Tips and Tricks to Have a Harmonious Fur Family


Dr Michele Miller is a veterinarian at Paws in Motion Vet in Alberton. She agreed to give some valuable advice on introducing new pets into a household with existing pets.


What's the best way to introduce a new pet?

“Adult dogs being introduced to adult dogs should ideally be done in a neutral environment. Preferably on lead and then off lead. Have people with you in case you need help, should something go wrong. Puppies being introduced to adult dogs should be done slowly and always ensuring the safety of the puppy. Know your adult dog’s demeanour well, like is he/she puppy-friendly or not? Never leave your puppy alone with your adult dog if you are not there. Never feed puppies along with adult dogs. Puppies will always try to steal food from them, and this may lead to puppies being badly bitten.”


Are there specific health checks recommended before introducing them?

“All existing pets and new pets should be vaccinated, microchipped, sterilised, and dewormed. They should also get regular tick and flea treatment and preferably have pet insurance.”


How can a pet parent help a new pet to adjust?

“Introduce your new pet slowly and keep them with you for the first 24 hours so that they feel safe and secure. Show them where to get water and how to get to the garden for potty time. Also, show them their bed and feeding place. Be consistent with all of these. Remember, pets need routine. Introduce your new pet to your existing pets one by one, even if you have to do this over a few days. This keeps everyone safe and controlled. You can never give them too much love!”


Are there any species/breed-specific considerations?

“Know your species and choose the correct breed. Do your research on the type of pet you’re getting and the one you already have. Let the new pet meet your existing pets at home, one at a time so that it is not too overwhelming for the new pet. This makes it safer and easier for everyone involved – prevention is better than cure.”


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Dr Michele is a true welfare vet by heart, and she devotes her entire life to animals. She enjoys riding her horse and spending time with her dogs!


When did you decide to become a vet?

“I always wanted to be a vet, even from a very young age.”


Do you have any pets?

“I live, breathe, and sleep animals! I have many rescue animals, from feral cats to dogs, horses, and chickens, as well as parrots and parakeets. Yes, I work to feed and look after them all. I understand that I cannot save them all, but I definitely do try for the ones that cross my path.”


Any last thoughts on the topic?

“Remember, pets are for life. They depend on us for everything. Always plan for the unexpected, as accidents do happen. Even though I’m a veterinarian myself, I also have medical insurance for some of my pets. Having to euthanise a pet because of funds is heart-breaking for both the owners and their vet.”