​Dog lovers passionate about pets may keep more than one kind of animal.

As long as they can provide the essentials for all animals in their home, there’s no problem with having them together. Still, problems may arise, especially when you own a dog and a smaller pet. 

Canines are considered predators even if they’re domesticated. When your pup comes face to face with another animal smaller than them, there’s a possibility that the other may get injured. However, they can live in harmony in your home.  

You need to remember some factors when homing a dog with a small animal. This article will explain each so you and your pets live happily together. Keep reading to learn more.

Needs Of Small Pets

Most pets need the basics, like food, water, and shelter, to live comfortably. When you own more than one pet, there shouldn’t be one that you treat better than the others. Your pets can live together, given that you provide for them equally and prevent fights over resources. 

So, if you bring in small animals, like rabbits or chinchillas, you must treat them with the same care you do with your dog. That means researching their habitat needs and their proper food. This way, you can avoid asking, ‘What do chinchillas eat?’ for example, after you’ve adopted your new pet. Before bringing the animal home, you should have cages, toys, and other chinchilla supplies

Your small pets need a quiet, private place to sleep away from other animals. Privacy is essential for their safety and stress levels. Even if your dog and smaller pets interact well when awake, keep their beds and cages separate for protection.  

Dog Breed Temperament

Every experienced dog owner should know that each breed has a different personality, but the environment can also influence their behavior. So, sometimes the difference is more evident in some dogs, especially with rescues. Rescued pets often carry trauma from their previous situations and need time and space to adjust to a new home with new people. 

When dogs become stressed, they may lash out by biting and barking at others. A small pet in their vicinity might fall victim to their aggression and receive life-threatening injuries. 

If you don’t have a dog yet but have a small pet, consider adopting breeds that are comfortable with other animals. These breeds have soft mouths and weren’t bred for hunting, herding, or guarding. They include the following:

  • Corgi
  • Pug
  • Golden Retriever
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Beagle
  • French Bulldog
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Mixed-breed dogs can also interact well when interacting with small pets. You need to know which breeds they come from to understand their possible temperament. Rescued dogs from an adoption center may also have records of their personality and character when around people or other animals. Feel free to ask the staff for this vital information before you adopt.

Introducing Your Dog To A Small Pet

It’s important to note that introducing your dog to a small pet is a process, not a one-day activity. When you have more than one animal at home, it’s better to introduce them to each other as early as possible while maintaining caution. 

Keep your small pet inside their cage during the first days of introduction or as long as needed. Chinchillas, hamsters, and guinea pigs will scurry away when scared. But being in a cage lets them stay safe. Your dog must also be on a leash in case of accidents. Keep their meetings short to avoid stressing out either animal. 

Every time your dog and small pet meet, remain in the room with them. Stay close to your dog and small pet to pull them apart if things go sour. You can change tactics whenever necessary, and remember to give your pets enough breaks. If all goes well, continue supervising their next meetings. They can live together at home without fuss when you watch their interactions.

What To Do With Jealous Dogs

Some dogs can become jealous when they see you spending more time with another animal at home. It’s an inevitable occurrence. But it’s possible to curb it so all your pets live together peacefully. 

The best thing you can do when your dog becomes jealous is to ignore their negative behavior. Avoid petting or looking at them until they get the message. Only reward your dog if it does something good during the encounter with your small pet.

Consider enrolling your dog in a training school if they’re under a year old. They’ll learn basic tricks and obedience training to make them more manageable at home.

Have Peaceful Pets At Home

Dogs and other pets have lived together since humans learned how to domesticate them. But nature has its way of manifesting when you least expect it. It makes dogs quite dangerous around small animals. However, a dog and a small pet can live together without worries with proper training, equal care, attention, and lots of patience from you.

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About the author

Spencer Challings is a writer and pet sitter with nine years of experience caring for dogs of all sizes. He has a Coton de Tulear-Maltese mix named Cherry and a pair of hamsters named Biscuit and Bear. Aside from writing about pets, he enjoys soccer and bike rides, sometimes with Cherry trotting by his side.