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Should you have more than one pet?

Are two dogs better than one? How will your new cat get along with your dog? Read this story for some tips on helping your animals get along with each other.

A dog may consider himself to be special, but he may not be the only pet in your home.

Here are a few tips on helping your dog to get along with other animal companions:

Dog and Dog

A second dog is an ideal companion for a dog. Two dogs will be company for each other, and can thus be left alone for a while. Two dogs, however, each need their own space. They should be able to go their separate ways at times, and they should have their own food dishes.

Two dogs are not much more trouble than one – and there’s no difference between walking with one dog or with two. What is important is every dog must be trained separately.

The ideal partners are a male dog and a female dog. If you don't want offspring, one of the two dogs should be sterilized. Two males who grew up together can usually be good friends. It’s best to choose two puppies from one litter.

If a dog has already been living a long time in one home, he won't be enthusiastic about a new dog. The best place for them to become acquainted is on neutral ground such as the park.

Then, once the second dog is installed in the home, the first dog needs to get the usual attention and care from his owners. But, in order to prevent fights between him and the newcomer, both dogs must clearly understand that the owner is the “boss” or the "leader of the pack."

Please note at the beginning of this new relationship, it’s important not to leave the dog alone with the other dog.

Dog and Cat

Dogs and cats need to get to know each other first, because their body language is totally different. For instance, if a cat swishes her tail, it means she’s irritated; if a dog wags his tail, he’s happy. This is a difference they have to learn. Similarly, how would a cat know a dog is angry and should be left alone if he’s growling low in his throat? The cat will perceive the growling as purring, which means satisfaction and well being in cat language. And, if a dog raises his paw, saying, “Let's play,” it means rejection in cat language.

If a cat and dog grow up together, though, they’ll learn each other’s language and become playmates.

If a cat comes into a home with a dog, things should go relatively well. The two pets should be kept apart for a few days, but should be able to hear each other from behind closed doors. Then they can make their first acquaintance with each other: Hold the cat in your arms and show her the dog is a quiet, friendly animal. The dog, used to a pack, will accept the cat as a new member of the family – his pack. The cat will take longer to get used to the dog.

If the cat is already living in the home and a dog comes to live there, the cat will need time to see the dog is friendly.

Please note at the beginning of this new relationship, it’s important not to leave the dog and cat alone.

Dogs and Other Animals

Animals get used to each other easily if they’ve already had contact with other animals during their socialization phase. Dogs get to know other animals mainly by smell. So, animals should be able to smell each other before they see each other. You can help with this process by providing your dog with something that smells like the other animal—a blanket or a bit of sawdust, depending on the animal. You can place these items beside the dog's sleeping place. The next step is to allow the dog to see, from a distance, the other animal when it’s asleep, all the while saying comforting things to the dog.

Please note at the beginning of this new relationship, it’s important not to leave the dog alone with the other animal.

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