One pet or two?
Many pet owners will often question whether their pet gets lonely and like with children would they prefer for them to have another pet in the house, for them to play with whilst you are not around. There is no right or wrong answer to this question and it depends on your dog or cat individually.
Founder of the Peachtree’s Hills Animal Hospital, Duffy Jones explained, “There have not been any controlled studies to look at this issue since there is so much individual variation between dog personalities. Many dogs do great with having another dog around, and some are perfect being the only dog. It really depends on your particular dog and that dog’s personality and also its previous history — for example, if the dog has always had other dogs around or if it has been traumatized by another dog.”
It works the same for cats and depends what your cat is used to, whether they have been surrounded by cats before, whether they are fairly lazy and timid, enjoying napping and alone time or whether they are energetic, curious and playful cats.
If you are thinking your dog may be bored on their own when you are not there and they have no other dog to play with, consider stimulating your dog in other ways. Ensure you always walk your dogs regularly and for an appropriate amount of time for their breed, if you are going out then make sure your dog is walked so they are more likely to spend that time sleeping. If you want your dog to socialise with other dogs, enrol in a dog class or even dog day-care. This way they can engage with other dogs whilst being trained and looked after.
Cat owners can use toys to help stimulate their cats and should do this at least once a day for 10-15 minutes. Try to dedicate a small period of time to your cat when you first get in your house, this will give them the affection they need and the interaction they want.
If you are considering getting a second pet for your household, younger pets are easier to adapt so it is sometimes best to look for a younger pet. However, remember to consider the extra time, energy and cost in having a second pet as it now means double of everything. When introducing the new pet, try to do it outside where they are not in a confined area and gradually things will become normal. Always ensure each pet has their own food bowl and bed as this decreases the chances of them fighting over their territory.