This blog includes data from a survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Spot Pet Insurance from November 16 to November 18, 2021, with a panel of 2,000 American cat and dog owners revealed that 44 percent of pet parents get a second pet as a companion for another pet and 79 percent as a companion for themselves.
But, how do you know if you’re ready for a second pet?
Companionship scratches the surface on why pet parents become a multi-pet household.
According to a Pet Social Behavior Survey by Spot Pet Insurance, here is a breakdown of reasons why people get a second pet include:
- The love of animals.
- Wanting to give an animal they found a new home.
- Loving a pet seemed right to do.
- A sense of social duty to provide a safe space for dogs and cats in crisis.
- A friend or family member could not keep a pet, so they decided to provide a forever home.
- For their current pet to have someone to play with.
Being a pet parent is a big responsibility and becoming a guardian for more than one dog or cat is not a decision to take lightly. From budget that includes the cost of food, vet visits, toys, and caretaking to the little things like whether your apartment requires an additional pet deposit or monthly pet payments on top of your rent, or if your first pet is open to sharing their personal space, there are a few key questions pet parents will want to answer before taking on a second dog or cat.
To find out whether you are ready to get a second pet, we’ve compiled a list of questions for you to ask yourself to help you decide.
Here’s How To Know If You're Ready For A Second Pet:
The type of pet you have
Dogs are pack animals. Cats are social animals, too, but for felines, their social needs depend on their personality and disposition. Some breeds may prefer to have just you to love, while other breeds long for playtime with other animals.
The social history of your pet
When it comes to dogs, research reveals how dogs love to be part of a group, and their friendly nature encourages playtime with humans and other pets.
However, the readiness of your dog or cat should also take into consideration the emotional needs and environmental history of your furry friend. If your pet came from a shelter or was a victim of domestic abuse, hoarding or neglect, they may enjoy having another animal around, but they may need to be eased into the transition first. You’ll want to do some research to gather information on your furry friend and share what you see with your pet’s veterinarian.
Test the waters of a multi-pet parent life. Schedule visits to a local park and watch how they interact with other animals during playtime.
Invite a friend to your home and see how it goes. See if your dog is ready for another pet to join the family during a short visit and go for a walk together. Do they act territorial, frightened, or threatened when a second animal is in their personal space? While it’s normal for animals to experience some stress during transitions, gnarling or nipping can be a sign that getting a second animal now is too soon.
Take your notes to a vet and see what they say. It’s always wise to ask for a professional opinion. Now that you’ve observed your pet in action, have a licensed vet who specializes in behavior treatment evaluate your dog’s readiness level. They may have tips to share to help get your pet ready, and some pet insurances, like Spot Pet Insurance covers behavior treatment, too.
The relationship your first pet has with you
The relationship you have with your pet is special, but sometimes the bonding process takes a little bit of time. Dogs who have lived in more than one household may be close to you now that they’ve experienced stability, but there are signs to tell if a second pet will make it harder for them to listen when you need them to.
Practice commands with your pet around other animals. Does your pet follow social cues from other animals when you give a command? If so, this can be a sign that your pet needs a little more connection.
Two pets mean two of everything, and that includes double the cost to care for your animals. Depending on the breed, health, and needs of your pet, the cost of a dog or cat can range from $125 or more a month. Spot offers a multi-pet discount on dog insurance and cat insurance to help keep your pets’ health expenses manageable.
Although love is always the right reason to get a first, second, or third pet, the cost to care for an animal should also be taken into consideration. Certain expenses need to be factored in to know if you’re ready for a second pet that includes grooming, pet sitters, food, and more…
Pet supplies. Pets love to socialize, and they may even share their belongings on their own. But, sometimes pets like to know that certain things belong to them, and only them, which is why you’ll need to plan for two of everything from beds to crates and even food bowls.
Cost of illnesses and accidents. More than one dog or kitten means that time for play, and it also can mean the passing of parasites or other types of conditions. One way to help reduce the cost of vet care for illnesses and accidents is to carry a pet insurance plan for your first and your second pet.
Having a pet is rewarding and all things worthwhile require time. Having a multi-pet home means that you will spend a little more time each day spending time with your furry friend. And, if you have pets who love to get all your attention, you may need to give each pal some one-on-one time, too.
Scheduling of vet visits. Sometimes you can schedule a vet visit at the same time for all your pets, but there are times when one pet is ill and the other is not. This may mean you have to take time off from work or find a supportive friend to help you when needed. Fortunately, some pet insurance companies offer services like a 24/7 helpline.
You’ll also want to be sure that the people who share your household are open to being a multi-pet home, too. With whom or where will your pet sleep? Which person will be the primary caretaker of the new pet or lead in training? If your first pet is attached to you or another family member, how do they feel about having a second pet in the house who may challenge that relationship?
If you’re planning to rescue or adopt your second pet, our Pet Social Behavior Survey results showed that adopted pets may be more likely than purchased pets to have antisocial tendencies towards pets of the same species. See if you can bring your current pet to the shelter to meet the animal you are considering adopting. As you work through introducing your new pet, keep in mind that every animal has their own history, personality, and timeline.
Deciding to become a multi-pet family means making a commitment to love. So, take time to know that you are emotionally ready to take on the challenge and joys of being a pet parent for more than one cat or dog.