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Is it better to have two dogs?

There could be a handful of benefits to having two dogs in your home for both you and your pup! But there are some factors you have to consider before adding a second dog to your family. Our Clackamas vets explain more.

Is it better to have one or two dogs?

By nature, dogs enjoy and thrive in group environments. Therefore, the many advantages to adopting a second dog include:

  • 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 may be a good idea to get a second dog to keep your first dog company, the process may not go smoothly at first. Your first dog may not enjoy having to share their environment or toys. We'll go over some of the things you should think about when getting a second dog, as well as how to make the process go as smoothly 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 feel unhappy about having to share their toys, space, territory, or even their owner's affection. When preparing to bring home a second dog, plan ahead of time and conduct thorough research.

The Kind of Dog You Should Get

When getting a new puppy, it's critical to consider which breed will complement your current dog and your family's needs. For this reason, you must ensure that you do more than checking off a few mental boxes. You must 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 can find a dog that will complement your family or determine if you're 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, some measures exist that 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 you should ask everyone in your household what they think about the subject and determine whether it meets everyone's needs. 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 try to make a decision, and the car ride may become very intense.

Introduce Your Dogs on Neutral Grounds

When the time arrives 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 or green space, and you can meet them there with your new puppy. If you already have more than one dog, you might need additional assistance, or keep them all on a leash by yourself.

Keep Your Dogs Under control

While keeping full control of the dogs, make sure you hold 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. Maintain a positive attitude throughout the meeting. Watch for signs of aggression, and intervene when necessary by redirecting 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 around you. You want them to create a fair, safe social hierarchy even in your absence.

Are your dogs ignoring each other? This is fine, don't force them to interact because 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, 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 Chances 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 avoid conflict as the new relationship develops. Once you know that the dogs are getting along, you may return their favorite toys.

Remember to Supervise Playtime

When away from home, we strongly advise keeping both dogs apart. You should keep a close eye on them when they play together. Don't forget to give them plenty of praise when they interact well with each other. 

It's imperative that you 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.

Are you thinking about adopting a second dog? Contact our Clackamas 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. 

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Clackamas Pet Clinic is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of your companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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