10 questions to ask before you get a second dog
It’s tempting to rush into getting a second dog. You’ve got one lovable pup , so why not add another four-legged friend to the pack? What could go wrong?
While a canine companion can do wonders for doggy wellbeing, you need to ask yourself some tough questions before making a commitment. After all, you don’t want to face the heartache of rehoming a pup, if things don’t work out.
Whether you have one dog or more, securing reliable cover is also a necessity. You want to protect your dogs in the event of illness or injury – and protect your bank balance from costly vet bills.
Go Get It understands what a minefield dog insurance can be. We compare pet insurance for you, finding the best packages for your pooch and your budget.
We’re dog lovers, too. We want to help lovable pups find their forever homes, so take a look at our top ten questions to ask yourself before you get a second dog…
1. Why am I getting a second dog?
Think carefully about the reasons behind your desire for a new pooch.
Many people see the purchase of a second pooch as a means of improving the behaviour of their current furry friend. However, this is rarely the case: as Spruce Pets states, if you already own one poorly behaved pup, you’ll need to train each dog individually, then train the two of them together. That’s a lot of training!
If you’re getting a second dog due to pressure from the kids, or simply for more doggy company, ensure you really do have the time and resources to commit to another creature – a dog is for life.
2. Does my current dog need more training?
Even if your dog is relatively well behaved, it’s wise to weigh up any problem behaviours.
Pooches are pack animals, so a younger furball will likely mirror an older canine’s bad behaviour – double trouble. Most importantly, you need to make sure you have your current dog under control, as two out-of-control dogs can lead to dangerous situations.
Likewise, while it may be highly beneficial to get your dog a four-legged pal, if your current pup suffers from separation anxiety, they may transfer this onto the newer canine. Worse still, if they’re in the habit of excessive barking, you could face a duo doggy din.
Help your pooch form healthy behavioural patterns before welcoming a new pup into the clan. If you’re unsure how to tackle negative habits, enlist the help of a dog trainer/behaviourist.
3. Do I have enough spare time?
Of course, factors such as age, breed and background determine how much training a pooch will need. Puppies and rescue dogs are likely to require a lot more one-on-one time with you, at least in the initial stages of their arrival.
If you work, will you be able to take time off? If you don’t work, do you have enough spare time available? Remember: a second pup means a second set of paw prints, more toileting accidents and extra grooming.
One dog makes life busy enough, so really think about whether you have time for a second.
4. Can I afford a second dog?
Have you factored in the cost of maintaining another dog? Canines can be costly pets, and a second pooch means double the food, accessories and vet bills – Go Get It will compare pet insurance to find you first-rate policies tailored to both pups, saving you the trouble.
Mutts can share many items, from beds to toys – if they get along well – so you won’t have to purchase two of everything. But it’s easy to forget hidden costs, for example: if you need to kennel your dogs, you’ll be paying fees for two pooches rather than one.
5. Will my current dog respond well?
You might love the idea of a second dog, but will your resident furball? It’s vital to assess how the addition of a new canine will affect your pup’s quality of life – for better or worse.
If your dog isn’t a fan of other four-legged creatures, or prefers alone time, it’s probably best to remain a single-pooch household. Likewise, certain breeds are better suited to being the sole in-house canine, while others have a size preference for doggy companions.
Assess your pup’s mental and physical health. Older, frail dogs may not respond well to a boisterous puppy – in fact, it could cause them significant distress. Rescue pups often find it harder to adapt to change and might act out.
You know your dog best: you’re the best judge. You can also provide your pup with an additional layer of protection: Go Get It will compare pet insurance on your behalf, helping you secure affordable yet reliable cover.
6. Is my accommodation suitable?
Do you live in a detached home? If not, are the walls thin? Two dogs might be significantly noisier than one. The last thing you want is angry neighbours pounding on your door, so do your homework before committing to a specific breed , as some are more bark-prone than others.
You also need to consider space. All doggies deserve the best possible quality of life – a cramped apartment is not an ideal living environment for two canines. Critically appraise your home and consider the day-to-day reality of two dogs eating, sleeping and playing in it.
7. How will my non-canine pets react?
We all know how it goes: cats and dogs don’t get along. However, that’s not entirely true. You may have a kitty who loves nothing more than a snuggle with their canine housemate. Alternatively, they may not be a huge dog-lover, yet peacefully coexist with your resident pooch.
In feline households, a puppy might be a better choice than an older dog. Habits such as chasing will be less engrained, so pussycat and pup are more likely to acclimatise to one another with relative ease.
