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Should you get another dog? Senior Edition

getting a new puppy

It's a pretty common question among parents of senior dogs. Should you get another dog? 

Dogs are social animals and most would be positively impacted by having a companion of the same species. However, every case should be looked at individually. There is more to consider with seniors. Use the following questions to help you weigh the pros and cons.

Why are you considering a new dog?

I suspect some of you reading this may have been a two dog family and are wondering if your dog misses companionship. 

Maybe your dog has been slowing down and you are looking to bring in a younger dog that will add a little pep back in their step.

It could be that you want a new dog to learn from your wise old dog. They certainly can make training a puppy easier in some situations.

Knowing your why will help you decide if it is the right time and if it is, it can help you determine what type and age dog would be best.

How physically stable is your dog?

If your dog is having balance or strength issues bringing a young puppy into the house can be dangerous. It may be too stressful for both you and your dog to bring any other dog into the mix. In some cases, choosing a "middle age" dog that has a mellow personality could be rewarding for all of you. It will really depend on how unstable your dog is. You don't want to have to keep your dogs separate or worse, have your older dog injured from a playful younger dog.

Does your dog enjoy other dogs?

If your dog isn't thrilled about other dogs in general, senior years are probably not the time to give it a go.

If your reason for considering a new dog is because you recently lost your dog, this question is still relevant. Did your dog enjoy the company of the dog that passed or did they just tolerate them?

How much attention does your current dog need?

When dogs are puppies, they need a lot of attention because they are growing and learning and mischievous and nobody wants to lose a couch to an adorable bundle of joy with razor sharp teeth.

When your dog is aging they start to need a lot of time, attention, energy and finances that creep up before you know it. I talked about it in the last blog. Be sure you are up for taking care of your dog's needs and taking on training a new dog or puppy. 

How old is your dog?

There aren't any rules about what age is good or bad to be introducing a new dog. Some 8 year old dogs are too feeble or require too much time and attention to add to the pack. But, some 15 year old dogs are stable and fully functioning.  When you ask yourself this question, think about your dog's cognition, health and function. Are you already dealing with an incontinence situation?

It boils down to this.

Having two dogs at different ends of the lifespan has many rewards.

Jackson was 10 when I brought Sydney home. He was physically strong, but, showing signs of slowing down. Sydney brought new life to Jackson and he was an amazing mentor with endless patience. 

That's not to say there weren't challenges. Some I was prepared for and some I was not. If you decide it is the right thing for you and you find yourself struggling, I am here for you. I have the experience and resources to help make your integration less challenge and more joy.


1 comment

  • Your message was very truly for our home. Our 12 year old female Scottie just passed away this month & the younger remaining Scottie seems quite lost. It is also more obvious that the surviving 11 year old Scottie has more hearing loss than we realized. We will be meeting with our breeder in Ohio next week to meet some 5-7 year old females who are retiring from breeding. Does that sound like a feasible approach to you?

    Kathy Martin

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