Are you considering adding a second dog to your household? There are a few things to keep in mind when moving ahead with introducing another dog to your home. So here, our Perry veterinarians at Westmoreland & Slappey Animal Hospital explain what to do to set your pups up for success.
Your dog has brought so much joy and excitement to your life, that you've decided it would be a good idea to add another to your household. If this is the case, it should be as easy as heading to the nearest shelter or ethical breeder and picking out the cutest dog or puppy you can find, right? Today, our Perry vet team share some things to keep in mind when preparing to introduce a new canine companion to your current dog.
Considerations For Adding Another Dog To Your Household
Many loving pet parents will want to add a second dog to their home because they may be worried that their dog is lonely. While this is well-meaning, there are more factors to think about here. While dogs are social creatures this doesn't mean that all dogs will become friendly. Before you go about introducing a second (or even third) dog to your home, keep the needs of your current pet in mind. Some of the things you should consider should include:
- Your current dog. Is your dog large or small, and will another dog have enough physical room? Does your current dog have special physical, medical, or dietary needs? What is your dog's energy level and play style like? How do they socialize with other dogs?
- Your household. Are other members of your household (e.g. family, roommates) willing to help care for pets? Is everyone on board with adding another dog to the home?
- Your lifestyle. Do you have time to play with and walk another dog twice daily? Are you financially comfortable taking on veterinary bills, food, toys etc. for another dog?
How Can I Help My Current & New Dogs Get Along?
The first thing to do is both have a positive outlook on the process of introducing the two dogs, an to keep your expectations realistic. Your current dog may be wonderful with another dog - up until they realize that they have to share their toys, territory and favorite people with another animal full-time.
Because of this, preparing in advance to introduce a new dog into the household could help things daily a bit more smoothly.
The Dogs' First Meeting
It's a great idea of plan a fun and low-stress activity to be the first meeting of the two dogs. Ask a member of your family or one of your friends that your current dog knows to bring them to a quiet green space. When you bring your new dog, both animals will have already had a little bit of exercise and mental stimulation in a place that is new to that and will be less likely to spark any territorial behavior.
Make sure that each dog is properly and safely controlled. A leash can be used; have the dogs wear them loosely enough to not hamper, but each person holding should have firm control.
Keep a close eye on both dogs' body language while they get to know one another. It's very normal for two new dogs to circle one another and sniff each other before making any eye contact. While keeping an eye on the interactions your two companions are having, keep the tone of conversation pleasant and positive to help set your dogs up for success.
If either dog growls or shows other signs of aggression, do not scold them - it is a natural reaction and your negative reaction will teach them to hide their aggression around you, not to be more friendly to the other dog. Instead, redirect the dogs' attention.
If the dogs ignore each other, don't force the interaction. Let them get to know each other on their own terms. If your introductions are tense or unsuccessful, it might be time to consider another new dog or reconsider getting another dog altogether.
Introducing Another Dog Into The Home
Oce your have facilitated a positive interaction between the two dogs, you can bring your new dog home.
Give your current dog a chance to enter you home first to help reassure them that the territory is still theirs. This will also give them a chance to 'invite' the new dog into their space.
To help your new dog settle in a reduce any rivalry the two may feel, make sure the two dogs have their own food and water bowls, beds and separate areas to rest. Also, consider moving your current dog's favorite toys for a short while as the new dog gets acclimated, and then reintroduce them along with new toys for the recent arrival.
Until you're sure the two canines are getting along well, keep them separated (with access to their food and water) while you're not at home, and supervise playtime. Provide positive reinforcement for friendly interactions between them, and make sure you spend one-on-one time with each so that they feel secure in their bond with you.
Regardless of the breed, age or size of your new canine companion, they will need to receive their first checkup and routine veterinary care for their continued health and well-being. Get in touch with your trusted Perry vet team to arrange for your pet's care.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.