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Critter Chatter, Dogs

What to Consider When Adding a Second Dog to Your Family

The Paw Print

Essential Pet Blog

Critter Chatter by Dr. Phil

Dogs and their human companions were always together and did not spend much time alone in the house (or cave). Today, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, dogs have become even more bonded with humans, and many people are considering adding another pet to the family. Dogs are highly social creatures and may become bored and even act out when you leave them alone. So, it seems only logical to add another dog to the mix as many people go back to the workplace. To determine if your household is ready for another dog, two questions should first be answered:

Are YOU prepared to take on the extra commitment of a second dog?

Having two dogs is not the same as having just one, especially when it comes to food, supplies, equipment, grooming, boarding, training, veterinary costs, and time. Is your house large enough and if you travel, can your car accommodate an additional furry passenger? Is your house sitter brave enough to handle two dogs? Are you willing to undertake basic training and behavior modification of a new dog as well as reminding your current one that sharing is okay? Having one poorly trained dog is bad enough, but having two can cause chaos. You may initially need to deal with separate walks, living spaces and feeding areas to help maintain early co-existence.

Is your DOG ready for a housemate with lots of fur and curiosity?

Does your dog get along well with most dogs? If your dog has any history of dog-to-dog aggression, adding a second dog could be a disaster. Does your dog have any behavior problems such excessive barking or separation anxiety? Another dog could amplify the situation, especially if the new one mimics such behavioral issues. Is your dog in good health and without physical limitations such as joint problems, urinary incontinence, or cardiac dysfunction? Does your dog have the same energy levels and disposition as the new one you hope to bring home?

How can you help both dogs to get along?

When you bring the new one home, make sure your current dog is given priority, so he still feels “number one”. He should be fed first, petted first and given treats first. Not that you should ignore the new guy, just make sure your current one is kept on a pedestal for a while. It is important that the rules of the house be applied to both dogs equally. Over time the two will work out what really matters to them, achieving mutual acceptance not by being top dog in all cases, but by realizing their particular individual needs – being first in the treat line or just getting to sit closest to an owner.

Being prepared for a new family member with lots of fur and endless curiosity helps the assimilation and can enrich both you and your current dog’s quality of life. Choosing companions with similar activity levels, temperament and likings increases the chance of a healthy pairing and assures many wagging tails.

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a vet and his dog


Dr. Brown holds a Doctorate Degree in Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from the University of California at Davis, a Master of Science Degree in Animal Science and Bachelor of Science Degree in Animal Physiology from the University of California.  Following discharge from the Air Force as a Captain, he owned and operated the largest veterinary hospital on Cape Cod for almost twenty years. Brown is the past President of the Yavapai Humane Society Board of Directors, Branding Committee Chairman for National Animal Supplement Council and member of the American Veterinary Medical Association.  He writes and lectures frequently on the benefits of natural and organic foods and supplements for animals and lives with his wife and a Golden Doodle named Charlotte.

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