral part of human existence. They take a lot of stress away from us and add to our lives. They should get all the love they need.
Marycke: The “Dog/Cat Mom” trend is very popular and important. It reflects that an increasing number of pet parents treat their pets like children. They consider them in important decisions, invest in their well-being, provide in all their needs and consider them family. Therefore they like associating with their pets. “Dogs are a girls best friend”; “Cat Mom”; “My best friend has paws” are phrases commonly used in design for dog and cat parents whether it be their own clothing, pet accessories or even pet furniture. For cats, understanding the need for vertical yet modular furniture is becoming more known. However, pet parents want these items to fit in with the rest of their decor and style.
As one of the competition judges, what will you be looking for in the designs and artworks? Any specific criteria?
Kim: I’ll be looking for creative design that will be versatile enough to fit into any Pet Parent’s home. I’ll also be looking at trend, colour as well as lifestyle appeal.
Kobus: I would love to see innovation – from dog and cat beds to feeding mechanism for when you’re away (single parents) and tech for staying in touch etc.
Marilyn: I have no specific criteria and I look forward to responding to the ideas and innovations that the entrants offer.
Marycke: I will be looking for innovative and creative ideas, design and artwork, that show an understanding for pets and their needs.
Don’t miss your chance to bid on the top designs and support DARG by visiting Cape Town HOMEMAKERS Expo.Read More
Each year Cape Town HOMEMAKERS Expo looks to creatively support a local charity organisation. This year the Domestic Animal Rescue Group (DARG) has been chosen as the beneficiary of funds raised through your bids on the bespoke furniture, textile and art designs created in the Design, Art and Textile Design ComPETition in association with Hill’s Pet Nutrition and DARG. (more…)Read More
Cape Town HOMEMAKERS Expo, in association with Hill’s Pet Nutrition and Domestic Animal Rescue Group (DARG), have launched a Design, Art and Textile Design ComPETition. The comPETition aims to benefit pets less fortunate than our own while supporting local designers. (more…)Read More