The decision to get a second dog can be a no-brainer. Not every decision to get a second dog is the same, and there are some definite pros and cons to consider.
Should I get a second dog for my dog?
Having a dog in the house is a wonderful thing.
They are loyal, loving, and a great source of entertainment. Hands down, dogs are the best company you can get. If you love dogs as much as we do, you might think about getting a second dog.
The decision is not an easy one, and we don’t want to make light of it.
For every dog owner who’s happy to have two, there’s at least one who can’t have one because life got too busy, or they couldn’t manage their schedule.
If you think about getting a second dog, consider the following pros and cons.
After all, you love your dog. What could be better than being the dog owner of your furry best friend?
Consider these before deciding on getting another dog as a companion to your first dog.
What are the Benefits of getting a second dog?
According to a 2019-2020 survey conducted across the United States, over 63 million households own at least one dog.
But what about two or more? The American Veterinary Medical Association estimates an average of 1.6 dogs are owned per household.
There are pros and cons to getting a second puppy, most of which depends on the age and breed of your first dog.
For example, most adult dogs are not receptive to being adopted by another dog in the beginning, but puppies easily get along with other dogs.
It’s clear that two dogs are much more fun! If you are considering adopting a second dog, we are here to help.
So if you’re considering getting a puppy, you’re not alone. Here are our top pros and cons to potentially bringing a second dog home.
Pros of Getting a Second Dog
We’re starting with the pros today, because how can we start with downers when it comes to dogs?
Here are some of the best benefits of getting a second dog.
Twice the Love in Half the Time
The biggest and most obvious benefit to getting a second dog is to have another family member to love, and love you back!
While you may be overjoyed with your current solo dog at home, getting a second pet can sometimes feel like the right move to bring even more joy to a household and give a needing animal a home.
If you have a large (human) family, getting a second dog can also help when it comes to multiple family members wanting to take turns walking, playing with, or even napping with the family dog.
And let’s face it: sometimes dogs have favorite humans. So why not increase the love with another puppy?
Are Dogs Happier with a Second Dog?
Another wonderful pro to getting a second dog is that doing so will provide a permanent playmate for your original first dog at home. Especially for those pups that have any kind of separation anxiety.
Unlike your friend’s dog that requires a playdate time to meet up with, having two dogs of your own means that they’ll never feel too lonely or miss out on having a canine friend!
Some dogs, like some humans, are extremely social and can seem sad or down without having access to doggy playdates. This definitely helps pets with separation anxiety.
While you may have to run errands or go to work without your furry friend, your second dog will most likely stay home as well.
Instant playdate and source of comfort for each dog, from each other!
Cons of Getting a Second Dog
Unfortunately, getting a second dog isn’t always a simple choice, although in an ideal world we could live with tens of hundreds of kind puppies.
Here are some unfortunate cons that are important to consider before adopting a second dog.
Getting a Second Dog is Expensive
Arguably the biggest con to having a second dog is having to pay to take care of two dogs.
Our furry friends provide a lifetime of fun and comfort and are worth every penny in vet bills, food costs, and doggie bag purchase. However, having two dogs will double the cost of these necessities.
It is unfortunately always possible for our furry friends to get sick and potentially even need surgery for specific ailments. This can be expensive for one pet, and even more intimidating if two pets fall ill around the same time.
One way to protect you and your family from unseen veterinary costs is to explore pet health insurance plans.
While these may not be cost effective for young, healthy dogs with small chances of getting sick, they can prove lifesaving for some middle-aged dogs or those with health conditions.
Be careful when researching and choosing to purchase pet health insurance, however, as some plans have a fine print that prevents you from getting financial help in certain situations.
Often, having an emergency fund for your pets is the safest way to prepare before bringing home a new furry friend.
Time is Everything when Caring for Multiple Dogs
Something else to consider when getting a second dog is timing.
Dogs require a lot of love and care, including playtime and walks throughout the day.
Especially when you first bring a dog into your house for the first time, they’ll also need extra time for some affection and “pawholding” as they explore their new home.
Depending on what you have around the house (for example, counters and fragile decorations) you may also have to spend longer babysitting a new dog to ensure they are properly trained to resist the temptation to jump across tables or push over vases.
One way to protect against this is to bring your new dog home after knowing its abilities and limitations.
- Has your new furry friend been trained to sit on command?
- Do they have any disabilities?
- Do they suffer from separation anxiety?
- Any past behavioral problems?
- Were they easy for the shelter or previous owner to train, or did they need extra time to learn?
The more you can learn about your new friend before bringing them home, the better.
This will help you dog-proof your home as much as possible while your new dog learns about its new environment and rules.
Questions to Ask Yourself Before Adding a Second Dog
Can you afford to get a second dog?
Sure, some expenses such as clothes and toys can be shared, but just like the second child, the second dog has its own set of needs that can be expensive.
