Two dogs sitting next to each other on a path with one of them putting its limb around the other.

Should I Get A Second Dog?

Dogs are man’s best companions. They enrich our lives with love and fun. So, some people might consider if they should get a second dog for even more love and fun. So, should they?

You should get a second dog if you have the time, patience, energy, and money to provide for the second dog. However, it is not a good idea if you are getting it to treat behavioral issues of your previous dog, like separation anxiety and destructive behaviors. Additionally, you should not get a second dog if you don’t have enough time, budget, or space in your home and are not fond of dog hair.

Things To Consider When Getting A Second Dog

Two dogs running and playing through the grass with one dog looking at another with an apple in its mouth.
Is this a happy time or a not-so-happy time? Hopefully, it’s the first one.

Here are some of the reasons why you might want to think twice about getting a second dog.

Making Sure You Have Enough Money For A Second Dog

Adding a second dog to your family can cause your pet expenses to double or triple. Your new dog will require you to buy more food and accessories. Your vet bills will also soar, and a new dog might need training classes too. 

Other spending includes a sitter and daycare charges if you travel and don’t want your dogs alone at home.

Two Dogs Means Twice The Responsibility

Pet companionship is not a walk in the park. As you know, it is a commitment, and you are responsible for your dogs. So, you have to provide them with the necessary care. If you cannot provide the best life for your first dog, it is best to postpone your decision to get a second dog. 

If You Have Enough Time For A Second Dog

It is not a good idea to get a second dog to provide companionship for your first dog. Although a second dog may ease boredom, it can never be a substitute for you. Besides, the second dog may cause more problems than your first dog. Furthermore, both dogs may exacerbate each other’s destructive behaviors. 

The Behavior Issues Of Your First Dog

If your first dog has behavioral issues like aggression or anxiety, then it is not a good idea to get a second dog to fix them. Your first dog may also transfer their anxiety and aggression to your second dog, which is something you would never want.  

Remember, your new dog is not a magician that will solve all the issues of your first dog. Only a vet or an animal behavior specialist can do that. If there are any behavioral issues with the first dog, it would be best to seek help from such an expert.

How Much Space You Have Available

When you are living in a small apartment or home where there are constraints on space and mobility, adding a second dog will be hard on both dogs. It will not only affect the welfare of dogs, but it can also cause more stress and destructive behaviors in them. 

Furthermore, it will be difficult to navigate your home if you get a large breed dog.

You’ll Be Dealing With More Dog Hair

Well, if you are bothered by the dog hairs in the house, then regardless of breed or shedding, a second dog will increase the number of hairs in your house. Moreover, the hair will be everywhere in your house. Hence, you might need to rethink your decision to get a second dog.

You’ll Have To Handle Both Dogs, Sometimes At Once

Remember the last time you took your dog for a walk and had a hard time handling it? Well, imagine if you have to control two dogs simultaneously. That’s going to be a lot of work. 

There is also a chance both dogs don’t get along well, which will only degrade their well-being.

Your Other Pets And Their Needs

Some dog breeds have strong hunting instincts, which may come into action if you have other small pets like cats and rabbits. These hunting instincts dog breeds include:

  • Australian shepherds
  • Border collies
  • Terriers
  • Hounds
  • Retrievers
  • Spaniels
  • Pointers

So, be careful when getting a dog breed that has a strong hunting drive.

How Your First Dog Will React

Suppose you don’t have any of the above issues and bring your second dog to the house. Everyone in the house is happy except the first dog. Although dogs are very social animals, they don’t always get along.

Also, dogs are selfish with their resources. These resources are not limited to food, water, and toys. That’s because they also consider your attention a resource too. So, give your dog adequate attention to prevent destructive behaviors, and make sure if you get two dogs to both give them equal amounts and lots of attention.

Why You Should Get A Second Dog

Getting a second dog is not a bad choice in all cases. In some situations, a second dog is not a great idea. It does help not only you but also provides companionship for the first dog. 

Here are some of the right reasons to get a second dog.

You Already Had A Second Dog And It Passed Away

In case you already had two dogs and one of them passed away, then it is a good idea to get a second dog. Getting a second dog will not only help in easing the bereavement of the deceased dog, but it will also help you and your first dog move forward. Moreover, your first dog will have a companion again.

You Want Twice The Fun

Two dogs mean twice the fun and twice the cuddles. You will have a lot of fun and fulfillment from their companionship. Moreover, they will enrich your life with their love and cuteness. At night, you and your children will not have to worry about who is going to sleep with the dog either. 

You Save A Life if You Adopt It From The Shelter

No doubt, getting a second dog from a breeder is a good idea. But how about getting a dog from a shelter? According to The Zebra, more than 3 million dogs are admitted to shelters, and hundreds of thousands are euthanized every year. Hence, it not only provides companionship for you, but it also saves a life.

You Are A Dog Person Who Simply Loves Dogs

Sometimes, you don’t always need to have a solid reason to get something. You just get it because you love it. In this case, the “it” is a second dog. You might need to provide extra training and money, but love finds a way. 

If you love dogs, you are going to make them comfortable, and in turn, you and your family will also be happy.

You Have An Older Dog 

You have an older dog who might pass away in the future. So, you want a second dog so that you can transition from the loss of the first dog. In this case, having a second dog (a puppy) is a good idea. 

Your older dog will get companionship, and the puppy will benefit from the experience of interacting with an elder dog. In some cases, older dogs might not get along with younger dogs though, so keep this in mind when looking for one, and don’t forget to give your older dog just as much attention as your younger one.

How To Introduce The Second Dog

Introducing a new dog to your existing household can be tricky. The best way to introduce your new pup is through a gradual process.

Let Them Explore

Start by giving your new pup a good tour of the house and garden. Also, allow your new pup to explore the house on its own. Try to introduce your new dog to the first dog in a neutral area and let them get used to each other’s scents before having them interact with each other.

Go Slow

Keep the initial interactions short, like a brief walk together or having the two dogs sniff each other while on a leash. This is to ensure they get used to being around each other without feeling overwhelmed or threatened.

Provide Separate Things For Both Dogs

Be sure to give each dog separate areas to relax and sleep and enough space to interact without feeling crowded. Provide them with separate food bowls, toys, and beds in different areas of the home.

And Once They’re Feeling Comfortable…

Once both dogs seem comfortable with each other, you can start to introduce the second dog more to your home environment. Ensure your existing dog is given plenty of attention and positive reinforcement during this time, so it doesn’t feel displaced by the new pup.

Following these steps will help you introduce your second dog to the first dog peacefully and stress-free. Keep an eye on both of them and make sure they get along. In case there is any aggression or bad behavior, consult a professional immediately for help.

In Conclusion: Should I Get a Second Dog?

Getting a second dog is a big decision, so you should consider the pros and cons before you get another pup. If you are getting a second dog for companionship, to save a life, or just because you love dogs, then go ahead and get one.

Make sure you are ready to take care of two pets though, and remember you need to provide double the love, attention, and care for both of your dogs. Once you have considered the above-mentioned points, you should be able to make an informed decision about whether or not to get a second dog.

So, why are you thinking of getting a second dog? Have you had one before? Let us know in the comments below!

Dr. Majid Tanveer (DVM)
Dr. Majid Tanveer (DVM)
Dr. Majid is a licensed veterinarian, writer, and animal welfare advocate. He obtained his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Pakistan. He has been working as a senior veterinarian for five years. Over the last few years, Dr. Majid has worked extensively for the betterment of animal welfare and rights in his country. He is also a proud owner of a dog, which he loves dearly. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his dog and indulging in his hobby of writing.