Should I have two dogs?

Is it better to have two dogs? There could be a handful of reasons why it's better to have two dogs in your home, but there are some factors you have to consider before adding a second dog to your family. Our Edgewater vets explain more.

Is It Better to Have One or Two Dogs?

By their 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 it might be a good idea to get a second dog to give your first dog some company, this may not be an easy process at the start. Your first dog might not like having to share their house 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 may cause your first dog to feel displaced and uncertain. While most dogs get along with their new sibling, your first dog may be unhappy about having to share their toys, space, territory, or even their owner's affection. When preparing to bring home a second dog, it is critical to plan ahead of time and conduct thorough research.

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 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?

By taking these points into consideration, 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 have decided that it's time to get a second dog, there are some measures you can implement to make the process easier for everyone and help your two dogs get along as well as possible.

Talk to Your Family First

Deciding to bring home a new dog should take time, and it's best to ask everyone in your household what they think about the subject and determine whether it meets everyone's needs, including your dog's. When deciding whether to get a new pet, consider your current dog's age, physical ability, and personality.

Don't Take Your Current Dog With You

We do not recommend bringing your current dog with you when choosing your new furry companion. Your dog may distract you while you are trying to make a decision.

Introduce Your Dogs on Neutral Grounds

When it's time for your two dogs to meet, take them somewhere neutral to avoid territorial aggression. You could ask a friend or family member to bring your current dog to a quiet park, and you can meet them there with your new puppy. If you already have more than one dog, you will need additional assistance or be able to keep them all on a leash.

Keep Your Dogs Under control

While keeping full control of the dogs, make sure you are holding them loose enough on their leash that they don't feel too hampered by it.

Let the Dogs Get to Know Each Other

When dogs meet, they typically circle and sniff each other. Keep the meeting positive by speaking to them in a pleasant tone. Keep an eye out for signs of aggression and, if necessary, redirect their attention. If the dogs begin to growl or snarl, try not to scold them, as this will only teach them to suppress their emotions when you are nearby. You want them to create a fair, safe social hierarchy even when you are not present.

Are your dogs ignoring one another? This is fine; don’t force them to interact. They will get to know each other when they are ready.

Bring Your Pups Home

When your dogs begin to behave well with one another, you can bring them home.

Keep in mind that the two dogs will form a hierarchy, with your first dog usually taking the position of Alpha. As a result, you should bring your current dog into the house first, and have someone assist you in walking your new dog on their leash. This gives your original dog the opportunity to welcome your new puppy into their domain.

Limit Opportunities for Rivalry

Make sure each dog has its own food dish, water bowl, and bed. After meals, pick up the food bowls to reduce the risk of food aggression, but leave the water bowls out.

Remember to pick up your first dog's favorite toys and items to avoid conflict as the new relationship develops. Once you are certain that the dogs are getting along, you may return their favorite toys.

Remember to Supervise Playtime

When you’re not home, we strongly advise keeping both dogs apart. When it comes time for them to play together, you should keep a close eye on them. Don't forget to give them plenty of praise when they interact well with one another.

It's critical that you find opportunities to spend quality one-on-one time with each dog every day in order to 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.

Are you thinking about adopting a second dog? Contact our Edgewater vets today and schedule an appointment. Your veterinarian can let you know if they think your pooch will benefit from having a sibling and offer you tips on how you can make the process as stress-free as possible.