Reptiles such as lizards and snakes can be a rewarding and fun pet to keep! But what if you already have a more traditional pet, such as a cat or a dog? Can you safely keep reptiles with your other pets?
While there are risks to keeping a household of many pets, with care and proper preparation, many pet owners successfully keep a variety of pets - including reptiles!
A Safe Space For Each of Your Pets
Most importantly, all your pets should have a safe space. For your reptiles, this means a safe, secure habitat which is kept in a room that can be locked.
Particularly if you are unsure if your pets get along, they should not be allowed unsupervised access with one another. Cats and dogs are capable of opening or knocking over habitats and this may leave your reptile vulnerable. In some cases, it could be your cat or dog that might be vulnerable!
Introducing Your Pets To Each Other
Introducing your pets should be done slowly and carefully, and always under your supervision. Just like us, our pets have different personalities and each will have a different reaction to others!
With your reptile safely in his or her habitat, allow your other pets to look in on them from a safe distance. Depending on the size and movement of your reptile, they may be completely disinterested or obsessed!
You will need to use your judgement based on both pets’ reactions to see whether or not interaction can continue. Depending on the size and temperament of your pets, you may be able to continue with face-to-face interactions.
If you have a large bearded dragon and a small cat, for example, you may be able to slowly introduce them outside of the habitat.
To do so, gently place your bearded dragon near your cat, allowing significant room and plenty of escape routes in case things go south. You will need to keep a vigilant eye on both your pets and watch closely to see how the interaction is progressing. While there are plenty of examples of unusual animal friendships, these take time and patience to cultivate.
Keep in mind your dog is probably larger and much more excitable than your cat, and it is advisable to keep a hold of your bearded dragon while you allow your dog to give him a sniff.
If the interactions go well, you can continue allowing your pets to visit each other up close and personal. It is not recommended to allow your reptiles to roam freely unsupervised with other pets in the house.
What If They Don’t Get Along?
Even with careful introductions, it’s possible your reptiles and your other pets might not become friends. It’s still possible to have a happy home with all your pets, but extra care and consideration might be needed to ensure everyone’s happiness and safety.
Firstly, allow your pets some space away from each other. If they have their own dedicated safe spaces, don’t try and push them in to interacting. Give them a break, and allow them some extra time to observe each other from afar.
Pay attention to your pets’ body language, and allow them another slow, careful chance at interaction. If they have had trouble getting along before, make sure you give them more space and escape routes than before. Allow them to get away to safety if they feel the need.
If your pets continue to be unable to get along, be prepared to keep them safely away from one another. Do not force your pets to interact as this can be stressful and cause them a great deal of unhappiness!
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