5 common mistakes when introducing reptiles to dogs – and how to avoid them!

When introducing a dog and a reptile to one another, the situation can quickly go awry if either animal is not comfortable with the other.

If the process of introducing a dog and a reptile goes poorly, the situation could cause a fight and could possibly result in one or both animals needing the attention of a vet.

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In order to avoid these complications between your dog and reptile, make sure to avoid these five common mistakes when introducing reptiles to your furry friend:

Mistake 1: Not Understand Their Reptile’s Behaviour

One mistake pet owners make is not paying attention to how a reptile will react to their dog. When choosing which reptile to introduce to your dog, it is important to choose a reptile with behaviours that are complementary to your dog.

Like your dog, the reptile you choose should be friendly and at ease in a variety of different situations. Snakes such as the Ball Python, for example, are usually more fearful of larger animals like dogs, increasing the likelihood that they may become aggressive towards your dog.

In order to make sure this does not happen, try to select a reptile that is more easy-going. An example of a more suitable reptile to introduce to a dog would be a gecko such as the Leopard Gecko as they are generally much calmer in nature and less likely to create problems with your dog.

Mistake 2: Not Socializing Your Dog To Reptiles

A dog who is unaccustomed to reptiles may become fearful or aggressive towards them as a result of their first introduction.

This mistake of not acclimating your dog to reptiles can be an obstacle that prevents a healthy relationship between your pets. In order to prevent this, it is important to make sure your dog is comfortable in the presence of a reptile.

A good way to do this is by taking your dog to a pet store and taking a stroll through the reptile section. Allow your dog ample time to investigate each display while it begins to learn about the animals.

Note your dog’s behaviour during this process and discourage any signs of hostility such as growling or raised hackles, and encourage calm behaviour like tail wagging by giving treats.

Repeating this process a few times prior to introduction will allow your dog to become more comfortable around reptiles in the future.

Mistake 3: Introductions Too Close

Another commonly overlooked aspect of bringing a dog together with a reptile is the barrier. When the big day comes and you are prepared to bring your two pets together for the first time, make sure there is a barrier between them. For larger reptiles, this could mean allowing your dog to interact with the reptile through a glass case or other protective enclosure.

In the case of smaller reptiles, an owner could simply carry their reptile to the dog in their hands.

In these circumstances, a barrier of some sort is crucial to the safety of all involved, humans included. The presence of a barrier will also put your animals at ease and keep negative feelings at a minimum.

Mistake 4: Forcing Introductions

No matter how badly you would like for your pets to meet, forcing the two together will only complicate interactions in the future.

If you notice that either animal appears afraid of the other or combative, it is best not to force any further interaction, and to separate the two for the time being.

Becoming comfortable with each other will take some time for your pets, which is why it is best to introduce them only when they are ready.

Repetitive get-togethers that result in bad experiences could cause the pets to associate negative feelings with one another and could make the likelihood of the two getting along together very small.

Mistake 5: Leaving Animals Unattended

Leaving your dog and reptile unattended for even a brief moment could end poorly for both animals involved. If the reptile startles your dog, it may feel threatened and could start a fight. In order to prevent this, you should remain near your pets at all times to ensure they remain calm and relaxed.

Make sure to be present every time your dog meets your reptile and remain with the two throughout the entire duration of their meeting.

Summary

While friendships between dogs and reptiles might not be as common in the animal kingdom, there is no reason the two can’t share a relationship as pets under the careful watch of their owner.

When introducing your dog to a reptile, avoiding conflict and creating a calm atmosphere for your pets are the two most important goals to keep in mind.

Steering clear of these five common mistakes and remaining patient as the two come to know each other will help keep the two from fighting and will have a happy and safe ending for all involved.

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