The Pros and Cons of Adding a Second Dog to Your Family

Picture of 2 Collie Dogs

Thinking Fido’s tired of the one dog lifestyle and could use a new canine best friend? Are you wondering if adding a second dog will simply mean double the love, fun, and drooly doggy kisses? Multi-dog households are greatly increasing in popularity. But before you make the leap to adding a second dog to your home, it’s a good idea to evaluate the pros and cons behind such a big decision. 

The Pros of Adding a Second Dog to Your Home

For families who are ready to add a second canine family member into their home, there are many advantages to be gained. If you’re still trying to decide if now is the right time to bring a new canine pal to join your fave furry companion, consider our list of pros to adding a second dog to your home.

  • Twice the number of dogs means twice the amount of love to go around.

In most households, every family member hopes to be selected as the dog’s favorite person. However, with only one dog in a household, your fave furry friend has to spread his love around instead of concentrating exclusively on one person. A second dog means more love for everyone to share.

  • Fido will have a friend for company.

Let’s face it; as much as you’d love to stay home with your best canine pal all day long, you do have places to go and people to see, meaning you have to venture outside your house on a fairly regular basis. A second dog in the home means Fido is never alone. Having a companion to play with is a great way to keep your dog from becoming bored. 

  • Fido will enjoy a greater sense of security.

Dogs are social creatures and being left alone for extended periods of time can have an impact on the personality of an otherwise happy and confident dog. Having a built in playmate gives both dogs a greater sense of security as even when alone at home, they have each other for company.

  • Two dogs are easier to care for than one.

Though it would seem that two dogs means two times the amount of work for you to do, you will find that taking care of two is actually easier than simply having one. How can this be so? When you only own one dog, the dog looks to you for all of its needs to be met. This can mean a lot of long walks when you’re too tired to tackle those extra few miles and hours spent in the backyard throwing a ball when you really need to be catching up on your housework. Two dogs that enjoy each other’s company tire each other out through play sessions interspersed throughout their day. Though both dogs will still love and seek out your company, they are also equally as willing to spend time wrestling or playing with each other if you are busy and need to get other work done.

  • A second dog will help alleviate any separation anxiety.

Some dogs find it difficult to adjust to their families being away from home. This can result in separation anxiety, a condition in which the dog may engage in behaviors that are destructive to your home and to the dog himself. But worst of all, the dog is negatively impacted emotionally; sometimes to the point of becoming completely distraught without any ability to calm itself down. A second dog can greatly help dogs that suffer with this affliction. By adding a second dog to your home, you are giving your dog a companion with whom to spend some social time. Whether the two dogs enjoy some play time or simply nap side by side, your dog will enjoy the quiet companionship of his new pal and feel far less stressed when you have to leave your home for a while.

The Cons of Bringing Home a Second Dog

Adding a second dog to your home is a big decision. While there are definitely benefits to be reaped, there can also be some negatives. Knowing some of the problems you may potentially face will help you as you evaluate whether or not bringing a second dog to join your family is the right idea for you.

Here are some cons to adding a second dog to your home:

  • Training can be more difficult

If you add two dogs of the same age at the same time, it can be very difficult to train the dogs. This is one reason why many breeders will not sell littermates. The danger is that the two siblings will bond to each other so deeply that they will focus all of their attention on things they do together and will never appropriately become emotionally attached to their new family, an important part of pet ownership.

When two dogs become deeply attached to each other, it is difficult for them to focus on learning new skills. You will need to find time to spend individual sessions with each dog to train new commands, and since many families have only limited time to devote to training, this can be too time consuming to effectively accomplish.

  • Twice the dogs to love means twice the amount of hair and poop to clean up.

Though two dogs can be easier to care for than simply one, there is no question that two dogs do make more mess. In muddy weather, that means an additional set of pawprints all over your carpets, furniture, and floor. You will have to clean up twice the amount of shed hair, and your yard will bear evidence of twice the amount of poop. If the dogs you have in your home enjoy chewing on things, this could also mean twice the amount of destroyed shoes, toys, and furniture for you to replace.

  • You may have to deal with “monkey see, monkey do.”

Particularly problematic if the second dog you add to your home is a puppy, you may find that your new canine family member picks up bad habits from the established family dog. But sometimes things work the opposite way with the annoyed established family member acting out to show his displeasure at having to share his home, toys, and your attention.

  • You may have to deal with sibling rivalry.

Dogs can become very possessive of their belongings, and this can extend to their owners as well. If your dog is feeling resentful about having to share your attention and the things that he loves most, he may respond by picking fights with the new dog. These situations can be very difficult for an owner to navigate, and sometimes when a fight occurs, it is impossible for the dogs to learn to live together peaceably again. This is a big risk that every family adding a second dog to their home may face.

  • Twice the dogs means twice the expenses.

Adding a second dog to your home will mean more money for dog food, more money spent on multiple toys, beds, leashes, collars, veterinary care, and much, much more. If you travel a great deal, you will need to consider the fact that it is more expensive to kennel two dogs than it is for simply one. It can also mean you need to plan your trips far further ahead of time to make certain there is room for both dogs at your kennel of choice.

Some Special Considerations

If you’ve carefully considered the pros and cons and are firmly determined that now is the time to add another dog to your home, there are few additional things you should factor into your choice of a new canine pal.

Some breeds can be predisposed to same sex aggression. This means that adding another dog of the same breed that is also the same gender could be a recipe for disaster. It may be best for you to choose a dog of the opposite gender or an entirely different breed to ensure a continued happy home when your new canine pal joins your family.

Age is also something that is important to give some consideration to. If your current furry friend is a senior suffering from arthritis or other health ailments, bringing home a rambunctious baby puppy may be a poor choice. Try to select a new canine pal that is similar in age, personality, and play style to the already established family dog if possible.

Sometimes, a dog simply will not be able to get along with a new family pet. When this happens, you have two options available to you. You can hire a professional dog trainer who can come to your home to help assess the situation and provide a road map for helping Fido and his new canine friend to learn to get along. However, this approach requires a great deal of commitment and consistency from each member of the family. In some cases, you may do everything your trainer tells you to and the dogs still will not get along. When this occurs, you are left only with your second option: placing the second dog and returning to life as a single dog home. There is a lot of pressure on families to keep a dog once they have adopted/purchased it; however, the truth is this is not always in the best interest of either dog. Sometimes dogs do not get along simply because their personalities are too different…or they are too alike. If getting along peaceably is just not possible, forcing the dogs to live together is a miserable existence for all involved. By placing the second dog in a living situation that is more suitable for him, both dogs have the opportunity to live their lives in a place where they can be happy and not forced into an existence with another being that they cannot stand and that causes them stress. Though this may seem like failure on the surface, it requires a great deal of personal sacrifice on your part and truly is a selfless decision to make as it considers what is best for both dogs first and foremost and your own personal feelings last.

Thinking Fido could use a new furry friend? Consider our list of pros and cons to help with your decision. You’ll be glad you did!

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