Adding a second dog to your family

Turning Points 3 min read

For many pet owners, a great experience with a dog often leads to adding a second dog. There are plenty of great reasons to bring home a second dog: double the love and companionship for you, and your dog might really enjoy having a canine sibling and playmate too. It’s an important decision to make, so be sure you do your research and make sure it’s the best move for you, your family, and the dogs.

Pros and cons of getting another dog

As you consider increasing the size of your canine brood, it’s useful to think about some of the pros and cons of getting a second dog. While your gut reaction might be to immediately embrace the idea, taking a step back can give you a clearer view of how such a dramatic change can have an impact on your daily life — and that of your current dog. Here are some pros and cons of adding a second dog:

Pros of adding a second dog

  • Playtime could be more fun for everyone and give both dogs some good exercise.
  • Dogs are generally social animals, so having two could increase their happiness.
  • Your dog is great, and giving them a companion could create a lifelong friendship.
  • You and your family have a lot of love to share with a second dog.

Cons of adding a second dog

  • Many expenses, such as dog food, vet care, and grooming will now cost twice as much.
  • Is your house, condo, or apartment big enough for everyone to be comfortable with another pet?
  • Your current dog may not be thrilled to have to share your affection with a newcomer.
  • If taking one dog outside or to the park is a handful, doing so with two could be difficult.

Finding the right match

Once you’ve determined that your first dog is likely ready and willing to accept another dog into your household, think carefully about what attributes the new dog should have in order to be a good fit. In some cases, the new dog might have a different personality, size, age or sex, but ends up complementing your current dog well. You might consider adopting a rescue dog to find a great animal that needs a home.

Getting to know each other

If you’ve identified a dog you’re thinking of adding to your family, it’s time to get the animals together to meet. Here are some steps to follow to determine if your old and new dog are a good match:

  • Meet at a neutral location, such as a park. Have an adult hold each dog’s leash. At first, keep the animals far enough apart that they can’t directly interact yet.
  • Let the calmer of the dogs make the first approach. If everyone is too excited, consider going for a walk to use up some energy and calm down a bit.
  • Allow the dogs to sniff each other and get close. If their bodies seem relaxed, their mouths are open and their tails are wagging, things are going well! Closed mouths, stiff bodies, upright ears and tails, and growling indicate that there is some tension. Regroup and try again later.
  • If the signs are positive, let the dogs play with each other and see what happens. Make sure you’re monitoring the situation closely in case you need to intervene.
  • Once you’re to the point of bringing your new dog home, minimize potential conflicts by having separate eating times, dog beds, and toys. Be sure to give each dog individual, undivided attention in addition to group time.

Whether you have one dog, two dogs, or a whole house full of pups, dog insurance plans can protect you from veterinary costs. Learn more about how dog insurance works.

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