Things to consider before adding a second dog to your family.
By Jodi Hartley

Thinking of adding a second dog to your family? There are many reasons why people consider adding another furry friend to the family. Perhaps your current dog brings you so much joy that you feel that having two times as much canine love sounds wonderful. Maybe you work all day and feel that your current dog is lonely and could use a companion. Or perhaps you’ve come across a dog available for adoption who has captured your eye or is in a situation that warrants a new home.

Whatever the reason for adding a second dog to your family, there are a number of things for you and all members of your family to consider before taking the plunge.

Your Current Dog

1. Does your dog like other dogs? If he enjoys playing with and the company of other dogs, he may enjoy a canine family member. Not sure if he likes other dogs? Bring him in for a doggie day camp evaluation and trial to find out.
2. Is he in good health? A dog who is ill or has a chronic disease such as arthritis may not feel up to having another dog invade his space.
3. Does your dog have any behavioral issues? If your dog has naughty behaviors that you don’t like, most likely a second dog will pick up those bad behaviors. It’s best to take your dog for obedience or behavioral modification training before adding another dog. Also, if your dog is possessive of food, toys or you, it is imperative to resolve the issue before thinking about adding a second dog.
4. Does your dog have separation anxiety? If so, adding a second dog will not cure him of it. Work with a behaviorist to resolve the separation anxiety and then think about a second dog if the behaviorist endorses it.

Your Human Family

1. Are all members of your human family on board with adding another dog? If even one person is in disagreement, re-think adding another dog.
2. Do you all have the time to care for another dog: training, feeding, walking, playing and scooping the yard?
3. Is your family financially able to take on another dog? A second dog means added expenses for vet care, heartworm and flea and tick medications, boarding, dog walker, food, crate, leash and collar. Also, can you transport two dogs in your current vehicle?
4. Is there any possibility that you will be adding any more humans to your family? If so, adding a baby and a second dog at the same time is a very bad idea. Each one needs 100 percent of your attention, and they can’t get that if they are arriving around the same time.

The New Dog

1. What is the new dog’s experience with other dogs? Does he enjoy them?
2. How is the new dog’s health? Does he need any immediate medical care? Do you know any of his history to predict that he will have any health issues?
3. Is the new dog’s personality compatible with your current dog’s? It is always better for both dogs to be spayed/neutered and have similar play styles and activity levels.
4. What is the dog’s age? Similar to personality, it is typically better for the current dog and the new dog to be similar in age.

Your Home

1. If you rent, does your landlord allow more than one dog? Are there any weight or breed restrictions for your rental?
2. If you own your home, do you have room for another dog such as a second crate, bed, food dish, etc.?

If all these factors are a go for you, your current dog and your family, then adding a second dog is a great idea for you and the lucky pup to join your family!

Article References

Vetstreet: What to Consider Before Getting a Second Dog.

BarkPost: 11 Ways to Know You’re Ready for a Second Dog.

Michigan Humane Society: Thinking About Adopting A Second Dog?