How To Introduce Your New Pet To Your Family Following A Loss


Are you introducing a new puppy or kitten to your family? While this is an exciting and memorable time, there needs to be some thought on introducing your new furry friend to the rest of the family following a pet loss. Especially if you still have pets in the family. 

However, with a bit of planning and preparation, this can be managed so everyone can enjoy the introduction with minimal pressure. Of course, the team and Patch and Purr want the introduction to go as smoothly as possible. So, we’ve put together a list to help!


How to Introduce a New Pet After the Loss of One

Before you go ahead and bring your new pet home, consider the needs of any of your current pets. Like us humans, pets also experience loss when a pack member passes. If you aren’t aware of the signs of pet loss, we’ve covered those in a previous blog to help you support your pet while they process the pain of loss too. The good news is that with some animals, introducing a new pet can lift their spirits! So if your pet is struggling, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they won’t accept a new pack member. 

You know your pet better than anyone, so if you have any doubt your pet won’t enjoy the introduction of another pet, we recommend that you hold off on gaining a new family member. Your family’s safety should always be prioritised, and introducing a new pet could potentially put them in danger if your current pet isn’t friendly or accepting of other pets. 

After reading this article, if you realise that you aren’t ready for another family pet, you can still give love to those in other ways.

Volunteering at a shelter is a fantastic way to provide love and receive the companionship of another pet without the commitment, whilst also being a philanthropist! So get in touch with your local shelter and see if they’d require a helping hand.  With the holiday season approaching, animals are often gifted. However, without sufficient planning and consideration to the lifelong commitment required in caring for a pet, unfortunately, there are spikes in the numbers of those surrendering their animals at shelters following this time.  With that in mind, shelters are usually are more than happy to receive some extra helping hands. 


Before You Bring Your Pet Home

1. Pet-proof your home 

Regardless of whether you have a cat or dog already, you need to prepare the home for your new arrival before you bring them home. We first recommend you spend some time pet-proofing your home, particularly if you’re getting a new puppy or kitten. It's well known that young pets will chew anything in their way, so put safety first and chew-proof the home! 

2. Provide a hiding place

Once complete, you can begin ensuring your current pets have a ‘safe place’ to reside if they get overwhelmed by the new pet. Young pets are full of energy, so if you have an older dog or a cat (who are generally timider than dogs), this can be an overwhelming time for them if they can’t break away for some alone time. 

3. Place food and water where only your existing pet can reach it

Feline owners ought to provide high resting spots to safely look below and watch the new dog or cat from afar. You should also move any water, food, or litter trays to an area only that pet can access. Moving resources to a safe place will reduce your cat from being too stressed to eat or drink. Ideally, this change should be done a few weeks before your new pet arrives. 


How to Introduce a New Cat or Dog to One Another

1. Make sure your pet is friendly

Whether you’ve chosen to get your new dog from a shelter or a reputable breeder, they should be able to tell you if they are friendly. Some shelter cats or breeders raise their dogs with household cats, so you may find they are familiar with cats. It’s a myth that dogs and cats can’t get along, so don’t let this deter you from owning both. 

If the dog you’ve bonded with is known not to be cat-friendly, while it's not the easiest transition, it’s not impossible with a lot of patience and behavioural training. However, you should always ask for the opinion of your shelter or breeder if, after knowing this, you still want to take that dog home. The last thing you want is any additional stress or possible injuries to your current or new pet, so always put the safety of your pets first if you can’t maintain the separation or integration of the two pets. 

2. Provide a safe and supervised environment

Along with providing your cat with a high up hiding spot, allowing your pets to socialise within a safe and supervised environment is essential. The first couple of introductions should be short and sweet. You can use gates and a dog leash to keep your dog under control and reward your new dog with treats and positive affirmations to let them know they are behaving well when they are calm. If you need further assistance, getting in touch with a qualified pet behaviourist is a great idea to ensure the merge of your two pets carries on to improve over due course.  

How to Introduce a New Dog to Your Dog

1. Introduce them on the leash 

Dog lovers are understandably loyal to dogs, so it's only right to know how to introduce a new canine to your existing pack properly. Introducing your new dog is best done in a neutral space where pets can naturally interact with another. Going for a walk together is a great and safe activity where this can be achieved. A telltale sign your pets are getting along is through their body language, so be sure to monitor this during their first interaction. If neither dog shows signs of aggression or fearfulness, you can take them inside to meet.

2. Put up the pet toys 

Your existing dog likely has a box full of chew toys and balls, so to prevent guarding, these should be removed from the environment during the introduction stages. You can reintroduce the toys gradually over time, preferably at the same time your new dog gets their own. 

Patch and Purr Are Here to Help

Losing a beloved pet is never easy and, knowing when to adopt a new pet following the loss can be quite difficult. Only you will know when you are ready; however, we hope that by using the above information, you will feel more confident and supported in making the right decision for you and your entire family. 

To help you during this delicate time, Patch and Purr offer respectful cremation of pets, both big and small and those in between. If you recently found us following the loss of your pet, you can speak to our caring and friendly team by contacting us online or by calling us on 1300 112 711 to learn more about our aftercare options.


The information contained in this article is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation. You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs, and where appropriate, seek professional advice.



Grief factsheets

If you’re in need of some extra support in the days and weeks following your pet’s passing, take a look at these handy guides written by leading figure in grief and empathy education and author of "When Pets Die: It's Alright To Grieve,"  Doris Zagdanski. 


Contact Us

Patch & Purr pet cremation, for when your loved one is no longer by your side, but forever in your heart.

We strive to treat your loyal companion with the care and respect they deserve at every step of the way. Call us on 1300 112 711 or use the contact form below, and a Patch & Purr team member will get back to you. By clicking send you agree to consent to our privacy policy.