Is Your Family Ready for Another Dog? Consider These 3 Things First

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Dogs make wonderful, loyal, and loving companions—so much so that it can be tempting to surround ourselves with a pack of them. Like potato chips, it’s difficult to stop at just one. But is your household up to the challenge of welcoming a new furry family member?

Are Your Kids Ready?

Getting a dog should be a family decision, and that goes for the smallest members of the household as well. Two dogs translate into twice as much work, which means everyone in the house will be affected, whether they realize it or not. Are your kids old enough to shoulder some extra responsibility? If not, will they be able to adjust to the reality of the adults having less time on their hands?

If there was already a dog in the household when your children arrived, they’ve never known anything different. However, if you added the dog to the family once the children were old enough to notice, ask yourself how that transition went. Your answer should provide you with some useful insight into whether they’re ready to repeat the process.

Is Your Other Dog Ready?

With more than 36 percent of U.S. households having at least one dog, it’s understandable that you would want to give your dog a sibling. Since dogs are pack animals, they’re happiest when they have company—and what better company could there be than another dog?

Unfortunately, the answer isn’t as simple as it appears. Not all dogs are cut out to be members of multi-pet households. Some can become overly protective of their owners, even attempting to attack animals or humans whom they perceive to be threats. If you’re thinking of adopting another dog, consider hosting him or her for a trial period first. This will allow you to see how your pet might react to the transition and give the whole family time to adjust.

Is the House Ready?

Adding one dog to the household might not necessitate a rearrangement of your physical space, but a second one might. Think about whether you’ll have room for another dog bed or whether the food-and-water station can accommodate a second user. If you allow the dogs on the furniture, is your couch big enough for both dogs and whichever human family members might also want to sit down?

Yard space is another concern, particularly if you live in a well-populated area. If you haven’t already installed fencing, you should consider doing so before adding another canine companion to the fold. The dogs—and, by extension, you—will be happier if they have a place where they can run around without constant supervision.

If you decide that your family just isn’t up to the challenge yet, that’s alright. Your decision isn’t carved in stone—you can revisit the idea in a year or two, or even sooner, depending on the situation. In the meantime, you can shower all that additional love and attention on the dog that you already have at home.

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