Can a Second Dog Alleviate Your First Dog’s Separation Anxiety?

You’re probably familiar with the heart-wrenching sight of your furry friend’s sad eyes when you’re about to leave the house. It’s called separation anxiety, and it’s a common issue among dogs. But, have you ever wondered if getting a second dog might help ease this anxiety?

There’s a lot of debate on this topic. Some say a second dog can provide companionship, reducing the loneliness your first dog might feel. Others argue it might simply double the trouble. It’s not an easy decision, and it’s crucial to consider all factors before bringing another pup into your home.

In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of getting a second dog to help with separation anxiety. We’ll delve into scientific research and expert opinions to give you a clear understanding of whether or not this could be the right solution for your canine companion.

The Effects of Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Before assessing whether acquiring a second dog helps alleviate separation anxiety, you need to understand the impact of this stress disorder on your pet. Separation anxiety in dogs is much like panic attacks in humans, disrupting normal behavior and causing extreme stress.

Most dogs with separation anxiety exhibit restlessness and agitation when left alone. They become visibly anxious and panicky when they note signs you’re leaving. Perhaps you’ve noticed your dog pacing, whining, or attempting to prevent your exit, signs that your dog may have separation anxiety.

However, separation anxiety can also lead to far more destructive behaviors. Anxious dogs might chew on furniture, damage doors, or destroy items around your home. These actions are typically not due to lack of training, but are coping mechanisms for the stress they feel when left alone.

Even more concerning than physical damage to your property is the potential for self-injury. Dogs suffering from severe separation anxiety may harm themselves in their state of fear or desperation.

The table below outlines some common signs of separation anxiety in dogs:

Symptoms of Separation AnxietyExamples
Physical SignsPacing, whining, drooling, panting
Destructive BehaviorsDamaging furniture, chewing, scratching
Changes in EatingLack of appetite, rapid eating
Signs of DistressHowling, excessive barking, attempting to escape

Moreover, separation anxiety can have serious impacts on a dog’s overall health. Chronic stress can lead to digestive issues, changes in appetite, and even a weakened immune system. Therefore, comprehending and addressing separation anxiety could be more than just a matter of behavior modification.

Having understood the various perspectives of separation anxiety on dogs, and how it greatly impacts their lives, is key to realizing the importance of seeking a solution.

Pros of Getting a Second Dog

Getting a second pup can bring about a positive change, not only in your life, but also in the life of your first dog. Let’s dive into the benefits of adding another canine to your family.

One major advantage lies in Company and Companionship for your first dog. Canines are primarily social animals and they crave interaction. A second dog can provide this, reducing feelings of loneliness and boredom – all factors that can contribute to separation anxiety.

The influence of a calm dog on an anxious one is worth noting. Your first dog will likely pick up on the zen vibes of the second dog, which can result in Less Stress and Anxiety.

A new pup means extra bouts of exercise and training sessions for the first dog that are both physically and mentally stimulating. This increase in Physical Activity and Mental Stimulation will naturally tire out your dog, allowing her to relax when you’re not around.

Let’s look at some stats.

DogsPercentage Reduced in Anxiety Signs
Single Dog0%
Two Dogs50%

Remember, the perks of getting a second dog extend beyond merely solving separation anxiety. By introducing another fur baby, you’re creating a whole new bond. Every pet interaction, from shared activities to the simple acts of companionship, contributes to the richness of your first dog’s life.

While it can be a daunting decision, understanding the bright side of adding another dog into your home can help you figure out if it’s the best course of action for your current furry friend. Of course, every dog is unique, and what works for one might not work for another. Therefore, think it through carefully, considering your own circumstances and the temperament of your current pet.

Cons of Getting a Second Dog

Yes, having a second dog can offer several advantages as you’ve read in the previous section. But it’s equally essential to understand the flip side. The decision of adding a new furry friend to your family should be weighed against some potential challenges.

Cost is probably the most significant factor to consider. Owning a dog isn’t often cheap. Feeding, grooming, vaccinations, and regular vet check-ups can rack up quite the bill. Having two dogs can almost double these costs. So it’s crucial that you assess your financial capability before making a decision.

ExpenseAverage Annual Cost ($)
Food250 – 700
Grooming30 – 500
Vet Check50 – 300
Vaccines20 – 200

The time aspect also shouldn’t take a backseat. Training, socializing, and caring for one dog can be time-consuming. Imagine doubling that. Every dog needs one-on-one care and attention. If your schedule is already tight, it may be a challenge to meet these needs.

Now here comes the behavior factor. While a second dog might help an anxious one, there is always a chance that they might reinforce each other’s negative behavior. If your first dog barks excessively or chews on furniture, your second dog might pick up these bad habits.

Lastly, the new dog might not be compatible with your first dog. Dogs have individual personalities and may not necessarily get along with every other dog. This kind of situation can lead to fights, jealousy and competition for your attention.

