Are Two Dogs Better Than One?
Author: Alina Andreeva
Alina A. is a professional writer, editor, and pet-lover. She has published over 30 articles on how to care for pets properly. Alina has been writing articles for 3 years, so she has considerable experience in this niche. Her natural curiosity helps her to expand her knowledge and learn new pet care life hacks, which will make your life much easier.View all 47 articles Learn about our editorial process and veterinary review board.
Vet reviewed by:Dr. Linda Simon
by Dr. Linda Simon
Dr. Linda Simon is a veterinary surgeon working with seven years of experience. She is a fellow of the British Veterinary Association and specializing in animal medicine. Also, she has been the Woman magazine resident vet for the past two years and writes a regular column for them, focusing on pets and their health.View all 18 articles Learn about our veterinary review board
Updated on: 07/06/2020
When you are about to head to work, you can feel a pang of guilt about leaving your dog alone. He looks up at you with sad eyes, wondering where you are going and begging you to stay. Guilt takes over your body, and you wish you could stay with your sweetheart. The solution could be welcoming a second four-legged buddy.
Dogs are all-around best friends who can give so much joy to your family. They are affable, loving, funny, loyal, and charming, and many people consider them family members. So, what could be better than a dog? Well, how about two dogs?
Pet experts do not recommend keeping two puppies at the same time. This is mainly due to ‘littermate syndrome’ which can result in the two pups failing to bond with their family appropriately and sometimes developing issues such as canine aggression. ( but )they are sure that having two older dogs or an older dog and a puppy can bring a lot of advantages for you, your family members, and your furry friends. But while this is true that two doggies double the affection, this also increases the vet and food costs, the dog hair around the house, and the trouble if they can’t get along. There are some things to consider, for example, whether you have space, time, and finances to keep a second dog, but it is also crucial to keep your current pet in mind. Some dogs prefer to be lone rangers and won’t take kindly to another dog in their household. However, in many cases, having two fluffy family members in the crew can be much better than having one.
1. Keeping Each Other Entertained
Playtime is important to any dog’s health and socialization, but it can take up a lot of time. Depending on your dog’s age, size, and breed, you can spend from 30 minutes to two hours a day exercising your four-legged friend. However, we have to maintain our daily routines and go to work, which takes a good chunk of our day. In a single-pet household, dogs can become bored and resort to boredom-induced hijinks, like chewing your new pair of shoes (incessant barking or paw licking).
Adding a second furry family member to the team is the (easiest way) ‘an easy way- I wouldn’t say the easiest! to make sure your dog is getting enough physical activity. You will still need to have a tete-a-tete with each dog every day – this is vital for their development and socialization – but they can keep each other entertained while you are away from your home.
“Bringing a second doggy into the family can have a significant positive effect on your pet’s life. Another pet allows the two dogs to become a pack, to have their routines and to give each other the attention they need to stay healthy and happy”, says veterinary specialist Dr. Lisa Aumiller.
READ MORE: Dog Life Stages
2. Make Training Easier
It may be difficult to teach an old dog new tricks, but he can teach a new furbaby some tricks, including the rules of your house. Dogs are pack animals, and the older dog will take on the role of their pack leader. Puppies will copy the actions of an older dog, which makes training easier.
If you have an older dog, potty training your new pup can be much easier. Dogs usually do their business where other dogs have already relieved themselves. Your puppy will model the older dog’s behavior and go potty in the same place as his senior.
READ MORE: Indoor Activities For Dogs
3. Save Two Lives
If you still doubt whether to get another dog or not, think that you can save two lives by adopting two dogs from a shelter or rescue center. Such an experience will change your life completely. Looking into his grateful eyes, you will realize that you have found another reliable defender and a good friend.
Approximately four million dogs-in-need enter animal shelters every year in the USA, and one million of them are euthanized. You can directly influence dogs’ lives by providing them with a safe, happy home. Also, if you adopt a dog from a local animal shelter, there will be more space for other stray dogs.
READ MORE: How Much Does It Cost To Adopt a Dog?
4. Double the Love
Most people adopt a second dog because their first dog showed them what unconditional love is. When they come home and see the pet wagging his happy tail, they feel on cloud nine. People want to double down on the love and joy dogs bring into their homes.
Having two furry family members can double the work, but a boatload of benefits definitely outweighs the disadvantages. From keeping each other entertained and exercised to better mental health and saving the lives of dogs, there are so many reasons to add a second dog to the family.
Which Dogs Get Along Best?
Adopting a second dog is a good deed, as you can save another life. But don’t be in a hurry; first, you need to ensure that your “new kid” can get along well with your other pets. The good news is that many animal shelters allow people to take a dog-in-need for a while to make sure they have a match made in heaven.
“Dogs of the opposite sex tend to get along better than same-sex pairs,” says Dr. Karen Shaw Becker. Your male dog can feel that his authority is challenged and will not accept another canine. The dominant dog will be overly dominant, and another dog will live in permanent stress. Two female dogs are also far from being a perfect combo, which can lead to constant fights or even a fatal outcome.
So it is better to choose dogs of the opposite sex if you consider two furry family members for your household. For maintaining harmony, anecdotally the best match is (maybe) a larger male and a smaller female as there is less chance of inter-dog aggression. Sometimes, the pets make a connection right away, but they often need weeks (to month) to learn to get along with a stranger. Of course, if neither are neutered this will eventually result in puppies. Breeding is not something that should be done by the inexperienced owner and requires a lot of planning and foresight if it is to be done right. Ideally, both would be neutered once suitable as this also provides additional health benefits.
“There are always exceptions, but terrier-type breeds and other aggressive dogs may not be able to control their instinct to chase a scurrying creature and attack it”, claims Amy Shojai, a certified animal behavior consultant.
Avoid getting a boisterous puppy or young dog if your current pet is elderly or has underlying medical issues as they are unlikely to be able to cope with the pup and may resort to hiding away or even snapping at them in an attempt to restore the peace.
READ MORE: Bringing Your New Puppy Home
The Bottom Line
If you want to get a second four-legged friend, go ahead and adopt a new dog. Bear in mind that it is better to keep a larger male and a smaller female to avoid double the trouble.
In many cases, having two fluffy buddies in the crew can be much better than having one, as they bring double joy to your family!
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