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How To Introduce A Kitten To Your Dog: 7 Expert Tips

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on April 13, 2024 by Dogster Team

Dog and kitten smelling each other

How To Introduce A Kitten To Your Dog: 7 Expert Tips

Have you ever wondered how to introduce a kitten to your dog? Do you want a kitten but are afraid to adopt because of Fido?

If you are debating about bringing home a little fluffy kitten, there are some considerations you should take to make it as stress-free as possible for you, your new kitten, and your dog. It’s imperative to find a way to maintain a balanced, harmonious household with a kitten and dog. After all, the kitten will grow into an adult, and you want your dog and cat to become best friends.

In this guide, we’ll look at tips on how to successfully introduce a kitten to your dog so that the end result is pleasant and enjoyable.

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The 7 Tips for Introducing a Kitten to Your Dog

1. Keep Them Separated At First

First and foremost, never assume that your dog will instantly love and accept this new addition to the family. Kittens are active and curious, and there’s a chance that your dog will be afraid at first and maybe even aggressive. Even if you think you know your dog very well, it’s still an animal with instincts, and your dog may attack.

It’s best to separate your dog and kitten by having a designated room planned in advance. Make sure the kitten has a litter box, food, and water. Your kitten will need to acclimate to you and its new surroundings, so pay visits to the kitten throughout this time to ease any stress and give your dog lots of love to eliminate any possible jealousy.

cat and dog separated by door
Image by: Jon Osumi, Shutterstock

2. Let Them Put Their Two “Scents” In

You’ll want to keep the door closed but allow your dog to take a sniff. If your dog scratches or barks, remove it from the area until it can act calmly. Your dog’s barks and scratches will stress your new kitty, so it’s best to deter this behavior. When your dog behaves nicely, give him a treat.

3. Use A Baby Gate

After your dog has taken in all the smells, break out a baby gate and open the door. By placing a baby gate, your dog and kitten will be able to see each other for the first time safely. This will allow you to gauge your dog’s reaction to determine where to go from there. If your dog gets overly excited and stimulated, take him away and try again.

Be sure that the gate doesn’t have any holes big enough for the kitten to get through.

2 dogs behind safety rails
Image by: Alex Zotov, Shutterstock

4. Let Them Physically Meet, But With Caution

At this stage, you’ll want to have your dog on a leash for safety. Monitor the kitten’s reaction toward your dog to determine its reaction. If your kitten is too scared, back off and try again later. The same goes for your dog if there are any signs of aggression. Remember not to rush anything and reward acceptable behavior. It can take time for the two to acclimate to one another, and that’s completely normal—consistency and patience are key.

5. Have Supervised Meetings With Your Dog

It may take some time getting to this point, but it’s time to proceed with caution once it arrives. Try letting the two be in the same room without your dog on a leash. You’ll want to monitor closely for any signs of aggression from either animal. Also, remember to reward your dog with good behavior.

If your dog ignores your commands and fixates on the kitten, remove the dog from the room. It’s important to remember never to leave the two unsupervised, even if they seem to be getting along famously. You never know when the tide will turn, so it’s best to be safe and cautious.

Small cat / Kitten with australian shepherd
Image by: Stock-Asso, Shutterstock

6. Have Some Alone Time With Your Dog

When adding a new addition to the home, try not to deprive your dog of one-on-one time. Take your dog for a walk or go to the park; do anything you used to do with your dog before the new arrival. Doing so will let your dog know that he’s still your baby and that the new kitten is not affecting your connection.

7. Keep It Slow

We can’t reiterate enough to keep things slow. You never want your dog to scare the kitten to where it’ll be scared of your dog for the rest of its life. Remember that first impressions are important and possibly forever lasting, so keeping things slow will have a much better outcome.  Keep the visits short and supervised each time until all of you are 100 % comfortable.

A Maine coon kitten hisses at the pug. Cat-dog interaction, cats and dogs friendship
Image by: Garna Zarina, Shutterstock


Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does It Take For A Dog To Get Used To A Kitten?

Unfortunately, there’s no way to determine the answer to this question. It all depends on your dog and the kitten. Sometimes, it can go very fast, but other times, it can take a few weeks to a few months. Remember that patience is key and never force the issue.

 Why Is My Kitten Hissing At My Dog

Your kitten may hiss at your dog out of fear. Hissing is part of their body language that shows the kitten is uncomfortable at the moment. If this happens, it’s best to remove your dog from the area and start over slowly.


divider-catFinal Thoughts

Having a dog and kitten in the same household can be stressful at first. Keeping these safety measures in place will bring a positive experience and joy for all involved.  Never place either animal in a dangerous, unsupervised position, no matter what. With patience, perseverance, and time, your kitten and dog can live together in peace and possibly become the best of friends. They may even sleep together at night.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: blende12, Pixabay

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