Thinking about adding a second dog to your family? Does your current dog seem lonely, bored or restless and you think a second furry friend is the answer? While a second dog might indeed be the answer for some, it might not be the best solution for others.
This article aims to help our readers be better prepared when deciding on whether getting a second dog is the right decision. So lets find out if you are ready to get a second dog to add to your family!
How to Determine if You Are Really Ready for a Second Dog
There are certain indicators that will let you know if you are in fact ready to add a second pooch to your family:
1) Everyone in the household agrees it is a good idea.
It is important to be certain that everyone in your home – from your significant other to your children or roommates are on board with adopting a second pooch. Remember, a dog is a part of your family so you need to make sure that everyone is in agreement with adding a new member to the household as everyone will have some hand in caring for the new dog.
2) Your first dog is healthy and happy
If your current dog is in good health and you have proven beyond a doubt that you are a responsible pet owner (ie: your dog is up to date on shots, you have all of your pets medical records on hand and you have never neglected or abused your dog), then you could start considering bringing another dog into your household.
3) You can afford to adopt another dog
Never bring a second pet into your home if you are unable to manage your current finances. If you can barely afford to feed and care for your current dog, you are in no place to bring another dog into your home. You have to take factors like medical emergencies and expenses into consideration. Not to mention, a second dog bed, kennel, pet carrier, toys and food, routine vet appointments for check-ups and vaccinations, and so forth. Be absolutely certain you can afford to bring another canine friend home before running out and adopting a dog impulsively from a shelter or rescue. Sit down and crunch the numbers before you make a rash decision.
4) You have enough room in your home for a second dog
Do you have ample space in your home or flat to accommodate a second dog? Dogs are full of energy and need room to exercise and roam. All of these factors should be taken into consideration before you make the decision of adopting another dog.
5) If you are renting or leasing your home
If you are renting, it is imperative that you check with your landlord before you adopt a second dog. You need to adhere to the terms of your lease as you do not want to be evicted for breaking your lease. As well, you may be required to be an additional fee or increase in your monthly rent for a second dog. Always be honest with your landlord before adopting any pets as you don’t want you or your animals to end up homeless.
6) You have the time to train a new dog
Remember that it will take time for both your family and your current dog to adjust to the new dog. The new dog will need time to adjust as well. As such, the new member of your family may require training such as potty training and basic discipline. Be sure you have enough time to devote to both your current dog and the new dog so both will feel loved and valued.
7) You have the means and ability to safely transport both dogs at the same time if needed.
You need to make sure that your method of transportation, whether it be a car, SUV or even if you rely on public transportation, is safe, reliable and accommodating when it comes to transporting both pets. You might want to bring them on vacation with you or to the dog park so you need to be able to safely fit the both into your method of transportation. But you also have to take emergency situations into consideration. You have to be absolutely positive that you can safely transport both of your dogs at the same time.
8) Your first dog is “ready” for a new playmate.
Before bringing a new addition into your home, you need to make sure that your first dog is in fact dog friendly. Some dogs are meant to be only pets, while others are extremely social and can get along with multiple dogs. Make sure that your dog does not have any aggression issues such as food or toy aggression before you adopt or rescue another dog.
Pros of Adopting a Second Dog
Your first dog will have a companion.
Dogs are mainly social animals, with the exception of a few that are for some reason or another, prefer to be the solo pet of the family. Your dog will have a furry companion to keep them active, occupied and happy!
You will have double the love and fun of having only one dog
This is obviously the main reason you choose to adopt a second dog: you love dogs! And who wouldn’t want a second lovable pooch? You will have twice the love and affection with a second dog.
A second dog can help keep your current dog feeling younger, healthier happier and more active.
It has been proven that the addition of a second pet can increase your dog’s lifespan. A second dog will keep your current dog more active and therefore healthier!
A second dog will help ease the pain of losing a first dog when the time inevitably comes.