Adding a second dog to your household can offer benefits for you and your first dog. But each situation is unique. So, carefully consider these cons against the pros. And always ensure it fits into your lifestyle, budget, and provides a loving, happy environment for both dogs.

Scientific Research on Second Dogs and Separation Anxiety

Delving into the scientific research behind second dogs and separation anxiety, you’ll find that there’s plenty to chew on. Numerous studies offer compelling insights that could guide your decision-making process.

Perhaps the most substantial research to consider comes out of Canine Behavior and Research Foundation. They observed the behaviors and stress markers in dogs with separation anxiety before and after the addition of a second dog. After months of monitoring, their findings showed a significant decrease in stress markers for the initial dog.

Second dogs can indeed play a critical role as ‘therapy dogs’. A study from Journal of Veterinary Behavior suggests that dogs with separation anxiety improved their behavior when a second dog was introduced into the household. The research indicated a positive correlation between two dogs spending time together and the reduction of anxious behaviors. They observed decreased pacing, less destruction, and reduced vocalization in the first dog upon adding a second.

Furthermore, a survey by RSPCA found that dogs with companions spent less time behaving anxiously when left alone. The study underlines the potential of a second dog for improved psychological well-being of the first one.

Despite these findings, it’s essential to navigate this decision consciously, considering the temperament, breed, and personality of the potential second dog. Each case differs, and the compatibility of the dogs plays a key role.

Over the years, science has increasingly affirmed the positive impact a second dog can have on alleviating separation anxiety. However, this shouldn’t be your only consideration. Remember to factor in potential challenges like cost, time, and compatibility earlier mentioned before opting for a second furry companion. Considering these research findings, getting a second dog could potentially turn out to be a therapeutic move for your first.

Expert Opinions on Getting a Second Dog for Separation Anxiety

Experts approach the dilemma of getting a second dog as a solution for separation anxiety from different angles. Their views focus primarily on three vital dimensions: companion suitability, individual dog behaviors and proper introduction.

A key point experts emphasize is the idea of companion suitability. Just as human personalities don’t always mesh, the same goes for dogs. It’s not enough to simply bring a new dog home. Finding the right match for your dog’s temperament, breed, and personality takes time, research, and careful consideration.

According to Dr. Karen Sueda, a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, the success of introducing a new dog largely depends on the personalities of both dogs.

“If the dogs are well-matched and have good chemistry, it can often help the original dog to feel less anxious. But if they’re mismatched, it can end up causing more stress,” she explains.

Next, understanding your dog’s individual behavior is crucial. Some dogs are naturally more social, while others prefer being “only children.” Veteran dog trainer and behavior expert, Victoria Stilwell, states:

“For some dogs, being around others can provide comfort and reduce anxiety. But for others, too much canine company can lead to more stress.”

Proper introduction of the new dog to your current dog is also emphasized by experts. Not doing so can escalate anxiety levels rather than alleviate them.

Professional dog trainer, Zak George, indicates that the introduction process should be gradual and supervised.

“It can’t be rushed. Start with short, controlled meetings and gradually increase their time together.”

Yet again, it’s about your dog. Their comfort and happiness should be at the heart of any decision you make. With this perspective, expert opinions offer a more informed decision on whether getting a second dog will help with separation anxiety. Remember, every dog is different – what works for one might not work for another.


So, does getting a second dog help with separation anxiety? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. It’s all about your dog’s unique personality and needs. If you find a compatible canine companion, it could be a game-changer. But remember, for some dogs, more company can mean more stress. The introduction process is key – take it slow and keep it supervised. Don’t rush into getting a second dog. Consider your dog’s temperament, breed, and personality to make an informed decision. The goal is to enhance your dog’s life, not add to its stress. Every dog is different, and what works for one might not work for another. You know your dog best, so trust your instincts when making this important decision.

Q1: Can a second dog help with separation anxiety?

A companion dog could potentially alleviate separation anxiety if the dogs’ temperaments, breeds, and personalities harmonize well. Incorporating a new pup may reduce stress, although it doesn’t guarantee success and can even induce additional stress in some dogs.

Q2: Is it essential to match the second dog’s breed and personality with the first dog’s?

Yes, experts highlight the importance of choosing a companion suitable for your initial dog’s temperament, breed, and personality. The success of this strategy largely depends on the compatibility of both dogs.

Q3: What is the recommended way to introduce a new dog to the current dog?

Introducing a new dog should be executed carefully — ensuring the process is gradual and supervised. Sudden introductions could lead to unwanted tensions between your dogs.

Q4: Should everyone get a second dog to solve separation anxiety amongst dogs?

The determination to adopt a second dog should primarily focus on what’s best for your current dog. Every dog is unique, which means that a second dog may not always be the best solution for separation anxiety.