Pet introductions serve as a point of tension and caution regardless of an owner’s experience. Whether you’re moving in with a new roommate or adopting a new animal, proper introductions are necessary for peaceful and nonviolent cohabitation. These meetings must be carefully staged and planned; if poorly executed, the animals’ relationship may never recover.
What to do with toys: Toys and belongings play an important role in pet introductions, but they are a tricky variable to predict. Toys and supplies may be considered property or territory by an animal—if introduced to a stressful situation, the animal may lash out. Luckily, there are ways to assuage this potential tension.
If you can secure the other animal’s toys before the introduction, do so. Use this to introduce your pet to the other’s smell and instruct the other pet’s owner to do the same. Introducing a scent is like showing your animal a picture; it prepares for the encounter by priming them with the idea they’ve met before. Furthermore, swapping toys mitigates any feelings of attachment or possession over toys—the mixed scents will confuse ownership, allowing the animals to, after some time, share.
If you cannot secure the other animal’s toys before the introduction, remove all of your pet’s objects from the introduction space. If your pet feels as though his belongings are in danger, he may be uncharacteristically aggressive toward the other animal. Instead, purchase new toys to introduce to the common space. In providing neutral play, the animals can better focus on the introduction. Once the pets are accustomed to each other, reintroduce the old toys.
What to have on-hand: Though introducing pets is highly dependent on the animal’s attitude and disposition, owners can mitigate stress and anxiety with just a handful of useful supplies. Towels and blankets, for example, are incredibly helpful for both introducing scent and restraining a potentially violent dog. If possible, swap the pets’ bedding and blankets prior to the initial meeting. Additionally, if introducing dogs, keep both animals on a tight leash. Utilizing supplies such as a pheromone spray or diffuser can relieve stress, and purchasing new toys for the occasion is always a good idea.
Grain-Free is a strikingly popular pet food trend. It origins are like those of the Paleo Diet many people have assumed in recent years; according to its proponents, grain-free dog food most closely mimics a canine’s natural, or “ancestral” diet as a carnivore. It works to combat low-cost food fillers, such as corn, wheat, and barley, that were introduced to kibble as a way to create bulk and keep costs down. This food reports to increase pet energy, create a healthier skin and shinier coat, reduce shedding, reduce pet flatulence, and keep animals fuller for longer periods of time. Grain-Free pet food is expensive and popular, but is it worth it?
Put simply: No, it is not worth it. There is no data showing these diets have any health benefits for dogs and cats over more traditional, corn- and grain-inclusive diets. Nutritionally, the most important aspect of a pet food is whether it provides complete and balanced nutrition. If a food contains excesses or deficiencies of specific nutrients, the animal may suffer; this concept holds true regardless of whether the kibble contains grains.
Grain-Free foods appeared as a marketing tactic rather than a genuine concern for pet health. Many foods, including those made for human consumption, market themselves by highlighting what they don’t include. This implies that the excluded ingredient is bad or unhealthy when, in most cases, it is either beneficial or completely harmless. To that end, these foods often use other fillers, such as lettuce, celery, avocado, and chia to make the food bulkier. In a few cases, grain-free food does include a grain—barely is a popular ingredient for many of these trendy food brands.
If a friend or advertisement recommends switching your animal over to a grain-free diet, you may fall prey to this fad. Regardless, if you plan to make any significant changes to your animal’s diet, consult your veterinarian—only a professional can make sound recommendations to improve your pet’s health.
Adopting an animal is an easy decision but becoming a pet parent takes time and patience. As with most major, life-changing decisions, becoming a pet parent also requires quite a bit of research. From breed demeanors and adoption centers to the healthiest food and safest carriers, most new animal owners don’t know where to begin. In fact, most seasoned pet parents are stumped when it comes to certain supply categories.
House Pet Supplies was created as a one-stop resource center for everything pet-related. We provide informative and necessary information about a variety of pet-related supplies—from toys and toxic materials to food gimmicks and healthy treats. Our site is split into three categories:
- “What’s the Deal with That”
- Sticky Situations
- Common Misconceptions
“What’s the Deal with That” seeks to unpack the assumptions and popularity behind certain pet toys and foods. This will include anything and everything from Kong toys to grain-free diets. Our Sticky Situations category is a series of “situation-based” posts, which discuss and explain the materials and supplies necessary for a range of scenarios—heading to the vet, introducing a new pet, flying with your dog, &c. Finally, Common Misconceptions fills the gaps in knowledge regarding pet supply safety—from common safety hazards to barely-understood vet practices.
If you have a question you would like us to investigate, drop us a line in the comment section below. We want to serve the needs of this caring, loving, and—quite honestly—confused community to the best of our ability.