Second Dog Solutions: Does It Help With Canine Separation Anxiety?

Second Dog Solutions: Does It Help With Canine Separation Anxiety?

If you’re a dog owner, you’re likely familiar with the term “separation anxiety”. It’s a common issue that affects many dogs when left alone, leading to destructive behavior and stress. You might be wondering, “Can a second dog alleviate my pet’s separation anxiety?”

Well, it’s not a one-size-fits-all answer. Introducing a second dog into your home could be a potential solution, but it’s important to consider various factors. After all, every dog’s personality and needs are unique. So let’s dive into the pros and cons, and see if a furry friend could be the answer to your pup’s separation woes.

Understanding separation anxiety in dogs

When we delve into the world of our furry friends, there’s a lot more complexity than meets the eye. Separation anxiety in dogs is not merely a behavioral issue, but a profound emotional distress that afflicts a large number of pooches.

Believe it or not, your dog isn’t shredding the couch cushions or howling into the void for no reason. These behaviors often stem from feelings of anxiety when they’re left alone or separated from their primary caregiver. In dogs, these feelings of isolation can create profound psychological distress.

So what causes separation anxiety? Well, it’s a complex issue, and there’s no fit-all explanation. Some dogs may experience it due to lifestyle changes like a move to a new home, changes in routine, past traumas, or even an inherent predisposition.

Observing your dog’s behavior can reveal subtle telltale signs of separation anxiety. Common indicators include destructive behavior, incessant barking or howling, indoor elimination despite house training, and excessive salivation or panting. It’s not just the torn-up pillows or scratched doors; it’s your dog communicating distress.

Check out the following table for a quick overview of common behaviors related to separation anxiety:

Destructive BehaviorChewing on furniture, shoes, etc.
VocalizationBarking, howling
House soilingUrination or defecation inside the house
PacingMoving continually along a fixed route

It’s essential to note that these behaviors aren’t a dog’s attempt at revenge for being left alone. It’s genuinely their way of coping with feelings of panic and anxiety. Above all, understanding that empathy and patient strategies are necessary is the key to mitigating the effects of separation anxiety on your cherished pet. Now, let’s move on to explore whether a second dog can help pacify these symptoms of anxiety…

Pros of having a second dog for separation anxiety

When discussing a second dog as a remedy for separation anxiety, several advantages are worth considering. Let’s delve into how introducing a second dog into your home could potentially bring substantial benefits.


A second dog can offer your anxious furkid much-needed companionship. Dogs are pack animals by nature. This means they thrive in the company of others. Having another dog around could significantly reduce feelings of loneliness in your pet when you’re away. It gives them a constant playmate to interact with easing their anxious feelings.


Another advantage of having a second dog is the element of distraction that it brings. An additional playmate does not only offer companionship but also keeps your anxious pooch occupied and mentally stimulated. It’s a great way to distract your dog from their stressors.

Behavioral Influence

As the saying goes, behavior is contagious. A well-adjusted second dog can positively influence your anxious dog and demonstrate healthy coping mechanisms. Positive behaviors such as calmness during your absence can potentially be mimicked by the anxious dog over time.

Increased Exercise

Having two dogs often means double the playtime. This results in increased physical exercise which is known to reduce tension and anxiety in dogs. The more energy they burn off during the day, the less they have to devote to anxiety and destructive behaviors.

In light of these points, it’s evident that a second dog might be the solution you’re looking for. However, every dog is unique and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. It’s crucial to understand your pet’s needs before making the decision. In the next section, we will take a closer look at the drawbacks of getting a second dog and how to ensure that it’s the right move for your furry family.

Remember, patience and empathy are key when dealing with separation anxiety in dogs. Be prepared for the journey—your efforts will not only mend your pup’s anxious heart but will also strengthen your bond with them in the process.

Cons of having a second dog for separation anxiety

It’s not all rainbows and butterflies when you decide to bring a second dog into your home to assist your anxious pet. There are a few drawbacks that need consideration. Let’s look at some of the downsides to this approach.

Increased Responsibility and Costs

When you bring another pet into your household, it means more responsibility. You’ll have to cater to the needs of two dogs, not one. You’ll have twice as many walks, double the vet appointments, and two bowls to fill at mealtime. Does your schedule allow for this added commitment? Additionally, owning a pet isn’t cheap, and the costs will double with a second dog. This includes not only food and vet bills but potential costs for professional grooming, training, and dog toys.

Potential Conflicts Between Dogs

Yes, dogs are pack animals, and generally, they love company. However, every dog is an individual, and not all dogs get along. You might find that instead of helping, the new dog actually escalates the tension which can exacerbate your first dog’s anxiety. While there’s potential for them to become the best of pals, there’s also a chance they won’t.

