What kind of pet should I get to keep my dog company? It’s a question we see a lot among our fellow dog lovers. When you have an only dog-child, it isn’t unusual to wonder if your dog would be happier with a furry friend. For years, my husband told me our dog needed a playmate, and I kept telling him he was nuts! Once we had kids, though, and I started working in an office rather than at home, I started to entertain the thought. Are you like me, working long hours, and then spending weekends running errands? You probably feel some dog-parent guilt, too!
Now, some dogs are perfectly happy spending time by themselves, while others would do better with a companion. How do you know if your dog would like a friend, and then if you think she would, how do you go about choosing the right friend? Here are some tips to help you through the process.
Signs your dog needs a friend:
- Your dog is overly energetic when you get home. Getting a playmate for your dog will give him energy releases throughout the day and will help him be a little less needy once you’re home.
- She seems bored. As dogs age, their energy level naturally decreases. If you notice a significant change, however, if could mean that your dog is actually bored. Adding a furry friend will help liven things up!
- Genuine interest in other dogs or animals. When you’re around other animals is your dog interested or territorial? If she’s interested, chances are good she’ll do well with a friend at home.
- He isn’t used to being solo. Have you recently adopted your dog or lost another pet? Dogs who are just recently “single” may get lonely, and a friend could be the best medicine.
What Kind of Pet Should I Get to Keep My Dog Company?
- If you’re considering a cat for your second pet, visit a friend who has a cat first. Your dog will have a natural curiosity, but you want to make sure that he doesn’t show extraordinary aggression toward the cat. If not, a cat may prove to be a fantastic friend for your dog!
- Go to an adoption event at a local pet store and take your dog with you. See who she warms up to and shows interest in. Involving her in the selection process will help the transition be easier.
- Visit a dog park and observe with whom he chooses to play. Is there a pattern to the breeds/sizes he seeks out and others he avoids?
- Another dog of the same breed is usually a good option, but if you’re looking at a different breed, try to match energy level and temperament. If you have a very laid-back dog, adding a hyper dog to the mix will likely cause more harm than help.
- Start young. If you have a dog who has been with you for a few years or longer, a puppy or kitten may be better than an older dog or cat. The puppy or kitten won’t come into the situation with learned habits that will create conflict. Gracie, my older dog, immediately became the alpha dog in our house when we introduced Lucy, and Lucy had no problem with that.
No matter how thoughtful you are in the process of choosing a furry friend for your dog, he is bound to feel some resentment toward the new animal. Make a concerted effort to give your first dog lots of love and praise, and find ways you can spend time with each dog individually. In most cases, adding a friend will end up being a positive experience, and the whole family will benefit.