Dalmatians are very friendly dogs and they generally get along quite well with other animals. They aren't overly territorial with other pets and are not compelled to chase smaller animals such as cats. If you are considering adding another furry member to your family following a few guidelines should make the process a painless one.
Location is Everything
When your pets meet for the first time choose the location carefully. It is best to pick a place in the house that your Dalmatian doesn't spend a great deal of his time. The hallway, for instance, might work better than the sunny laundry room where your dog takes his naps.
Animals learn things about each other by sniffing and circling, it's their way of greeting one another so they should be allowed to do this as long as no aggressive behaviors are shown. If the new pet you are introducing is a cat you should make sure that the exit to the room is not blocked because if the cat decides she wants to leave in a hurry she will get upset if she can't.
You might also consider allowing each pet to be handled by a separate person the first few times that they encounter each other. If your Dalmatian has a preferred family member then that person should be his handler to help alleviate any feelings of jealousy.
Until your pets get used to each other you will want to observe them closely when they are together. Watch for signs of aggression or hostility, such as the hair on the back being raised or a long stare with legs stiffened. In cats ears pinned back and a low growl are sure signs that someone is about to be slapped. If these behaviors occur, separate the animals without a lot of fuss and try again later.
You might also want to feed the animals in separate rooms for the first few days. You can gradually move their bowls closer together until they are in the desired location. If you are adopting a cat you may want to feed the animals in separate rooms on a permanent basis as cats really do not like to be bothered while they are eating and your dog will be very tempted to investigate.
When your pets start to get used to each other and behave well together you should be sure to give them lots of praise or other positive reinforcement. Each time a new interaction goes well let your pets know that you are pleased. This will help to send the message that when they are together good things happen and will be the first step to a long and happy friendship between the two.
If things don't go well and show no signs of improvement you will need to call an animal behaviorist or trainer who can offer suggestions to help you achieve a happy household. Dalmatians are not aggressive dogs and with a little help your dog will likely be living in harmony with his new friend in no time.