7 things to consider before getting a second dog

June 17, 2021

Before impulsively buying a second pooch, here are some things to consider.

Are you thinking about expanding your family and getting another pooch? Bringing home a new dog is always exciting but it is also a big change that some people do not realize they cannot handle. Sometimes a new dog can be too overwhelming, resulting in owners returning them to their breeder or turning them over to shelters. In order to reduce the volume of dogs in the humane society and shelters, please consider these 7 things before getting a second dog.

  1. Cost

Dogs don’t cost as much as having children but their annual maintenance costs do add up quickly. According to a survey conducted by Statista, the annual cost of caring for a dog in Canada in 2020 was 3,500 Canadian dollars. The highest cost was food, followed by insurance, dental care, parasite prevention, annual exams/vaccines, toys, accessories and annual licensing fees. These prices may vary from dog to dog but generally you are looking at adding a few thousand dollars to your annual spending if you are considering another dog. Click here to see an annual cost breakdown of owning a dog.

Healthy dogs are costly enough on their own but new owners must also consider that not all dogs live their lives in peak health. Especially with the health problems associated with selective breeding being so prominent in the modern dog population. Chronic health conditions like allergies, heart problems, hip/joint dysplasia, etc, can really drive up the cost of owning a dog and are often unforeseen for owners before they purchase their new dog. The expense of veterinary bills for a dog with chronic health problems can increase annual spending by $1000-10,000 per year depending on the care required.

Veterinary doctor examing heart of dog boston terrier with stethoscope Veterinary doctor examing heart of dog boston terrier with stethoscope portrait dog vet stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

  1. Reaction from your first dog/s

Some dogs are fully accustomed to and more comfortable being the solo family dog. They may be more attached to their human family and may be less receptive to having another dog in the house. In order to reduce territorial aggression, first make sure that your dog is comfortable with other dogs in the house and interacts with them in a positive way.

Furthermore, do not get another dog if your current one has problems with anxiety. Many owners often think that getting a friend for their anxious dog will help eliminate some of their stress. However, a study by the American Kennel Club actually found that dogs can pass their anxieties on to another dog. This would result in you having two anxious dogs instead of one.

Two Dogs Golden Retriever and puppy sniffing each other, focus on the noses 2 dogs stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

  1. Time

Dogs are more time consuming than people often think and getting another dog only adds to that. Before getting another dog, consider the time it takes to train a new dog in addition to exercise, bonding and acclimating them to their new home.

Scolding her Weimar puppy for peeing on the floor Weimaraner puppy being punished for peeing at home by his owner, they are both quaraneted during covid-19 outbreak dog training stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

  1. Commitment

The average lifespan of a dog is 8-14 years. Will you still be committed to the dog in that length of time? During that time a lot of elements can change in an owner's life, such as new children coming into the picture, older children leaving home, changes in relationships, new jobs, relocation, etc. Sometimes during these big life changes, dogs become a secondary thought and end up not getting the attention they need.

Women With Dogs Three dogs are outdoors in a field with their female owners. The dog are sitting and the women are kneeling to touch the dogs. They all look happy. dog training stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

  1. Space

Dogs can live and thrive in a variety of households. However, even though some breeds are happy and well equipped to live in an apartment, a second dog can take up a lot more space. Ensure that your home has enough indoor and outdoor space to accommodate another dog before getting a second one. Also consider the extra storage you will need for the extra dog accessories. 

Old Beagle sitting on sofa Calm fat Beagle dog sitting among pillows on old-fashioned comfortable sofa and looking at camera, coffee table and bookshelf in home room dog apartment stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

  1. Mess

More dogs equals more mess. All dogs shed (yes, even the hypoallergenic ones). This may mean more vacuuming and messes to clean up after. Something to consider if you are a bit of a neat freak.


  1. Travel

This is a big one. Everyone travels every once in a while. If you usually bring your dogs with you when you travel, consider how much space you have in your vehicle. This is especially important if you crate your dogs in the car. 

If you do not bring your dogs on your travels, consider the extra difficulty in finding a dog sitter or boarding kennel who will accept extra dogs. Furthermore, the pet sitting costs will almost always be higher with extra dogs.

puppy teddy riding in car with head out window puppy teddy riding in car with head out window.Its mouth is open and tongue is hanging out. dogs travel stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images


Statista. “Annual cost of caring for a dog in Canada in 2020, by expense type (in Canadian dollars)*” https://www.statista.com/statistics/448188/annual-cost-of-caring-for-a-dog-by-type-canada/ 

Rover. “Should You Get a Second Dog? 9 Things to Consider” https://www.rover.com/blog/should-you-get-a-second-dog/ 

AKC. “When should you get a second dog?” https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/lifestyle/when-should-you-get-a-second-dog/ 

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