Adding a Second Dog to Your Family: Pros and Cons
February 27th, 2020 by Cherished Companions
The more dogs, the merrier, right? Sometimes. 🙂
Each pet family is different, so it’s awesome you’re thinking
through the decision of adding a second dog.
Dr. Melanie has always had two dogs, and she sees A LOT of
multiple dog families.
We asked her to share potential benefits — and
cons — of getting a second dog.
Plus, scroll down for her thoughts on good ages and genders for
a second dog, so you can choose well for your family.
Benefits of getting a second dog
- You can double the fun and silly antics in your home.
- Some dogs LIKE having a companion. If you have a
nervous dog who suffers from separation anxiety, for
example, a second dog in your home may help lower
your first dog’s anxiety.
- Younger dogs can become playmates for each other.
- If your first dog is destructive from boredom, you
may be able to redirect your dog’s energy, so the dogs
entertain each other instead.
- If you have kids, a second dog can make another good
- One person can usually still walk two dogs. (Think
about the size and strength you can handle.)
- If your dogs are a few years apart, you’ll still have a
furry friend when the other passes away.
Cons of getting a second dog
- Two dogs take more time, even if they’re
entertaining each other. Make sure you have enough
time for one dog before considering a second dog.
- Two dogs are a greater expense. Depending on the
size and age of your dogs, you may be doubling your
food, boarding, grooming and veterinary care bills.
- Some dogs like to be the only dog. Not every dog
wants a buddy. You may change the dynamic with your
- If you travel a lot or know you’re going to deploy, it
can be easier (and less expensive) to find care for one
dog rather than two.
- If someone in your home has allergies, you’ll need to
look for an allergy-resistant dog.
Alpha personality and gender considerations
when adding a second dog
Dogs consider you their pack.
There are some dogs that have more of an alpha personality
than others. (It could be either a female dog or a male dog.)
Mixing the genders can help if you have a dog with a strong
In this case, look for a second dog that is the opposite sex and is
more laid back and mellow.
Avoid getting two strong alpha personalities, and always have
them meet in a neutral place, so you can see how they interact.
(If one dog is physically aggressive to the other, this is not good.)
Can dogs of the same gender get along together?
Our veterinarians have had personal experience mixing two male
dogs and two female dogs together. The dogs have done fine.
The key is to be in tune with each dog’s alpha tendencies.
Age considerations when getting a second dog
Generally speaking, there isn’t a “best age” to get a new dog, but
there are a few age considerations:
- Avoid introducing a puppy if you have a geriatric
dog. (Your dog is 10+ years.) It can be really taxing on
your senior dog.
- If you get a younger dog when your dog is 6-8 years
old, this may help keep your older dog acting more
- If you’re getting two puppies from the same litter,
make sure you spend time separately with each dog, so the
dogs bond with you (and not just to each other).
Otherwise, you may be treated as an outsider.
On that note, ANY TIME you’re getting a second dog, it’s always a good
idea to make sure you’re spending quality time with each dog
separately, so they bond with you.
- Adopting an older dog versus a puppy: Pros and cons
- 5 questions to ask before you adopt a pet in Castle Rock
- Choosing a rescue dog? Be alert for dogs with this behavior
If you’re adopting a rescue dog, ask about our FREE 1st exam for rescue pets within 14 days of adoption.
Call our Castle Rock veterinarians at 303-688-3757 or:
Cherished Companions Animal Clinic is a veterinary clinic in Castle Rock, Colorado. Specializing in the care of cats and dogs, our goal is to help you and your pet feel more comfortable, keeping your stress to a minimum.
This article is intended to provide general guidance on adding a second dog to your family. If you have specific questions or concerns, please contact your local veterinarian. (If you live in or around Castle Rock, we welcome your call: 303-688-3757.)
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