So, you already have Mr. Meowington (your favorite little kitty) and now you want to add a dog into the mix but are not sure where to start? Going to a pet store or shelter and selecting a dog just because she is cute may seem like a good idea, but what if you bring Miss Mary Puppins home and she doesn’t get along with your feline friend?
Pets are like children, the better they get along the happier the whole family will be. Here is our guide to help you determine the most cat-friendly dogs out there and to help you introduce her to Mr. Meowington.
Determine the Best Cat-Friendly Dog Breeds
Knowing which dog breeds that are good with cats will help you avoid any possible catastrophe. According to Bark Post, some of the best cat-friendly dog breeds are Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, Basset Hound, and Bichon Frisé.
But you are certainly not restricted to these few, there are other sites like Pet Bucket which has a more extensive list including breeds like Shih-Tzu, Maltese, and Yorkshire Terrier.
We understand that it can be overwhelming, like trying to select a movie from Netflix, so your best bet is to talk with an experienced pet owner or take some time to watch videos to see how a cat and your preferred dog breed generally interact with one another.
Much of it will depend on the temperament of your cat; does he isolate himself a lot, does he get along with all of your current family members, does he scare easily?
To help you further, watch this cute YouTube video below to help you see some of the interactions between cats and dogs that don’t seem to mind having each other around.
Introduce Your Pets to Each Other the Right Way
Even if you do select a breed that is deemed to be a cat-friendly dog if you don’t let them get to know one another properly you may be setting your pet family up for a disaster down the road. PetMD has some great tips to consider when first introducing the new family members.
Pay close attention to the dog as dogs typically love the chase, that is, the chase of cats. Keep your cat calm because if he decides that he wants to bolt, the dog will likely try and pursue. Use some of the following tips to help ensure that your first meeting is a success:
- Provide elevated spots for your cat
- Contain the first meeting to a smaller room (use baby gates or pet gates if needed)
- Restrain your puppy so that she can’t give chase
According to this YouTube video by Leerburg.com, dogs are pack animals and it’s the owner’s job to teach the dog that the cat is part of the pack. You cannot simply bring a dog in and let it run free, you need to provide a controlled exposure.
To warn you, it can take weeks or months to fully introduce the two to each other. Make sure the dog is on a leash when she enters the home and then put her into a crate so that the two are able to sniff each other out first. If the dog barks at the cat, give her a stern verbal warning followed by some lemon spray (a safe deterrent) if needed.
The dog should not be released from the crate until a full week has gone by and the dog no longer barks at the cat. I hear you asking, how is this fair to the dog? Well, the dog can be released from the crate, but only when the cat has been put in a contained room somewhere else in the house.
When you do release the dog from the crate with the cat still in the room for the first time, make sure that the dog is on a leash. Give a firm no command if the dog decides to chase the cat, but also don’t forget to praise your puppy for proper behavior.
Chances are you don’t already own a crate, so, you can find one on Amazon which offers your dog two door exits. You can also read the following Leerburg article that discusses the same methods as the video above but provides a little more detail.
Avoid the Following Mistakes
Sometimes, we become impatient, sometimes we think that we maybe didn’t pick the right dog to bring home. But in many of the cases when it appears that a dog isn’t getting along with our cat it is because we made an error in their introduction to one another.
So, you read the articles you watched the video, and after a week you dropped everything and just let the dog and cat do their own thing. Stick to the plan you have set up, even if everything seems to be going well between the two of them. Remember consistency is key from all pet owners, including children.
Forcing the two to “like” one another by pushing their faces together isn’t going to make it magically happen. Although pets have personalities like humans, they aren’t humans, they have animal instincts that may initially control their first and second impressions of one another.
If you read further in the PetMD article, it discusses how the background of a shelter dog can be a mystery. Perhaps the reason she is in the shelter is that she was aggressive. If this is the case, trying to introduce her to your family where you already have a pet may not work.
Animals are fairly intuitive, but they still need to be prepared for living with another dog. Start by making small changes, moving his litter box away from where you plan to keep the dog or her cage. Make some rooms off limits, those that the dog may be confined to for the first few weeks when you aren’t around.
Even if you are bringing home an older dog into your home that doesn’t mean that she doesn’t need to receive some behavioral training. New home, new experiences, new family members, all of these are big changes and she will need some time to adjust as well; training will help with this.
Making Happy Connections
Finding the most cat-friendly dogs can be a challenge, but there are a lot of breeds to choose from if you conduct your research accordingly. Remember to:
- Watch videos of pet interaction or talk with pet owners to select the best cat-friendly dog
- Introduce them the right way using a crate, a set plan, and a lot of patience
- Avoid forcing them to like one another and know the history of your dog
- Seek help from a pet behaviorist before returning the dog or giving up
If you have any comments or stories to share don’t hesitate to comment, we’d love to hear from you.