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Multi Pet- Finding the Right Balance

Many families own dogs and cats, cats and birds, rabbits and lizards and they manage to co-exist perfectly fine. However, this doesn’t always come easy and it doesn’t always work. It can be a challenge been a multi pet family when every pet requires different needs, speak different languages and have different behaviours. That’s why to be a successful multi pet owner you need patience… and lots of it!

Communication and a keen eye for detail is the key to accomplishment when caring for your multi pets. You need to be quick and agile in order to react to what your individual pet needs. A lizard for example wouldn’t need as much attention as a dog would, however it needs the correct environment (heat, light, etc.) to keep him/her alive. Whereas a dog would need more attention than the lizard would, but would require less specific living environments! Therefore it is important to find the right balance for each pet.

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It’s always a great idea to plan ahead for situations. If you know that one pet is more fragile or temperamental than the other, then prepare for this. For example if you own a Guinee Pig and a dog, and the dog is extra fussy and the Guinee Pig is quite shy, then train the dog to sit and stay whilst you hold the Guinee Pig. Then, when you are ready and feel safe, let the dog come to you and meet the other pet. This will train the dog that you are boss and he has to be calm, and it will also train the Guinee Pig to feel safe and comfortable in your presence.

Careful management is imperative, and being patience is so important. Never leave your pets alone together until they have completely adjusted. Be aware of possible food aggression and other resource guarding. If you manage to positively manage a multi pet family, the rewards are fantastic and what’s better than your dog and cat been best friends?! In order to help create a positive atmosphere, below are important pointers to consider and follow…

1.Insurance- It is essential to have pet insurance for each animal as you don’t want to be stuck with a large bill because your cat suddenly got ticks. Many families assume that they need individual insurance for the individual pet. However, insurances have caught onto the fact that we as a nation love our pets and so they introduced multi pet insurance. This allows renewing your insurance to be quick, simple and straight forward!

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2. Food - Ensure that you have thoroughly researched what pet food is best for each pet. Feeding your pet the wrong pet food for a different animal can not only give your pet an upset stomach, but it can also be really dangerous! Some animals are strictly not allowed specific types of food; therefore it is really important that this is researched.

3. Introducing your pets to one another - this can be quite difficult as different pets have different temperaments. This isn’t always down to the type of animal either. You may find that your dog and cat get on like best friends, but you also might find that two dogs don’t get along due to their personalities. Therefore when you introduce your pets, ensure that this is in a safe environment and somewhere where if things got out of hand you can easily intervene. You also want to make sure that both pets feel safe and comfortable, for example if you have a nervous rabbit, don’t just put your new kitten next to him and expect everything to be ok.

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4. Patience- Don’t rush your pets into anything because you think that they HAVE to get along. Sometimes they just don’t and you need to be prepared for this. Other times they get on so well you wonder what life was like when they had never met!

5. Attention- If you are bringing a new pet into the family, make sure they all have equal attention. You don’t want any of them feeling left out, but you also don’t want the new pet to feel that they are more important and special as this can cause dominance issues as they grow up.

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6.Positive behaviour- help establish positive behaviour with all pets, they need to know feel that positive behaviour will be rewarded

7. Health - Remember that changes in health status, environment, or the loss of one pet can lead to changes in the relationships between even long-time companions.

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