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Spreading The Love: When One Pet Doesn’t Seem Like Enough

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Pet adoption is a great way to enrich your life, and to save a pet’s life. Pet parents already enjoy that special love that bonds you and your pets — so much so that you may be considering adopting another pet into your family.

But there are things to think about before making the commitment to an additional pet. Of course, your choice to adopt will hopefully bring many years of happiness, both for you and your pet. In order to make that happen, there are some things to consider.

checklist To adopt another, or not to adopt another

The more the merrier, as the old saying goes. That could hold true for a household of pets, but it all depends on your pet.

Dogs and cats are naturally social animals, and they typically enjoy the company of others (especially you, the pet parent). Having a playmate can give your pet more exercise and stimulation, as well as a way to interact in a way he can’t with you. Kittens especially do best in pairs.

But sometimes a pet isn’t willing to share his territory, or even you. Your current pet might get along with others, just not everyone. The good news is you may know more than you think. Your pet’s past relationships can offer hints as to how he will react to a new companion.  

Ask these questions:

  • Has your pet ever shared you and your turf with another pet? 
  • Do you take your dog to the dog park? If so, how does he interact with others? Is he the leader or a follower?
  • How does he react to competition?
  • Has a member of your pet family passed away, and you want to fill the void? What was her personality like? What made the relationship between your pets work?

These are general “rules of paw” to ask yourself in the preliminary stages of your search. But nothing is absolute because every pet and situation is different.

Never underestimate the power of a professional

One of the best things you can do is consult a professional about relationship advice. Your local animal welfare organizations will often have the expertise on-hand to give you advice on adding to your fur-family. Their knowledge of their adoptable pets could also help figure out the best match for your pet.

Do you already have a particular pet in mind? Your local animal welfare organization could have the resources you need to help get the pets acquainted.

Expect the pet bill to double

As a pet parent, you already have a good idea of how much it costs to take care of your 4-legged friend. But could you afford it if those costs were to double? Here are the biggest costs to keep in mind:

  • Food
  • Vet care
  • Emergency care
  • Travel
  • Toys
  • Housing costs (if your rental  property requires a pet deposit)

two dogsIf you’re looking to adopt another dog, you’ll want to consider the size of the dog when calculating the new cost of food. A dachshund will eat far less than a Great Dane. Cats will typically eat the same amount.

You should also keep in mind your new pet might not eat the same type of food as your current pet. The newcomer might require senior formula, or she might have an allergy that requires a special type of food.

So you’ve decided to adopt another. Now what?

Once again, each pet is unique and will behave differently in a new meeting situation. There are, however, some very basic tips to getting your current and new pet acquainted.

  • Plan out the first meeting. If you have dogs, arrange the first meeting at a neutral place, such as a park. Try to get a friend to help you. For cats, take the newcomer into your home (cats in a carrier, dogs on a leash), and allow some sniffs.
  • Understand one pet will establish dominance. You can expect growling, hissing and maybe even a scuffle while the pets figure out who outranks whom. Most pet altercations sound much worse than they are. If it becomes serious, safely separate the pets into different rooms. Remember, you must always be the top-ranking in your family.
  • Play it cool. Pets are sensitive to the moods of their owners. If you’re nervous, your pet will likely be nervous too.

Safety is the bottom line

Safety for your current pet, and you, should be your top priority when deciding whether or not to adopt another. Choosing not to adopt another pet may be a responsible move if she won’t fit with your current family.

We all love pets, and many of us want to do all we can to help those without homes. But it won’t make a difference if it’s not a safe, comfortable home for everyone.

Comments(2)

Linda

These comments are wonderful words of wisdom. However, I am having a very hard time reading the words with the background. I suggest making the type darker. The text is the hardest to read. Thank you.

kgaliotos

Hi Linda, I'm sorry to hear you find the text hard to read. I'll pass this suggestion along to our team. 

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