While our emergency service is open 24/7, including Christmas and New Year’s Day, we know pet owners don’t plan to include a visit to SAGE over the holidays. SAGE Dublin’s Dr. Erin Nohava notes that in addition to ER visits caused by foreign body obstructions and toxicities from swallowing things they shouldn’t, another common reason dogs visit the ER around this time of year is that they have gotten into fights with other animals in the same house. So before you take Fido to Grandma’s for family dinner, here are a few techniques from the ASPCA for safely introducing dogs to each other:

  • Don’t force unfamiliar dogs to interact. It’s okay if they ignore each other or if one dog seems reluctant to interact with the other. Give them time to get comfortable.
  • Closely observe the dogs’ body language as it can help you understand what they’re feeling. Be aware of stiff body movements, tensed mouths or teeth-baring, growls, and prolonged staring. These are all signs that a dog is feeling threatened or aggressive. If you see this type of body language, give the dogs more distance from each other.
  • If the dogs are very different in age or energy level, it’s a good idea to give the older or less energetic dog a private space where he can enjoy rest and down time.