Home > Mom's Life > Family Relationships > Pets > Dog Breeds > Dogs with Other Pets

Dogs with Other Pets

Dogs can and do live peacefully with all sorts of other pets, from white mice and bunny rabbits to parrots and ferrets, as well as with cats and farmyard critters. The secrets to a peaceable kingdom are patience and caution—give them time and keep them safe.

Introduce your puppy or dog to your other pets carefully. The last thing you want is for anyone to be frightened or hurt. Be sure that a responsible adult is in a position to intervene immediately whenever your pup or dog interacts with the other animal until you're certain they're safe together. Remember, when different species meet, they have to learn how to communicate with one another.

Be reasonable about what you ask. Your dog may love and cherish your child's hamster, but if your dog was bred to hunt and your hamster skitters across the floor, the instinct to chase and kill could cause a family tragedy. If you have a puppy, teach him from the start to be gentle with other animals, particularly those who have no way to escape or fight back. If you have an adult dog and want to introduce a new animal to the household, be cautious. Give your dog time to get used to the idea of another animal in his space. If he's never met an animal of this kind before, let him sniff and watch while you hold the newcomer, or while it's in a cage.

Remember, too, that even if he's a lot bigger than the other animal, your dog could be hurt in an encounter gone wrong. More than one puppy has lost an eye to a feline swat, and I recently heard of a dog who lost part of his nose to a parrot. So watch both animals, and be alert to signs of fear or unhappiness that could lead to aggression.

Happily, once the introductory period is over, most dogs get along well with other pets, and together they enrich our lives.

More on: Pets


Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Getting and Owning a Dog © 2003 by Sheila Webster Boneham, Ph.D. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

easter fun
& crafts

Egg-cellent ideas
for tons of
Easter fun.



Healthy Smile Checklist for Kids
Have better dental check-ups with this free printable checklist that helps keep your child flossing, brushing, and smiling! Brought to you by Philips Sonicare.

Kindergarten Readiness App
It's kindergarten registration time! Use this interactive kindergarten readiness checklist, complete with fun games and activities, to practice the essential skills your child needs for this next big step. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

8 Easter Egg Decorating Ideas
Need some fun ideas for decorating Easter eggs with the kids? Look no further for colorful and cool designs!

7 Ways to Curb Kids' Exposure to Violence
American children are exposed to violence more often than you might think. Learn how to limit your child's exposure to violence and manage the mental health and behavioral effects it can cause.