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Is it better to have two dogs?

Is it better to have two dogs?

The prospect of having two dogs in your home can be an exciting one to consider. However, there are some factors to think about before welcoming a second dog into your family.  Our Queens vets offer further insights in this post. 

Is it better to have one or two dogs?

Dogs are very social animals by nature and thrive in pack or group environments. Adopting a second dog may bring many advantages, such as:

  • Your older dog could help you train a new puppy 
  • Your first and second dog can keep each other company 
  • Both dogs will be able to entertain each other and get exercise together 
  • If one or both dogs have separation anxiety, having another pup around may ease these feelings 
  • You will have two adorable dogs to love 

While you might consider adding a second dog to provide companionship for your first dog, keep in mind that the initial transition may not be seamless.

Your first dog may feel unsure or displaced. They might not want to share their space, toys, territory, or their owner's affection. Therefore, it's important to do thorough research and think about your family's circumstances before choosing to bring home a new dog.

Below, we'll discuss some factors to consider when vetting a second dog and how you can make the process as smooth as possible for everyone. 

What kind of dog should I get?

When considering bringing home another pup, it's important to determine which type of dog will fit in best with your current dog and your family's lifestyle. This is why you'll need to make sure you're doing more than just ticking off a couple of mental boxes. Other questions you and your family might want to consider include:

  • Which size of dog will work best for us?
  • Can our home fit a second dog?
  • Will we have time to care for and play with another dog?
  • What are the exercise needs of your current dog and your 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 more suitable?

By considering these factors, you should be able to determine if you are ready for a second dog, and if so, find the perfect addition to your family, 

Ways to Help Your Old Dog & New Dog Get Along 

If you've decided that it's a good time to add a second dog to your household, you can take steps to make the process as simple as possible and encourage a smooth introduction for your two dogs. 

Speak With Your Family First 

Deciding to bring a new dog into your home should be an intentional, thoughtful process that involves consulting everyone who will be affected about their thoughts on the matter and ensuring that it aligns with the needs of all, including your current dog. Consider your current dog's physical capabilities, personality, and age when deciding whether to welcome a new pet. 

Don't Take Your Current Dog With You 

We don't recommend bringing your current dog with you when you are heading to pick up your new four-legged companion. Your dog may distract you while you are trying to make your choice, and the car ride home may become very intense.

Introduce Your Dogs on Neutral Grounds

When it's time for your two dogs to meet, take them to a neutral location to reduce the chances of territorial aggression. You can ask a friend or family member to bring your current dog to a calm park or open area, and you can join them with your new pup. If you already have multiple dogs, you may require additional assistance or need to keep them all on leashes.

Keep Your Dogs Under Control

Ensure you maintain complete control of the dogs while holding their leash loosely enough to avoid making them feel restricted.

Let the Dogs Get to Know Eachother

Dogs typically circle and sniff each other when they meet. Use a pleasant tone when communicating with them to maintain a positive encounter. Watch for signs of aggression and step in as needed by redirecting their attention. If the dogs begin to growl or snarl, avoid scolding them, as this may cause them to suppress their emotions when you're around. The goal is for them to establish a safe and equitable social hierarchy, even in your absence.

If your dogs are ignoring each other, that's perfectly fine. Don't compel them to interact, as they will get to know each other at their own pace.

Bring Your Pups Home

You can bring your dogs home when they start acting positively with each other. 

Keep in mind 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 allows your original dog to invite your new pup into their domain.

Limit Opportunities for Rivalry

Make sure each dog has their own food dish, water bowl, and bed. After mealtimes, pick up the food bowls to reduce the risk of food aggression. However, you can leave the water bowls out. 

Also, remember to pick up your first dog's favorite toys and items to limit conflict while the new relationship develops. Once you are certain the dogs are getting along, you may give them their favorite toys back. 

Remember to Supervise Playtime

We strongly suggest keeping both dogs apart when you're not at home. When it's time for them to play together, make sure to supervise them closely. Remember to praise them when they interact nicely with each other.

Dedicating daily quality one-on-one time to each dog to strengthen your bond with them is essential.

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 considering adopting a second dog? Contact our veterinary team in Queens today if you have further questions.

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