Of course, no one wants to think about this, but just like their owners, dogs only live for a certain amount of time. When it comes time to let one of your dogs go, a second dog will not replace them or completely stop the pain, but they can be a great comfort to you during your time of loss.
Cons of Getting a Second Dog
A second dog will increase your expenses.
As stated previously, a second dog will double your current “pet budget.” You will now have two mouths to feed, bring to vets and so forth. It is crucial that you make sure you can afford another dog. Nearly half of the dogs in shelters or rescues are those who were returned as their owners could no longer afford to care for them.
Traveling with two dogs may be more difficult than just traveling with one dog.
If you are traveling alone, it can be a hassle to handle more than one dog. As well, regardless of if you are traveling solo or with a group, you need to be able to safely and securely accommodate your passengers as well as your pets.
You will have twice the responsibility (and mess) with a second dog.
A second dog means not only twice the money, but twice the mess! You will have to clean up after both dogs and also be able to spend time with both so neither one feels neglected. You’ll need time to walk and potty both dogs. Be sure that you have the time in our daily life to devote to a second pet.
You need to be mindful of aggression issues.
Even if your dogs are bonded, there might be the occasional scuffle. You need to be constantly aware of your dogs and pay attention to their behaviour at all times. You should be prepared to safely break up a dog fight should one break out.
How to Introduce a Second Dog
Bring your dog with you when you go to adopt the second dog.
Most pet shelters and rescuers actually require you to bring your current dog with you to see how he/she interacts with your potential adoptive pooch before they will let you officially adopt the second dog.
Have a “handler” for each dog.
Bring someone along who your first dog knows and trusts. You will each handle one of the dogs upon their first meeting. Trying to manage both dogs on your own would not be beneficial for either you or the dogs.
Have the dogs meet for the first time on “neutral” territory.
Most shelters and rescuers have outside areas for dog meets (or a separate indoor room in the event of inclement weather). It is critical that the dogs meet on neutral ground so there will be no territorial issues. If there is time and a place to walk the dogs’ together, experts recommend taking the dogs on a walk together. You would first lead your dog and then the other handler would follow a few feet behind with the second dog until you allow them to meet.
Have the dogs “greet” one another
You and the other dog handler should keep the dogs leashes firmly in your hands (hold them high so the dogs can circle each other without getting their leashes entwined), let the dogs sniff each other. If you noticed that one is growling, baring their teeth, staring silently without moving or goes to put their head above the other dog’s shoulder, say “NO!” firmly and guide the dogs back to their handlers. When the dogs are calm, try again. Repeat this until you have a “peaceful” encounter. If the dogs start to play, you may let them off their leashes, but keep a close eye should either of them show the aforementioned signs of aggressive behaviour.
When you bring the dogs home, bring your current dog in with you first and allow him/her to “invite” the other dog into your home
If the meet goes well and the adoption is approved, and you bring your second dog home, make sure to enter the home with your current dog first. Then slowly bring in the second dog allowing the first dog to “invite” the new addition in “their” home. This will help ease any possible aggression and territorial issues in the future.
Keep them separate any time you will not be present
Until you are certain that your dogs will get along when you are not present, it is imperative that you do not leave them alone in the same room for an extended period. You should leave them in separate rooms and crate them if you will not be present.
Tips on How to Coexist with a Second Dog
- Always feed your dogs separately to avoid any food aggression issues.
- Monitor your dogs while you are giving them treats and toys, as they can also become aggressive and territorial at times.
- Make sure that you have enough beds and toys to keep both dogs happy and comfortable. Do not leave any rope toys out while they are unsupervised as this could lead to potential dog fights. Even innocent play may quickly escalate to aggression.
- Do not leave the dogs alone until you are certain they will not fight. You may have to separate them even after they are comfortable with each other just to play it safe. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
- Make sure you pay attention to both dogs, both together and separate!
If you follow, the above guidelines, you should have no problems! Good luck with the new addition to your family!