Consider what you spend on vet bills, food, grooming, and boarding, and double that amount. Does that extra amount fit well within your budget?
1. You’ll spend more money
As you know, dogs cost money! Their expenses include vet bills, sitter fees, grooming, obedience school, and food. You will need a second collar, leash, a second bed, a second crate, and extra food bowls.
If the thought of doubling up on those expenses makes you break into a cold sweat perhaps, a second dog isn't in your future for right now. You can always revisit the idea of a second dog later, at anytime.
2. How will your first dog respond?
We know you’re eager to add a second dog to your household, but how will your resident canine react to the new arrangement?
Your current dog is a member of your family, so you must think about whether a new dog will improve his quality of life.
How does your dog interact with other dogs? Does your dog enjoy company with other dogs, or prefers to be alone?
You should also consider how your dog will adjust to a new environment. He might already be comfortable with things the way they are, and he doesn't want to be disturbed with his routine or eating/sleeping area.
If you are thinking of adopting a puppy, ask yourself if your dog can handle the extra chaos. Older dogs are usually not too happy to share their living space with a rambunctious puppy.
Of course, each situation is different. And you know your pet better than anyone else. So consider things from his perspective.
3. Do you have the time?
Take a long, hard look at your schedule, and be honest with yourself: how much time can you really put into training, loving, and assimilating a new dog to the mix?
Contrary to popular belief, a second dog does not “free up your time.
Sure, your dog will have a buddy to play with, but that doesn’t mean they’re out of your hair. You’ll just have twice as much energy and twice as much fun.
One other time-related question to ask yourself: will you be experiencing any major life events or significant changes soon? We're talking about things like starting a new job, having a baby, moving, or working on a new project.
If you answered “yes” to this question, put off the second dog talk, at least temporarily, until things settle down.
4. Are you in it for the long haul?
Getting a pet is a serious commitment, and you cannot shirk the extra chores once the initial thrill wears off.
You may responsibly get another pet right now, but think about where your life will be in two, five, or ten years down the road. Are you engaged, expecting a child moving across the country?
These events in a dog's life could be stressful, but you could wind up getting what you don't bargain for.
Are you willing to provide the best life for your dogs even when life throws you curve balls?
5. How much room do you have?
Can your home accommodate a second dog, or is it already crowded? How about your yard? Can you fit another cuddly pup in your bed, or has it already been maxed out?
Consider the activity level of your current pet and the one you want to adopt.
- Is there enough room for them to run and play?
- Don’t forget there will also be two dogs running through the yard.
- Can your lawn handle it?
6. Double the dogs, double the fur (and other messes!)
Dogs aren’t exactly the tidiest of animals.
Pet owners have to cope with accidents, muddy paw prints, and the need to scoop poop on a constant basis.
Plus, dogs have a bad habit of destroying furniture and clothes, even when they’re playing.
Are you a neat freak? If you're scared of one dog's mess, imagine what two dogs can do!
7. Do you have the time to train another dog?
It is a lucky owner who discovers their dog is capable of taking on training tasks. For most owners, it is the human who trains the dog.
Are you in reasonably good health to take on the demands of a new dog?
Two dogs means you have to walk two dogs instead of one, clean up after two, and keep the peace if your dogs don't get along.
8. How will a second dog add to your household
Would adding a second dog just add more chaos to an already busy household? Two is sometimes a crowd.
9. How often do you travel?
When you travel, are you going to take both dogs, or are you going to board them?
Pet boarding can get expensive, and even some pet sitters charge by the number of pets. Traveling with one dog can be easy, but how do you fit two dogs under an airline seat?
10. What about the gender of the new dog?
Boy or Girl? This is a popular question.
Does it really matter whether you add a dog of one gender or another?
According to experts, gender is usually not a factor as long as both dogs have been altered.
Little fighting occurs between members of the same or opposite sex. Spaying and neutering can completely transform this.
Neutered dogs have little reason to fight unless one or both have other behavioral issues that should be addressed.
It is up to individual preference, as there is little evidence to support the claim that opposite-gender pairs are better.
Two neutered males get along great and can become lifelong friends. The girls are the same way. I have 2 girl dogs and they are the best of friends.
11. Should I stick with the Same Breed?
The choice of breed is a different matter.
Many people fall in love with a specific breed, whether they are purebred or hybrid, and stick with it throughout their lives. Others aren’t particular.
How important is it to choose a breed when considering a second dog? It’s entirely up to you.
Many small breed dogs are very comfortable with dogs of the same or similar breeds and will get along with them best. For example, Yorkies and Maltese get along just fine, and two Yorkshire Terrier bond even easier.
This does not mean a Chihuahua and a Rottweiler cannot be best friends, but it’s possibly less likely to happen. It truly depends on the dogs themselves.
