Ask the Vet Archive

Your chance to ask Dr. Mindy Cohan, VMD, our resident pet health expert, what's on your mind!

Topic: Introducing New and Old Pets

Question from Dina in Newark:
We just got a 9 week old puppy and our current dog (3 years) is having issues. She keeps growling and snapping at the puppy. At the same time she acts like she is afraid of him. Please help!

Answer from Dr. Mindy Cohan:
Introducing a new pet to a resident pet can be tricky. There are two key words: GO SLOWLY! Sibling rivalry and jealousy apply to pets as well as children. New puppies or kittens can be viewed as a nuisance by older pets. Many older pets do not tolerate the biting and jumping common to young animals.

Some tips include:
Separate the pets for all feedings, treats, and games. Food can be a major trigger for aggression and jealousy between otherwise friendly dogs.
Crate train your new puppy. This will help with house training and provide a safe place for the puppy. A crate will also provide the older pet with some peace and quiet time away from the obnoxious youngster.
Do not leave the dogs alone together until you are certain that no blood will be shed. The puppy should be at least 4 months of age before being left alone with the older dog.
Be sure to provide alone time with each pet to give them individual attention.
Always give out equal treats. Many treats will be rewarded to your puppy during training. Be sure to give your older dog a small piece of a treat at the same time.
Register your puppy for obedience training classes. This will help to ensure your puppy learns its manners.

Posted January 23, 2007

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