Owning two dogs in your home can bring benefits for both you and your pets. However, before you decide to add another dog to your family, there are important factors that you should consider. Our Jackson veterinarians can provide more information and guidance on this topic.
Is It Better to Have One or Two Dogs?
By nature, dogs are social and thrive in group environments. Therefore, there are many advantages to adopting a second dog, such as:
- They can keep each other company
- Both dogs will be able to entertain each other and get exercise together
- Your older dog could help you train a new puppy
- When the dogs have each other, it can help ease separation anxiety
- You will have two adorable dogs to love
While getting a second dog to give your first dog some company might be a good idea, this may not be an easy process at the start. Your first dog might not like having to share their environment or toys. Below, we discuss some factors you need to consider when getting a second dog and how you can make the process as smooth as possible for everyone.
The Consequences of Adding a Second Dog to Your Home
Getting a second dog could make your first dog feel displaced and uncertain. While the majority of dogs will get along well with their new sibling, your first dog may not be happy having to share their toys, space, territory, or even their owner's affection. This makes it important to prepare and do your research when getting ready to bring home a second dog.
The Kind of Dog You Should Get
When getting another pup, it's important to determine which type of dog will be best for your current dog and your family's lifestyle. For this reason, you need to make sure you are doing more than just checking off a couple of mental boxes. You need to consider factors such as:
- What size of dog will work best for you and your family?
- Can your home fit a second dog?
- Will you have time to play with and care for another dog?
- What are the exercise needs of your old dog and a new dog?
- Can you afford to take care of a second dog?
- Will your current dog be able to interact with a puppy, or will an older more calm dog be best?
Considering these points, you should be able to find a dog that will be a perfect addition to your family or determine if you are ready for a second dog.
Ways to Help Your Old Dog and New Dog Get Along
If you've decided to get a second dog, you can take steps to make the transition easier and help your dogs get along better.
Talk to Your Family First
Adding a new dog to your home should be a thoughtful decision, and involving everyone in your household in the discussion is important. Consider your current dog's age, physical ability, and personality to determine if a new pet is a good fit for your family and your dog's needs.
Don't Take Your Current Dog With You
We don't recommend bringing your current dog with you when you are going to pick out your new furry companion. Your dog may distract you when you are trying to make your choice, and the car ride could become very intense.
Introduce Your Dogs on Neutral Grounds
Choose a neutral location to avoid territorial aggression when introducing your two dogs. For example, you could ask a friend or family member to bring your current dog to a quiet park or green space and then meet them there with your new dog. If you have more than two dogs, you may need additional help or be able to control them on a leash.
Keep Your Dogs Under control
While keeping full control of the dogs, ensure you hold them loose enough on their leash that they don't feel too hampered by it.
Let the Dogs Get to Know Eachother
When dogs first meet, it's natural for them to circle and sniff each other. Keep the introduction positive by speaking to them in a pleasant tone, and watch for signs of aggression. If necessary, redirect their attention to avoid conflicts. Avoid scolding your dogs if they growl or snarl, as this may cause them to suppress their emotions. It's important for them to establish a safe social hierarchy even when you're not around.
If your dogs are not interacting with each other, don't force them to do so. They will get to know each other on their own terms when they are ready.
Bring Your Pups Home
You can bring your dogs home when they start acting positively with each other.
Remember that the two dogs will form a hierarchy, where your first dog will typically take the alpha position. For this reason, you should bring your current dog into the home first and have the person helping you walk your new dog on their leash. This gives your original dog the opportunity to invite your new pup into their domain.
Limit Opportunites for Rivalry
Make sure each dog has their own food dish, water bowl, and bed. To prevent food aggression, pick up the food bowls after mealtime, but leave the water bowls out.
In addition, remove your first dog's favorite toys and items initially to minimize conflict while the new relationship develops. Once you're confident the dogs are getting along, you can reintroduce their favorite toys.
Remember to Supervise Playtime
When you aren't home, we highly recommend keeping both dogs separate from each other. When it comes time for them to play together, you must watch them closely. Don't forget to praise them when they interact nicely with one another.
You must find time to spend quality one-on-one time with each dog every day so you can cement the personal bond you have with them
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.