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Are You Ready for a Second Dog? Here’s What You Need to Consider

Two heads are better than one…but two dogs? It can go either way. Sure, you’ll have double the puppy kisses (awesome!) But you’ll also have double the hair and double the vet bills (less awesome.)

The decision to bring home a second dog is one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. You’ll need to take a long, hard look at your current lifestyle to see if adding another pup to your pack is a wise choice. 

We’ve made things easy for you by rounding up the key questions you should ask yourself before hitting the adoption listings.

3 bad reasons to get a second dog

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There are good reasons to get a dog. And there are some not-so-great ones. If your desire to get a second dog stems from one of the following, you may want to rethink your decision. 

1. Your family members want another dog

Are your kids constantly pleading for another playmate? Does your spouse insist that a second dog will make your family complete? Perhaps they’re onto something (double the puppy love sounds like a swell deal.) But here’s the thing—if you’re not thrilled at the prospect of two canines tearing through your house, it could lead to some major resentment down the road. 

The decision to get a second dog is one that affects the entire household. If your sole motivation for dog adoption is to placate certain family members, we urge you to reconsider. 

2. You want to teach your current dog some manners

Teaching your dog proper etiquette is important. But getting a second dog in the hopes that his good behavior will rub off on your pup is not the best way to go about it. According to the American Kennel Club, this approach is likely to backfire, and your dog could inadvertently transfer his fear or aggression onto his new roommate. 

It’s critical, therefore, to deal with any behavioral problems with your current canine resident before welcoming another dog into your life. 

3. You’re looking for a babysitter

If you think that giving your dog a furry sibling will keep him out of your hair, think again. Yes, your dog will have a built-in playmate, but that doesn’t mean they won’t both need your love and attention. One dog, two dogs, twenty dogs—no matter the number, dog ownership requires hard work.

9 things to ask yourself if you’re thinking about adopting a second dog

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We understand it’s hard to resist the prospect of snuggling up to two happy pooches. But before you dive headfirst into round two of puppy parenthood, please ask yourself the following questions (and be honest with your answers).

1. Can I really afford this?

Dog ownership isn’t cheap. Does your budget allow for the added costs that come with owning two dogs? 

Think about all of your canine-related expenses—food, vet visits, grooming costs, doggy daycare—and multiply that number by two. You’ll also need to double up on pet gear: two dogs require two leashes, two dog beds, two feeding bowls, two crates, extra toys…(you get the picture.)

2. Do I have any major life changes coming up?

We can’t predict every twist and turn that our lives will take. But there are a few things we can usually account for: are you planning on having children in the near future? Perhaps a cross-country move is in the cards. Or maybe retirement is just within reach (congrats!) and you’re hoping to travel the continent in your refurbished Winnebago. 

Make no mistake—dog ownership can certainly coincide with these significant life changes. But it can also put a major strain on your time and finances. Can you handle the added stress?

3. Is my entire family on board?

Getting a second dog is a life-changing commitment. And if you have family members who are less-than-enthused about sharing their space with a second dog, you could be in for some serious stress headaches. 

Before hitting the adoption pages, make sure everyone in your household is on the same page. If your spouse or kids aren’t keen on the idea, it could lead to unpleasant resentment when the chores keep piling up.

4. How does my first dog feel about it?

So your family’s gung-ho about a second dog—but how does dog #1 feel about it?

Bringing home a second dog can shift your household’s dynamics, so it’s important to consider how things look from your current dog’s point of view. 

First, consider his temperament. In general, is your dog a laidback, go-with-the-flow type? Does he get along with unfamiliar dogs? If your dog has been known to exhibit fear or aggression, pairing him with a furry sidekick isn’t in anyone’s best interest. 

If your current dog is struggling with behavioral problems, keep in mind that those issues won’t just go away. In fact, they’ll become more of a nuisance once you add another dog to the mix. To avoid becoming impossibly overwhelmed, address any training issues with your first dog before introducing a second pup to the family. 

Don’t forget to consider your dog’s age. An older dog probably won’t be enthused about adjusting to a high-octane puppy dashing around the house. Similarly, if your dog has any medical conditions, it might be a good idea to hold off on a second dog—the extra stress could exacerbate any pre-existing health conditions. 

5. Is your place big enough?

Space is a valuable commodity—do you have enough of it to comfortably accommodate another dog? 

This applies not only to your home, but also to your car, your bed, and your yard. Do you have enough room in your vehicle to bring both dogs to the vet? Is your bed roomy enough to welcome another dog? Can your lawn hold up to two energetic pets?

6. Do you have the time and energy that two dogs require?

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Dogs are expert energy-zappers. if you’re already overwhelmed with one pooch, imagine the toll that two dogs will take. 

Do you really have what it takes to raise two feisty canines? 

Some people mistakenly think that adopting a second dog will take care of their pets’ exercise needs—but it doesn’t work like that. Sure, your two dogs will play together, burning off energy in the process. But that doesn’t mean you’ll be exempt from dog-duty. Both pups will still need attention and care.

Before your second dog is trained, you may even have to walk them separately. Does your schedule allow for this? Is it worth the extra effort? If your energy is in short supply these days, the answer is likely a resounding “no.”

7. Are you willing to go through puppy training again?

Puppy training isn’t for the faint of heart. It requires dedication, hard work, and consistency. Going through that process once is difficult enough. Are you ok with repeating it?

If your answer to this question is a hard no, perhaps an adult or senior dog is a better match for you. Many shelters are filled with well-trained dogs who are looking for their forever homes.

8. Are you cool with extra fur/mud/accidents?

There’s no way around it—dogs are messy creatures. If the thought of doubling up on poop-scooping duties has you breaking into a cold sweat, hold off on dog #2. 

9. Are you in it for the long haul?

Sure, you’re excited about bringing home another dog now—but could things change down the line? 

The decision to adopt should not be made on a whim. Pet ownership is a huge responsibility that can’t be shirked once the initial excitement wears off. Think about where your life could take you over the next decade or so—how does a second dog look in your future? Are you willing to provide the best for him, no matter where life takes you?

Despite the challenges they might pose, we can’t deny that our dogs bring endless joy to our lives. When you’re ready to take the plunge with dog #2, we’re here to help. Check out Grumble Dog’s directory of pup-loving professionals for the very best in local pet care.