Would our dog be happier if we got another dog?

We have a Poodle/Chihuahua mix, spayed female. We are wondering if a canine companion would be a good thing for her, or would she rather...

Dr. Eric Barchas  |  Apr 7th 2006


We have a Poodle/Chihuahua mix, spayed female. We are wondering if a canine companion would be a good thing for her, or would she rather be an “only child ” ? We’ve been debating the issue for six to eight months now. We figure that if we are to get another dog, we should do it now while she is still young enough to accept it. In general, are dogs happier if they have
another canine companion? If so, would a male be a better choice than
having two females ?

Thanks for your advice!

Bethany
Oakville, ON, Canada

Yours is a frequently asked question in my practice among both dog and cat owners. Some people have one pet, and they wonder if she gets bored while they are at work. Others have recently lost a pet, and are worried that their remaining cat or dog is lonely or misses her friend.

While there is no doubt that both cats and dogs form relationships with other pets in the house, I do not recommend getting another animal to keep your pet company. Pets are your responsibility, and more than anything, they give love to you. The only valid reason to get another pet is because you want one, not because you think your pet wants one.

Pets are perfectly capable of being happy as “only children.” However, most dogs will accept another dog in the house readily and happily. Cats generally are more solitary, and adding a second cat to your home can be stressful for all involved. That said, most cats ultimately develop positive, sibling-like relationships with their “brother” or “sister.” Additionally, many of my clients have a dog and a cat who are firm and fast friends.

If you want to get another dog, then by all means do so. I am confident that your current dog will welcome him or her (the new dog’s gender does not matter much) into the house gladly. However, the pet should be for you, not for your dog.

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