Getting a Second Dog: What to Consider When Expanding Your Pack

second dog - two dogs in a pile of leavesAdopting or buying a dog is not something to take lightly. There are so many responsibilities–financial and emotional–that come with adding an animal to your family. Not to mention how much sheer time a dog consumes, let alone a second dog.

If you are already a dog owner and want to add a second pup to your pack, you definitely have a lot of factors to consider. That said, adding another dog can bring so much joy into your life and your household – and it is really exciting! Here are some things to consider when getting a second dog and expanding your pack:

Is your first dog in good shape?

One really important factor in this decision is your current dog. Are they physically and mentally healthy? If they are, this will allow you to devote as much attention to the new pup as you need to. While your first dog is a known factor, you can’t be totally sure how high-maintenance the new pup is going to be.

If your dog has big-time health issues, think about what you would do if the second dog also had health issues. Could you afford to get both of them treated by a vet? Buy the special food they need, etc.?

If your dog has issues with anxiety or phobias, definitely try to get a handle on them before you get a new pup. Things will be chaotic enough with two healthy dogs running around.

Do you have room in your life for another dog?

What kinds of projects or obligations do you have coming up in the next few months? Do you have any vacations planned? Are you stressed and overwhelmed at work?

If you’re feeling like you’re stretched thin, and need more time to yourself, or if you have any trips planned, think twice about getting another dog. When you bring another pup into your home, especially if they are young, you will need to spend lots of time training them and making sure they are properly socialized. This early period will have a huge effect on their habits and personality for the rest of their life.

Is everyone in the family excited and prepared for a second dog?

This is something to definitely have a serious conversation with your family about. When you get a second dog, everyone will need to cooperate and pitch in. There will be more time spent on cleaning and general dog maintenance. So if your family is not totally on board yet, it’s probably best to wait until they are.

Are you choosing the right dog?

If the dog you already have is fairly dominant, it’s probably not a great idea to get an additional assertive dog. If your dog is shy and not dominant, you might want to avoid getting a very assertive dog who may take over.

Also, take size into account when looking for a new dog. If you have a toy-size pup and introduce a big dog into the household, violence may inadvertently occur. Even if they are just playing, big dogs and very small dogs can be a dangerous combination because the big dog may not realize his own strength and the small dog might be intimidated and lash out.

Think about their grooming needs. If the dog you already have requires a large amount of grooming, you might want to think about getting a second pup who is low-maintenance, grooming-wise.

To sum it up, the best thing you can do when considering getting a second dog is to talk it over with your family, and think about and plan for the consequences of this decision. As a way to envision what it will be like having two dogs, think about how you will divide up the labor related to caring for the dogs. If you really talk it over, you are sure to make the right choice!