Is Your Family Ready for a Second Dog?

Chocolate lab and chocolate lab puppy laying on the grass

Guest blog by Mary Dell Harrington, 

As new parents, even during the first months of our sleep-deprived state, we knew we wanted another baby and dreamed about our tiny son having a little brother or sister. Years later, when our family included a son, a daughter and a seven-year-old chocolate Labrador named Choco, we welcomed a new Lab puppy. Our family now numbered six!

Most of the time, Choco seemed delighted with his new playmate, Argus. When they romped around the backyard together, our older dog resembled his younger self.  Meanwhile, the puppy spent many happy afternoons alternating between chewing on and napping next to his big buddy.

Are you considering bringing home a second dog?  Here are a few things to think about first:

1. Is your family ready? Are your children at an age where they can interact with a dog?  Will they be able to help with feeding, walks for one or both dogs and simple lessons of sit-stay-down for the dog? Are you committed to housebreaking and/or training a new canine friend?

2. Is your resident dog ready?  If your dog has mastered basic obedience training, it may be easier to introduce a second dog to your family.  If you choose to bring home a puppy, he or she may benefit from learning from your older, resident dog.

3. Are you prepared for the additional cost? Covering the cost for twice the food, vet bills, medicine, insurance (if you choose to insure your dogs), toys and other pet care supplies adds up quickly.

4. Have you considered factors like age, size and temperament of your resident dog? When you are out walking your dog or, if you take him to a dog park, how does he react to other dogs?Does he tend to dominate or is he easy-going? Is he playful and good natured with all other dogs, or does he seems to do better with those who are similar in size?

5. Have you planned for the introduction? When we brought Argus home, we brought Choco out to meet him in a neutral place and had one adult supervise each dog. We made sure to praise both dogs during the introductions, and provided separate food dishes and water bowls for Choco and Argus. As the dogs became used to each other, we enjoyed doing fun things together such as playtime in the backyard and taking walks around the neighborhood.

Adding a new pet is super exciting, if you have decided you and your family are ready to take on another pet we encourage your family consider adopting a local pet in need, PetSaver holds many adoption events with helpful volunteers ready to answer any questions you may have, please check one out this weekend!

We loved watching our children and dogs grow up together and, after Choco passed away, we eventually got a second dog to spend time with Argus. I cannot imagine our household without canine companionship. But the decision to bring home a second pet is a serious one, and should not be done on a whim. Carefully consider your second-dog readiness, plan for the inevitable adjustment period, and look forward to many happy days to come—both for your dogs and for the rest of your household.

For more tips for bringing home a new pet, please visit the ASPCA’s Pet Care section.

Also if your looking to adopt? please check out these great Rochester pet adoption groups

Two chocolate labs napping on the floor