Is Getting a 2nd Dog the Right Choice for You?

Your dog is part of your family, so making the decision to bring in a new family member (or a second dog) is a big one. Will the new dog get along with your current pooch? What extra work comes with having a second pet? We'll discuss all these questions and more in this post as we explore the different issues that arise when getting a second dog.

Why Should I Get Another Dog?

The more the merrier, right? If you already spend quality time with your dog, getting that second one can definitely enhance your play time experience. Benefits for you could include twice the puppy love, and less worry about leaving your dog alone all the time. Here is a list of benefits for the dogs themselves:

  • Increased exercise from constant play
  • Your dogs won't be lonely when left home during the day
  • The new dog can bring energy and fun into your home
  • They'll watch out for each other

If you're someone who works and has to leave your dog home during the day, getting a second dog will definitely help your first one be happy and healthy despite your absence. Companionships are important between humans and pets, but also between pets themselves. With a new friend in the house, your pet might not even struggle with you being gone during the day. However, there are definitely certain downsides to getting a second dog.

Double the Pleasure, Double the Fun
When you get a second dog, you can now have twice the amount of fun (if not more) with your new team. But a lot of other things double, too.

  • Double the amount of time you spend grooming
  • Double the clean-up
  • Double the noise
  • Double the behavioral problems
  • Double the expenses
  • Double the travel arrangements

In addition to added costs and time caring for the pets, you have the potential for more social problems. It's easier to keep one dog from bugging your neighbor's cat than two.

So before making the decision, consider your current dog. Does he or she have existing behavioral problems? Be aware that the new dog will learn things from your current one, and sometimes your current pet will pick up some naughty traits from the new pooch.

Compatibility is about more than just the dogs getting along; do they act out together, or do they have a good influence on each other? You'll only be able to observe these important interactions if you have a play date before the actual change takes place.

Take it Slow
At this point in the discussion, you might be feeling overwhelmed. You may even feel like getting a second dog was a bad idea. But remember, despite the extra work, having two dogs can also have a huge payoff.

Even if you experience some bad habits in your resident dog because of the newer younger one, that's okay. Just make sure to track their behavior and be a strict disciplinarian to ensure a successful transition.

Before the final decision, arrange low-pressure play dates where the dogs can become acquainted and used to each other. If things are not working during short visits, take note. You might just need a trainer experienced in canine social interactions.

Research different breeds before deciding on a dog. Ask around about how others have dealt with bringing a new dog into their home. Be aware of basic breeds and how they will interact with your current pet. Take the time to tap into your Brimley-Lawrence Animal Clinic veterinarian's experience and knowledge on what to expect. They can be a vital source of information throughout the process of bringing on an additional pet.

More often than not, male-female combinations go the smoothest. Male-male pairings often end up working too. The most difficult transitions typically take place between two females, especially when one is quite a bit older.

The Right Choice for You, and Your Dog
The key to a smooth transition is to find the right dog to fit into your family, and give it time. Much like humans, dogs just need some time to get used to each other.

If things don't work out, don't worry. Your family is the priority. It can be disappointing to get rid of a dog that just isn't working out, but remember why you wanted it in the first place. If the whole point was to have a friend for your dog, don't settle for anything less.

You can always try again, and maybe next time you'll have the knowledge you need to make a good decision. Getting a second dog isn't the right decision for everyone, no matter how compatible the new pair may be. Make sure that you can give the appropriate care and attention each dog needs before making the final choice.

Take the time to consider, plan, and research this decision. If all goes well, you'll have more fun in your home than ever. For more tips in caring for your pets, be sure to check out our blog, or contact our helpful veterinary staff at Brimley-Lawrence Animal Clinic to set up an appointment today!

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