My dogs Ruby is a 20 lb Goldendoodle and her sister Callie is a 70 lb Labrador Retriever. While they are the best of friends with no issues between them, it’s not always the case with other breeds and temperaments.
Keeping two dogs of the same breed together would be the safest thing to do.
Bringing a Second Dog into the Home
There are definite reason to consider a second dog. There are also reasons bringing in a second dog could spell disaster to an already harmonious household.
Before you make that decision, it is best to consider the needs of everyone in the home, including your current dog.
How Do You Know If You’re Ready For A Second Dog?
- Being a dog parent is an amazing experience.
- It is rewarding; it is fun, and it is exciting.
- When you have a dog running around your house, there are never dull moments.
After spending some time with your four-legged friend, you might begin to think, “having one dog is great, but two dogs?”
The decision to get another dog is not one-size-fits-all; it’s a great idea for some people and not a great idea for others.
Adopting a second dog is a major decision, and you'll want to be sure that you (and your pup!) are up to the task before you add another pup to the equation.
But how can you determine whether adopting another dog is right for your family? How do you know when you’re ready for a second dog?
How To Determine If You’re Ready For A Second Dog
If you get a second dog, you should know the pros and cons. But what can you do if you are seriously considering adding another dog to your family?
You’ll also want to take a look at a few other things before you make a decision.
Here are six ways to tell if you’re ready for a second dog:
1. Everyone in your household human and canine is on board.
- It’s wonderful that you want a second dog. But if anyone else doesn’t like the dog, it’s probably not a good idea.
- 2. Before you decide whether a second dog is right for your family, talk to your family and make sure everyone is on board.
- 3. Having two dogs (or more) is a lot of work, and if not everyone is on board, it can seem like a burden (which isn’t fair to you or the dog).
- 4. You should also consider how your dog will react to having another puppy around.
- 5. You should consider whether adding another puppy to your household is the right move. If your dog doesn’t like being the center of attention, or has a history of not being enthusiastic about other pets, that may not be the best option.
2. You have the financial means to support a second dog.
Like we mentioned earlier, twice as many dogs mean twice as much cost.
It's important to look at your budget before adding another dog to your family. Are you able to cover the costs of food, medical bills, and training for two dogs?
Are you willing to cut back on other expenses (such as eating out or going out with friends) to free up funds to care for your new puppy? If the answer is no, then don’t get another dog.
3. You have plenty of time and energy to dedicate to your Dogs.
Being a dog parent is tiring and time-consuming. But what if you have two pups? That’s even more of a commitment.
A new dog is a big adjustment for a family. You and your current dog will need lots of love, time, and attention to make that transition easy.
4. You have space for two dogs.
Two dogs take up considerably more space than one. Before bringing another dog into the mix, you need to make sure you have the space for them.
Are you comfortable with two dogs sharing space in your home without being on top of each other?
- Is your car big enough to safely transport both puppies?
- If your dog likes to cuddle by your pillows, is there room on the bed if another pup wants to snuggle with you?
- Two dogs need a lot of space, so make sure you have it before getting another dog.
5. You’re willing to train your new dog.
- If you want your new pet to fit in seamlessly with your family and lifestyle, you’ll have to train them.
- If you don’t have time and energy to put into proper training, a second dog is not for you.
How to Expand the pack Safely!
Don’t think about adding a pet to your household or pack until you are absolutely certain your current four-footers are completely housebroken.
If your pack gets too big, you may need to opt for an SUV that can accommodate all of your dogs!
For your dog's health and safety, you'll want to wait to add a new puppy to your pack until your current dog has up-to-date vaccinations.
The more dogs you have in your pack, the more nosy it gets.
Introducing your Dog to your new Second Dog
So you've decided to go ahead with getting a new puppy. Let's talk about introducing them to your current dog.
I like to let the dogs get to know each other on walks and in some free time off-leash before bringing the new dog home.
Next, walk them in together, without leash. Take your existing dog off leash, but leave the new guy on it, and take him for walks around your house, letting him explore and sniff.
When he’s done the tour, you can let both dogs interact off leash in a room while you closely monitor everything.
Getting a Dog is for Life
At the end of the day, adopting any number of dogs is a lifetime commitment. You’re committing to your pet that you will always care for them, feed them, and seek veterinary help when they get sick.
Before choosing to get a second dog, you’ll want to confirm that you and your family are ready to commit to another furry best friend.
The last thing you’d want to do is offer a home to a dog and then have to scramble to rehome them after forgetting that Grandma didn’t buy into the new plan.
You’ll also want to confirm whether or not your new dog is already microchipped, and start making plans to get a microchip inserted if not.
After all, microchips are essential to helping your dog friend come home safely if they get lost or are stolen.
With careful consideration and planning, any family can prepare to bring a second loving dog into the family.
Ready to learn more about setting your dogs up for success at home?
Whichever way you go, enjoy and live happily with your furry best friend on our blog today.