Having two dogs in your home can offer a handful of benefits for both you and your canine friend. However, there are some factors to consider before adding a second pup to your family. Our Los Angeles vets share some insights on bringing home another four-legged friend in this post. 

Is it better to have one or two dogs?

Dogs are social pack animals who, by nature, thrive in group environments. Therefore, you might find many advantages to adopting a second dog, such as: 

  • You will have two adorable dogs to love 
  • Your older dog can help train your new puppy
  • They can keep each other company
  • When the dogs have each other, this can help ease separation anxiety
  • Both dogs will be able to exercise together and entertain each other

When considering whether your home would be even better with a second dog, think about how your two pups will interact day-to-day. Though getting a second dog to give your first dog some company might be a well-intentioned idea, all parties may need some time to adjust. Your first dog might not like having to share their environment, toys, or your attention and affection. This makes it important to do your homework and prepare when getting ready to bring a second dog home. 

Which kind of dog should I get?

When thinking of bringing home another four-legged friend, it's important to determine which type of dog will suit your current dog and family's lifestyle best. This is why you need to ensure you are doing more than just checking off a couple of items on a list. We recommend considering factors such as: 

  • What size of dog will be most appropriate for you and your family? 
  • Can your home fit a second dog? 
  • Can you afford food, veterinary bills and other expenses for a second dog?
  • What are your current dog and new dog's exercise needs?
  • Will you have time to play with and care for another dog?
  • Will your current dog be able to comfortably interact with a puppy, or will an older, calmer dog be best?

By answering these questions as you begin to consider which type of dog is for you, you should be able to determine if you are ready for a second dog, and zero in on the perfect addition to your family.

How can I help my old dog and new dog get along?

If you've decided now is the time to get a second dog, there are some measures you can implement to make the process easier for everyone and help your two dogs get along as much as possible. 

Speak With Your Family First

It should take you and your family some time to decide whether to bring home a new dog. It's best to ask everyone in your home what they think about bringing a new puppy home, if they are willing to chip in on caring for it, and if it meet's everyone's needs, including your current dog's. Think about your current dog's age, physical ability and personality when determining whether you want to bring home 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, 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. If you already have more than one dog you will need some more help or be able to control them all on a leash.

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.

Let the Dogs Get to Know Each Other

When meeting, it's normal for dogs to circle and sniff each other. Keep this meeting positive by talking to them in a tone that is pleasant. Watch them 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 because this will just teach them to suppress their emotions when you are near. 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 because they will get to know each other when they are ready. 

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 gives your original dog the opportunity to invite your new pup into their domain.

Limit Opportunities 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. When it comes time for them to play together you need to watch them closely. Don't forget to offer them lots of praise when they interact nicely with one another.

It's imperative that you find time to spend quality one-on-one time with each dog every day so you can cement the personal bond you have with them.

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 Los Angeles vets to book an appointment today. Your veterinarian can let you know if they think your canine friend would benefit from having a sibling and share tips on how to make the process as stress-free as possible.