Having a sweet dog or a cuddly cat is so wonderful that maybe you’ve been considering expanding your family even more. If you’re wondering if you should get a second pet, there are a few things you should consider before leaping. If you decide to welcome a new little life into your home, it’s essential to make the transition as low-stress as possible. Don’t expect them to be best friends immediately.
“The more dogs, the better” might be a fun rule in theory, but in reality, if your existing fur baby would be unhappy with a new dog at home, that might not be the best choice for you. According to experts, there are some signs to watch out for that can give you a good idea of whether your pup would be into the idea or not.
According to experts, here are some questions to ask when you’re deciding whether to get a second pet.
How social are they?
As noted by Dr Jennifer Coates, a veterinarian and advisory board member for Pup Life Today, if your pet enjoys interacting with other animals while out on walks, in the front yard, or at the veterinary hospital, there’s a reasonably good chance that adding another pet to your home won’t be too traumatic. However, even if they seem to love other pups, be careful about their feelings if you bring a new dog home. Make sure your ‘firstborn’s schedule stays as unchanged as possible when the new pet comes home, and be careful on the side of giving your current pet more attention than the new one.
Do they seem like they need a friend?
It’s pretty typical for your dog or cat to get excited to see you when you get home from work, but if your pet seems lonely pretty often, they might actually want some company during the day. For example, if they are always active and want to constantly play with you but don’t have enough human interaction to keep them entertained, they might benefit from a buddy, Ochoa says. The new addition will help with your pet’s activity level. Another way to test this is to watch how your dog acts when you take them to a dog park. Do they sprint off to eagerly interact with other dogs? If so, maybe their social needs aren’t being met at the moment.
How will your first pet respond?
We know you’re excited about bringing home a second pet, but how will your current pet feel about the new arrangement. We consider our pets as a member of our family. So, it is essential to consider how a new pet will affect your current quality of life. For example, does your dog enjoy the company of other dogs, or does he generally prefer to be alone? What are his interactions with other dogs like? It’s equally wise to consider how well your dog copes with change. He might already be comfortable with the way things are, and he might not appreciate his routine or sleeping/eating area being messed with. If you’re looking to adopt a puppy, ask yourself if your dog can handle the extra chaos.
How old are they?
If your dog or cat is getting older and has been your only pet for their whole life, it can sometimes be difficult to bring in a new pet. “Older pets sometimes become set in their ways, while youngsters are often more adaptable,” Coates says. But sometimes an old dog will surprise you and actually appreciate having a spry new companion, she says. “Many an older pet has seemingly gained a new lease on life when a younger pet is added to the household.”
Do they want your constant attention?
When you only have one pet, they probably get all of the belly rubs and snuggle sessions that they want during your free time at home. But welcoming in another dog means that your attention will suddenly be divided between the two of them. “Pets that jealously guard your time and attention may not be willing to share you with another, which can lead to spats (or worse),” Coates says. So pay attention to how clingy your current pet is. If they insist on following you everywhere like a shadow, they might not be ready to share with you. But if they’re OK with doing their own thing every once in a while, they might be open to a new pet at home.
Are they happy to share?
When people have a second human baby, the oldest child must suddenly learn how to share their toys, snacks, and space with another person. Similarly, getting another animal means that your fur baby will have to be a good sharer. If your pup does not mind sharing toys or food with other dogs, that’s a good sign that they’d do well with another pet in the house, Ochoa says. “When you have a play date, see how your pet does with other dogs playing with their toys or eating out of their food bowl,” she says. If they get upset or aggressive when another pet touches their belongings, they might not be ready to share with a new animal sibling.