Adding a new pet to your family can be an exciting time, but it can also be a stressful one for you, the new animal and any animals you may already have in your home.

Once your family has decided to add a new four-legged member to the family, there are a few things you can do to make sure it is a smooth transition for everyone.

If you already have pets at home, it is highly recommended to arrange a “meet and greet” to make sure the dogs are going to get along. It is normal to have some jealously at the outset, but a gradual introduction and setting boundaries will help ease the new pet into the routine of your family.

Invest in a wire crate and keep your dog crated when you are not home and at night. This will protect your dog from your house and your house (and shoes, etc.) from the dog.

A crate also will help with potty training, as dogs are less likely to go where they live. Having a set feeding time, frequent trips outdoors and rewards for doing their business outside also will help with house training.

Do not treat the crate as a punishment, but rather as a safe little house within your home.

If your new dog is a puppy, he will want to chew, as he is cutting new teeth. Purchasing proper chew toys will save your baseboards, furniture and again, your shoes!

Remember, a new dog does not know you, your home or your other pets. There will be an adjustment period.

Adding a new furry friend to the family can be a wonderful experience for everyone when you take the proper steps and precautions to make it a smooth transition.

Traci D. Howerton is social media editor of Animal Rescue New Orleans, a 501(c)3 nonprofit. ARNO operates a volunteer-based, no-kill shelter in the Elmwood Industrial section of Jefferson Parish and depends upon the generosity of people from all over the country who have followed it since Katrina. Contact ARNO at or leave a message at (504) 571-1900.