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Is It Better to Have Two Dogs?

Having two dogs in your home can have its benefits, but there are some factors you have to consider beforehand. So, are two dogs better than one? In this post, our Cincinnati vets share some tips and advice about raising two dogs in the same house.

Benefits of Having Two Dogs

Is having two dogs better than one? By nature, dogs are social creatures and enjoy being part of a group. Therefore, there are many advantages to bringing home 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

Possible Consequences of Having Two Dogs

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. Getting a second dog could make your first dog feel displaced and uncertain.

While most dogs will get along well with their new sibling, your first dog may not be too thrilled about sharing their toys, space, territory, or even your affection. This makes it important to prepare and do your research when getting ready to bring home a second dog.

Points to Consider

When adding another dog to the family, be sure to determine which type of dog will be the best fit for your current dog and your lifestyle. For this reason, you need to make sure you are doing more than just checking off a couple of mental boxes. It can be a big change having one vs two dogs. 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 a 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 account, 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 in the first place. 

Helping Your Dogs Get Along

If you have decided you're ready to get a second dog, there are some measures you can implement to make the process easier for you and your dogs.

Talk to Your Family First

The decision to bring home a new dog should take time, and it's best to get the opinion of everyone in the home, including your dog. Your current dog's age, physical ability, and personality should all be considered when determining if another dog is a good idea.

Don't Take Your Current Dog With You

It typically isn't recommended to bring your current dog with you when you are going to pick out your new furry friend. 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, bring them somewhere neutral to help prevent territorial aggression. You could have a friend or family member bring your current pooch to a quiet park or green space, and you can meet them there with your new pup.

Let the Dogs Get to Know One Another

When your two dogs first meet, it's normal for them to circle off and sniff each other. Keep this meeting positive by talking to them in a pleasant tone. Keep an eye out for signs of aggression and intervene when you have to by redirecting their attention.

If the dogs start to growl or snarl, do your best not to scold them. This will just teach them to suppress their emotions when you are near, and won't actually alter their behavior. You want them to build a fair social hierarchy that is safe, even when you aren't there.

Are your dogs ignoring each other? This is fine, don't force them to interact as they will get to know each other when they are mutually ready. 

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.

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

When you aren't home, we highly recommend keeping both dogs separate from each other for the first few weeks. When it comes time for them to play together, you need to watch them closely. Don't forget to offer them lots of praise and treats when they interact nicely with one another.

Be sure to make time to spend quality one-on-one time with each dog every day. This will help cement the personal bond you have with each of your dogs individually.

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 Looking to add a second dog to the family? Contact our Cincinnati vets for more advice, or for answers to any questions you have. 

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