It can be easy to think you need a second dog – you see other people with multiple dogs, you see all those adorable rescues that need homes – but that doesn’t mean you are ready for a second dog. There are many things you should think about before you bring home another canine family member.
#1 – Do you have the time?
A second dog means more time bathing, grooming, walking, playing, training, etc. If your current dog barely gets enough, a second dog will just mean less time for both of them.
#2 – Why do you want a second dog?
This is a good question to ask yourself. For example, If you think getting a second dog means you won’t have to play with your current dog, it might not be the best choice.
#3 – It will cost you double
For most things, you are going to be doubling your bills: two vet bills, two grooming bills, two training bills, two boarding bills, two collars and leashes, etc.. Others may just increase such as food and toys. Look at your budget and see if you have the extra to care for two dogs properly.
#4 – Does your current dog want a buddy?
Not all dogs want company. And don’t assume that because your dog gets along with dogs off-leash at the dog part, he wants another dog coming into his home, drinking out of his bowl and taking your attention. Ask your dog trainer if they think your dog would enjoy a friend. A trainer can help you determine this in a safe manner.
#5 – Is your current dog healthy?
If he is getting on in years he may already have, or soon have, health issues that will make him not want to play. Bringing home a younger dog that pesters them constantly can be unkind and cause a headache for you, who has to constantly keep the younger dog away from the ailing older one.
#6 – Does the rest of the family want a second dog?
Just like you did with the first dog, make sure your family is on board with getting a second dog. He will be the responsibility of everyone, so everyone should have a say.
#7 – Stability
If you are looking at moving, starting a human family, or in the middle of divorce, now is not the time to add another dog to the chaos. Waiting until your life settles down will be better on you and the dogs.
#8 – Fostering is a good way to start
If you have answered all the above and feel ready for a second dog, you may want to consider fostering first. Your family can see what it’s like to have a second dog around without committing and you are helping a dog in need at the same time. In fact, you may decide you just want to be a foster family or it may become a “foster failure” (meaning, you end up keeping the dog you foster)!
#9 – Do you have the space?
Dogs take up room. Not just them, but also their stuff. If you live in a 500 square foot apartment and already have one Great Dane, you may find yourself a bit pressed for space if you bring another one into your house.
#10 – Is it allowed where you live?
To avoid heartbreak, make sure where you live allows you to have two dogs. Also think about any plans to move in the foreseeable future. If you move a lot, it can be harder with two dogs.
#11 – What about your back up plan?
It might not be hard to find a friend or relative that will take one dog should something happen to you, but what about two? Do you have a plan in place that will allow for two dogs, otherwise both your dogs many end up at the shelter.