Pet Reintroduction

How can I make returning home after a veterinary visit easier?

Reintroduction can go smooth as a breeze or become a nightmare of long-term separation.  Just as the veterinary clinic we want to strive for positive interactions and experiences.  Therefore, it is best to plan for the worst case, which should include controlling the situation, mixing scents (of the different pets) using your scent or using pheromones and proceeding slowly if there is any indication of a problem.

Cats and dogs’ sense of smell is much better than ours therefore using a piece of dirty laundry to put your smell on all the pet has been known to help mask the smell of the veterinary office as well as providing a familiar scent for them.  With cats it is often important to give them a break before returning to the home at large.  Allow the other cats to come up to the one in the carrier and smell them or keep the one returning home in a less used off limit location for a while.  Make sure that the cat returning home has gotten over any stress caused by the veterinary visit or the travel before reintroduction.  If you pet was sedated for any reason, make sure that your cat is full recovered before beginning the reintroduction process.  It is often a good idea to take dogs for a walk together so that they are both distracted from over sniffing the other.   When your pets are finally together make sure that there are no signs of fear, aggression or stress are being exhibited.  These signs make take the form of hiding, freezing, walking slowly, lip licking or lifting, growling or hissing, if your pets are showing any of these signs, change the situation or separate the pets.  Often if one animal if being returned to several it is best to introduce one pet to the returning pet at a time.  This introduction may be required multiple times if it is causing stress. Distraction with treats, toys or feeding may help, as well as you talking to them. 

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