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How to Introduce New Dogs to Pet Cats

Some dogs don’t think twice about cats and get along with them well; others see cats as prey and great chase opportunities. Cats can strong opinions about dogs as well, so be careful in introducing an unsuspecting dog to a claw-wielding whirlwind.

A new puppy probably can learn to accept your cat as a member of the family. An adult dog that has lived with cats successfully before also will probably be okay. (A shelter or rescue worker may be able to provide information about the dog’s history if you’re rescuing a dog.)

When introducing a dog and a cat, both need protection. Be sure your cat’s claws are trimmed to prevent serious injury to your dog whose eyes are especially vulnerable. And make sure your cat has safe places to escape if the dog attempts to give chase. Finally, supervise all interactions until you’re sure both pets can be trusted.

A few dogs never are able to live peacefully with cats. If that happens to you, you may need to consider giving up your new pet. Being placed in or returned to a shelter is stressful for the dog, so never rush into an adoption without a good chance that your new dog will fit into your home situation.

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