Training and Adjustment Period

Lastly, you should also consider the training period for your new pet. It could take weeks, even months, for the new dog to adjust to your home. During this time, they might pick up on the behaviour of the first dog rather than helping to alleviate anxiety symptoms. Can you handle the possibility of having two anxious dogs? It’s not a light consideration. As mentioned earlier, it’s all about understanding the individual needs of each pet before making a decision.

Keep in mind, a second dog may be of no help at all if the separation anxiety is rigidly attached to you. In such cases, professional help like a dog behaviorist or trainer may be a more appropriate solution to consider.

Factors to consider when getting a second dog

As you ponder on the thought if a second dog can help mitigate separation anxiety, it’s crucial to bear in mind the heterogeneous requirements each individual dog has. Here are some critical factors you need to deliberate before introducing a new canine member to your family.


One of the most important factors in deciding to get a second dog is the compatibility of the two dogs. Not every dog will get along with every other dog. You’ll want to consider factors such as:

  • breed
  • age
  • size
  • temperament

Calm and patient dogs generally do well in pairs, while volatile ones may need more time and effort for harmonious cohabitation.

Time and Responsibility

Understand that getting a second dog essentially doubles the responsibility. You’ll have to divide your attention and time between two animals, manage their feeding, grooming, regular vet visits, exercise and playtime schedules. Having a plan in place can aid in managing this effectively.

Economic Impact

Another significant aspect to consider is the financial implications. Keeping a dog doesn’t only include expenses for food and water, but also extends to grooming supplies, annual vaccinations, regular health check-ups, and unforeseen medical emergencies, among others.

While having a second dog could be a plausible solution for your first dog’s separation anxiety, it’s necessary to evaluate your current situation and weigh the pros and cons. Ultimately, the decision depends on whether you’re ready and able to provide an environment conducive for their well-being. Remember, it’s not about what you can get out of the equation, but what you can give.

Assessing your current dog’s needs and personality

In determining whether a second dog could potentially alleviate your pet’s separation anxiety, it’s pivotal to first take a thorough look at your standing canine companion’s needs and personality.

Fundamentally, all dogs are individuals with unique tastes, dislikes, and social preferences. You might currently own a dog who loves playing with others at the dog park. But this does not automatically mean he’d appreciate a constant canine companion at home. Some dogs prefer human company, benefitting more from interventions such as increased interaction, human companionship or professional training to manage separation anxiety. It’s up to you to decipher your dog’s subtle cues and understand their preference.

Breed, age, and temperament also play critical roles. Activity levels can vary dramatically between breeds. Ensure that if you’re considering a second dog, both breeds are similarly active. It’d be unfair to pair a high-energy dog with one who prefers less rigorous exercise routines – it can do more harm than good. Stark contrasts in age can also lead to compatibility issues. A sprightly young dog can easily overwhelm an older, more lethargic one. Temperament is another key factor: an outgoing dog might not mesh well with a shy, reserved fellow dog.

As the person who knows your dog the best, take time to observe your furry friend’s behaviors and habits. Understanding your canine companion’s needs and personality is vital in deciding whether a second dog is beneficial and can help manage separation anxiety. Consulting with an experienced trainer or a vet can provide valuable guidance during this process. It is important to remember that every dog will respond to different strategies and what works for one, might not work for another.


So, does a second dog help with separation anxiety? It’s not a guaranteed solution. It depends on your dog’s unique personality and needs. Some dogs may thrive with a canine companion, while others may prefer the company of humans. It’s crucial to consider factors like breed, age, and temperament. Remember, a second dog means double the responsibility. It’s not just about curing your current dog’s separation anxiety, but also ensuring both dogs are happy and compatible. Always observe your dog’s behaviors and habits and don’t hesitate to seek advice from a trainer or vet. The key is to make an informed decision that’s best for you and your furry friend.

Considering a second dog to help with canine separation anxiety involves assessing the potential benefits and challenges. According to American Kennel Club, having another dog can provide companionship and reduce anxiety for some pets. PetMD suggests evaluating your dog’s individual needs and consulting with a veterinarian or animal behaviorist before making a decision.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the main reason for assessing a current dog’s needs before getting a second one?

Assessing your current dog’s needs is vital because all dogs have unique preferences and may not always prefer a constant canine companion. Some dogs might be more comfortable with human company. This assessment helps ensure compatibility and harmony within the household.

Does the breed, age, and temperament of the dog matter when getting a second one?

Absolutely. These factors matter significantly as dogs of different breeds, ages, and temperaments might have varying activity levels and social preferences. Hence, considering these aspects can aid in determining if both dogs will be compatible.

Should I observe my current dog’s behavior before choosing another one?

Yes, it is both advisable and beneficial to observe your current dog’s behaviors and habits. These observations can provide insights on their compatibility with a potential second dog, helping to ensure a smoother transition.

Should I consult a professional when considering getting a second dog?

Absolutely, consulting with a professional, such as a trainer or vet, can provide valuable guidance and information tailored to your specific situation. They can help you make a well-informed decision when getting a second dog.