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Is It Better to Have Two Dogs?

Is It Better to Have Two Dogs?

Having two dogs in your home can offer several advantages for both you and your pup! However, before introducing a second dog into your family, it's essential to consider certain factors. Our veterinarians in Tracy will provide further insights.

Is It Better to Have One or Two Dogs?

By 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

Consider adding a second dog to provide companionship for your first dog, but be aware that it may not be a seamless transition initially. Your first dog may not appreciate sharing their space or toys. In the following section, we will explore key factors to keep in mind when introducing a second dog and strategies for ensuring a harmonious transition for all involved.

The Consequences of Adding a Second Dog to Your Home

Adding a second dog to your household might cause your first dog to feel displaced and unsure. Although most dogs will establish good relationships with their new sibling, your first dog might not appreciate having to divide their toys, territory, space, or even their owner's attention. Therefore, it's crucial to be well-prepared and conduct thorough research before welcoming a second dog into your home.

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 considering these points, 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've determined that it's time to add a second dog to your household, you can take steps to simplify the process and promote a smooth integration between your two dogs.

Talk to Your Family First

Deciding to bring a new dog into your home should be a thoughtful process that involves consulting everyone in your household 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 age, physical capabilities, and personality 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 going to pick out your new furry companion. Your dog may distract you when you are trying to make your choice, and the car ride could 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. To maintain a positive encounter, use a pleasant tone when communicating with them. Keep an eye out 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 lead 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 position of alpha. 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 Opportunites 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 thinking about adopting a second dog? Contact our Tracy vets today if you have further questions.

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