8. Can I offer a stable environment?
Does your job involve you hitting the road regularly? Are you a travel-addict? It’s not so difficult to ferry one dog around with you, but having two in tow is another matter.
Aside from the added cost, different pups have varying likes and dislikes – some are happy to travel by plane or train, while others find the experience stressful, preferring to stay at home.
If you know you’ll be away for extended periods, ask yourself what kind of life you can realistically provide for a second pooch.
Likewise, if you have children or are between jobs, do you have the extra resources to dedicate to another animal? You may have a busy, unpredictable schedule: pooches are happiest following a set routine, especially when settling into a new home.
9. Have I observed the two dogs together?
Before you commit to a second dog, stage a trial meeting, introducing the two canines to one another. You can never fully predict how well two pooches will get along, so this enables you to get a better idea of whether or not it’s a good doggy match.
Observing how they play and interact around treats can provide useful insights; additionally, you can test how tolerant your resident pup is of another hound receiving your attention.
It’s also essential to get your pooch top-notch cover – you never know when an accidental injury might occur. Go Get It quickly compares pet insurance, saving you time and money.
10. Have I picked a compatible breed?
Some breeds are less likely to bond with other canines. Staffordshire Bull Terriers, for example, are known to prefer cuddles and games with their humans than with other canines.
You may have your heart set on a second dog, but if your current pup isn’t cut out for a canine housemate, you have to accept that. Likewise, you may have fallen in love with a specific puppy, but the breed might not be tolerant of your resident pooch – a more serious issue once they’re fully-grown.
How to choose a second dog
So, you’ve decided the time is right to get a second pup. But how do you find the best fit? While Go Get It can compare pet insurance for you, you’ll still need to carefully evaluate potential partners for your pooch.
For a doggy match made in heaven, take into account the following factors:
According to Spruce Pets, many experts suggest pairing hounds of the opposite sex together.
While conflict might be more likely to arise between pooches of the same gender, if the pups in question are neutered or spayed, adequately trained and well socialised, a same-sex pairing could work perfectly well.
You might want to consider getting a pooch of a similar age to your current canine. Older dogs might find the excitable nature of a younger puppy irritating, leading to conflict in the home.
Likewise, a younger pup jumping around or trying to initiate play could cause arthritic hounds physical pain, during what should be their golden years.
It’s best to get a pooch of a similar size to your current pup. Whilst there’s no reason smaller and larger breeds can’t get along, a bigger difference in size increases the chances of the little pooch becoming injured during play – you’d have to watch interactions closely.
If you purchase a large breed such as a Great Dane, you’d also need to dedicate more time to training and socialisation, as, once they hit adulthood, dogs of this size are incredibly strong, so need to be kept under control.
Just like us, dogs have personality preferences. Your pooch may prefer more laidback companions who are happy to spend the day quietly snoozing. A calmer canine might have a positive impact on your hyperactive hound, counterbalancing their excitable energy.
On the other hand, some pups love nothing more than a lively playmate, perfect for fun and games. Anxious, nervous canines might find the presence of a more outgoing doggy relaxing – as long as they’re not too boisterous.
Of course, many dogs are drawn to like-minded pals, but this might not make for a healthy blend. Two hyperactive mutts might encourage one another to act out, whilst two fearful pooches could amp up one another’s phobias.
Last but definitely not least, consider what needs your new pooch will have. If your current dog is a sedentary breed such as a pug, you’ll be used to long, lazy days snuggling on the couch together. Getting a second, more active dog means more exercise, so ask yourself if you’re prepared to get off the sofa more frequently.
You might have a pup with a short coat, so will be used to performing minimal grooming duties. If you decide to purchase a breed in need of daily brushings and regular baths, consider whether you have the time (and energy) to dedicate to such a routine.
Before you commit…
It’s best to introduce the dogs on neutral turf – this lessens the chance of territorial behaviour occurring. Try to have them meet with some kind of barrier between them, off the lead. If the pair seem curious about one another, this is likely a good sign.
If there appears to be hostility on one or both sides, this pairing probably isn’t meant to be; your search continues.
Protecting your dog with the right insurance
No matter what, every dog needs dependable cover. Our adorable pups provide us with unconditional love and countless hours of fun – the least we can do is protect them from future risks.
Sadly, at some point in their lives, our canines are likely to face illness or injury. Alongside the heartache of seeing a four-legged friend suffer, veterinary bills can quickly stack up, piling on unnecessary stress during an emotional time.
Go Get It is the UK’s only dedicated pet insurance comparison website and understands that caring owners lead busy lives.
We compare pet insurance so you don’t have to, finding affordable , specialist cover for your pooch – whether you have one or more.
Don’t wait, get a quote today.