I have a friend who once told me, “If you have one dog, you have a dog. If you have two dogs, you have half a dog. If you have three dogs, you have no dog at all.” Although I laughed at the time, I thoroughly disagree with him. See, he had one dog and I had two.
I currently have one dog, but that’s because one of my dogs died recently, and I haven’t yet found the dog I want to bring into our home as a second one. But we won’t be a single-dog family for long, I guarantee it. Here’s why.
Dogs are pack animals
Yes, they are domesticated and not wolves. They have learned to live with humans as their pack members, but those people often leave the house and Fido stays home. When Fido has Fluffy, though, the pack is still somewhat intact, and the issue of separation anxiety is much less likely. The social aspects of having two dogs in your home are enormous, and a social dog is a happy dog.
Exercise needs are lessened
In multiple dog households, there tends to be a lot of playing together, play fighting and chasing. They wrestle and roll, and when they’re tired out, they flop down together to rest. Even though you’ll still want to do the minimum 2 walks per day, much of their energy will have been burned off by playing together.
An older dog can teach a younger dog new tricks. Because dogs crave order, the dog who already knows the rules and schedule of the house can easily help train a younger furbaby to adhere. Potty training is achieved with less trouble, too, because dogs naturally go where other dogs have already relieved themselves. The younger dog will follow the older dog’s lead in where to do his business.
Both my husband and I are dog people. Our dog, Mac, is actually, thoroughly his dog. It’s not that he doesn’t like me, because he does. But I miss the total devotion of a dog that’s entirely my own. Mac wants to sit in my husband’s lap and be petted when we’re watching TV at night, and I miss having my own furbaby to cuddle with, too.
If you have more than one child in your home, that alone might be reason enough to have a second dog. Giving each child an animal to care for develops responsibility and kindness like no other method does. Owning a dog teaches a child empathy and a respect for life.
Dogs, like humans, are emotional creatures. If you have to leave the house for several hours every day, leaving a dog alone can lead to depression and resulting misbehavior. Having a furbuddy to lay around with or to play with can alleviate the depression. Hence, a happier family.
Whoa! Allergy benefits? According to the National Institute of Health, children raised in multi-pet households before the age of one may be less prone to developing allergies. "The striking finding here is that high pet exposure early in life appears to protect against not only pet allergy but also other types of common allergies, such as allergy to dust mites, ragweed, and grass," says Marshall Plaut, M.D., chief of the allergic mechanisms section at NIAID (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases).
Of course, the reason most people give for having more than one dog is because they enjoy their first dog so much that they want to increase that enjoyment. All around, having more than one dog provides more benefits than disadvantages. Once you experience the joy of having multiple dogs, you may never go back to being a single-dog household again. I know I won’t!
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