With the holidays just around the corner, many people will consider adding a new pet
to their home. According to recent statistics, more and more Americans are
adopting not only their first companion animal, but their second and even third.
The pervasiveness of multiple pet households indicates just how important pets
have become in our lives, and that we want our existing pets to have companions
of their own.
Having multiple pets increases everything: the joy, the cost, the hair, and the
cuddles. As a veterinarian, I am often asked for advice on how best to integrate
a new pet into a home that already has resident animals. In this post, I’ll be
focusing on dog-only and cat-only households.
In a Dog-Meet-Dog World
When seeking to add an additional dog to your family, be sure to choose a breed,
gender and personality that compliment your current canine. For example, it’s
unwise to match a tea cup poodle puppy with a large or giant breed dog,
especially an active one. Even if no harm is intended, the puppy could easily be
injured. Similarly, be conscientious if you already have an older dog with
arthritis, as a puppy could prove overwhelming. In general, opposite genders get
along better, as do spayed and neutered pets (procedures I heartily endorse). In
general, we would recommend the adoption of a dog younger than the resident dog;
if the ages are reversed, tension could result, leading to recurring fights over
who claims dominance. Of course, as I mentioned earlier, personality is an
important factor. You know your resident dog’s disposition and it’s essential to
take that into consideration when bringing a new dog into your home. More...