Expanding the Pack: Should You Get a Second Dog?

Posted by Amber King
two dogs running outside

Double the dogs means double the fun, right?

Dog lovers and pup parents everywhere dote over their furry companions in ways that have literally changed the pet industry. People have gravitated away from pet owning and toward pet parenting. For most dog parents, that means their canine kids receive all the love and attention they need. But there’s always the question, “Does my dog need a sibling?” And more importantly, “Will having another dog lead to more cuddles, more adorable antics, and more love?”

In some cases, the answers to both of those questions is, “Yes!” But not every household is ready for double the doggies. Here are a few things to consider before you bring home a second dog.

Can You Afford It?

two golden retriever puppies

There’s no way around the fact that owning two dogs is expensive. You’ll have two mouths to feed, which means you’ll go through dog food twice as fast. Your vet visits and bills will double, and you’ll need two of everything—two dog beds, two food bowls, two leashes, etc.

If you’re not financially capable of caring for two dogs, it’s best to hold off. Your furry friends deserve the best, and unfortunately, the best doesn’t come cheap.

Is Your First Dog Ready for a Sibling?

two dogs playing

If you’re still working through behavioral problems with your current dog, adding another pup into the mix will only make matters worse. The first few weeks will be especially challenging as your resident dog transitions into no longer being an only pup.

Any training challenges will be intensified, especially with double the energy level, and when you add that on top of whatever issues your second dog comes with, it won’t be long until you’re hopelessly overwhelmed.

You also have to take in account if your dog is an older dog, and maybe doesn’t need to have that extra play time, and if your new dog is the opposite sex, which could also cause problems. Two female dogs may not be a good match due to territory issues.

Do You Have the Time?

two small dogs in the woods

You and your current pup have probably settled into a wonderful routine, but adding a new bundle of fur into that mix will throw everything off. Your new puppy will require individual attention and training. A lot of people think a second dog will save them time, because playful dogs can exercise themselves, but it doesn’t usually work that way.

 

If one or both of your dogs has trouble on the leash, you’ll be forced to exercise them separately. You’ll also need to train them separately to avoid bad habits. This means more time and effort on your part. You have to determine if you have that kind of room in your schedule, and whether or not that extra effort will be worth it to you. If you’re a real dog lover, the answer to the latter will most certainly be “yes,” but finding extra time throughout the day isn’t always possible.

Do You Have the Room?

two big dogs laying with person

Two dogs will take up two times the amount of space. This might not matter as much if you have smaller dogs, like two ten-pound Pomeranians, but if you like big mutts, space may be an issue. You’ll need extra room both inside and outside.

If you plan on crate-training, you’ll need space for two crates, and your yard needs to be big enough to give the dogs plenty of room to run around together. When people and animals are forced to share cramped spaces, it’s easy for tempers to flare.

Does Everyone (Including the Dog) Agree?

two golden retrievers by the water

Having a dog is a family commitment, and it’s important to have everyone on board before committing to a second dog. The family needs to be on the same page when it comes to household rules and training. If one person feels having another dog would be an unwelcome burden, they’ll never be happy with taking on that responsibility of multiple dogs.

You also need to make sure your current dog wants a sibling. He can’t flat-out tell you his opinion, but your dog’s behavior and body language is his way of communicating. If he reacts aggressively toward other dogs or suddenly turns scared and timid at the dog park, he’s telling you loud and clear that a second dog is not a good idea. It’s disappointing, but you can’t sacrifice your current dog’s well-being, or the safety of a new dog, based on your love for all things furry.

If you were able to answer all these questions with a “yes,” adding a new dog to your family will mean more love and companionship for everyone around. And if you’re planning to adopt from a shelter, rescue organization, or Humane Society, you’ll even be saving a life.

Adding another furry friend to your life will require extra work and the transition period may be rocky, but if you do it right, double the dogs will mean double the fun.

How many dogs do you have? Tell us about your multiple dog household in the comments below. 

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Expanding the Pack: Should You Get a Second Dog?