Of course I’m going to tell you yes! In the last month several people have asked me about having two dogs. Most are people from the dog park that I’ve never met before. Once they learn that we’ve only Dixie for five months and they see how awesomely she gets along with Caesar they tell me that they are considering getting a second dog, too. So are two dogs better than one?
Everyone has a different opinion on the multiple dog debate. I’ve heard that you shouldn’t get a male and a female dog, two female dogs, or two male dogs. I’ve also heard that older female dogs don’t tolerate puppies. I’ve heard that your dogs shouldn’t be more than a year apart in age. Obviously there are people that are successful with all of these dog combinations. And ones that aren’t.
What are the good, bad, and ugly points of one dog versus two? Let’s talk about the negatives first.
Mo dogs mo money. Pets can be expensive. Food alone can take a bite out of your paycheck. Then there are vet bills. Even if your dog is perfectly healthy an annual wellness checkup, vaccines, and heartworm + flea & tick medicine will set you back several hundred dollars per dog. The bigger the dog the more you pay for some meds where dosage is decided by weight The cost of boarding two dogs can get out of hand, too.
Mess. I can’t believe how much more dog hair there is since we added a second dog. We have to wipe the dogs’ feet before they come in because our yards gets to be a total mud pit. As much as we try to get all the dirt off of them, they always seem to drag some in. And leaves. How do they manage to bring so many leaves in the house?
More work. Having another dog means you have to do more work to assure that both dogs are happy and healthy. We have to work with Dixie to make sure she knows basic commands. Of course when Caesar sees that she is being rewarded with treats, we have to work with him, too. Also, it’s good to make sure he retains his knowledge of the commands we taught him. He’s a Canine Good Citizen so we’ve done advanced work with him.
Being naughty. Dixie has sparked Caesar’s naughty side. We’ve accidentally left a cheeseburger fries on the counter only to come home and find it untouched by Caesar.
Just this week I had some cereal on the coffee table. I was wiping the dogs’ feet as they came in the house. And while I was cleaning Dixie’s feet Caesar ran over and started eating the cereal. This has happened more than once in the five months since we’ve had Dixie. I’m sure he’s doing it solely to keep her from getting it. It creates more work because we can’t just assume he’s going to be the perfect dog anymore. We have to be on our guard that both dogs will get into something.
More worry. Two dogs means double the worry. Did I bring them inside before I left the house? Did I put Dixie in her crate?
They might not always be at the same level. When we got Wrigley we anticipated that he and Rebel would be able to play and wear each other out. They were eight months apart but Rebel had more health issues. After the first couple years he couldn’t keep up with Wrigley. Just because you have two dogs who are close in age doesn’t mean that they will be equally matched when it comes to playing together.
More poop. Two dogs means more poop to pick up. Dixie may be 50 pounds but she poops like she’s 250. I can’t believe how much she poops. Way more than Caesar.
And on the positive side…
More love. Dogs are always (ok mostly) very happy. They are there to greet you when you come home. Or come out of the bathroom. Basically anytime you are out of their sight then come back into their vision field. They are just happy to see you. It always warms my heart.
More snuggles. Nothing makes me happier than when the dogs want to snuggle on the couch. The times when I can get them both on the couch with me are the best.
Dogs live life to the fullest and that can be contagious. They get so excited for everything. Car ride? Yes please. Trip to the dog park? Obviously. Treats at the Walgreen’s drive thru? Heck yeah! Everything is an adventure for them. Watching how excited they get makes my heart happy.
Companionship. Two dogs can keep each other company. I always felt bad leaving the house when it was just Caesar. Now that we have Dixie I don’t worry that he’s lonely when we’re gone. Of course, I still want to hurry home to them.
Two dogs means that two less dogs are in shelters!
The older dog can train the younger dog. Rebel helped trained Wrigley and Caesar. And now Caesar is helping train Dixie. She looks up to him. She takes her cues from him. When we first brought her to the dog park she would run all over the place. Many times I thought we’d lost her.
Now she stays close by. She’ll run off a little bit but Caesar has taught her to stay within close range.
Wear each other out. Caesar is 11 and Dixie is four. Most days they chase and scrap with one another all day. Caesar is almost triple her age and double her size. But they’re evenly matched when they play. And they always tire each other out. Or at least for 30 minutes.
An excuse to stay home. Why should parents be the only ones to opt out of events because of their kids?! I love to stay home and hang out with my dogs. I don’t have a problem using them as an excuse to get out of going somewhere.
Man-to-man coverage. Two dogs means Carter and I each have one to snuggle with. No fighting over one dog.
I have loved every stage of our dogs’ lives whether we were a one dog house or a two dog hours. There is no magic formula for whether you should get one, two, or more dogs. It has to work for your family and lifestyle. The extra work of a second dog is offset by the joy of another dog.
If you decide to get a dog, please consider getting a rescue dog. With the recent hurricanes and wildfires many dogs have been displaced and are in need of a forever home. Rescue dogs are amazing. I honestly believe they know how lucky they are to be rescued. But you’re the lucky one because you get to share your life with them.