How Do I Know if my Dog Needs a Companion? Should You Get A Second Dog

Is Your Dog Lonely? Signs They Need a Companion

Wondering if your beloved dog might be lonely and yearning for a furry playmate? As a dog expert, I’m here to guide you through the signs that could indicate your pup needs a canine companion.

Understanding your dog’s social needs is crucial for their overall well-being. While some dogs are perfectly content being solo pups, others thrive in the company of another canine friend.

So, how do you know which category your dog falls into? Let’s explore some key indicators:

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Increased Vocalization

Does your dog bark, whine, or howl more than usual, especially when left alone? This could be their way of expressing loneliness and seeking attention.

Destructive Behavior

Is your furniture suddenly sporting chew marks, or are your shoes mysteriously disappearing? Destructive behavior can be a sign of boredom and anxiety, often stemming from loneliness.

Separation Anxiety

Does your dog exhibit excessive stress or anxiety when you leave them alone, even for short periods? This could be a sign of separation anxiety, often triggered by feelings of loneliness.

Excessive Clinginess

Does your dog follow you around the house like a shadow, demanding constant attention? This clingy behavior could indicate a need for more social interaction and companionship.

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Changes in Playfulness

Has your dog’s once playful spirit dwindled? Are they less interested in toys, walks, and playtime? This lack of enthusiasm could be a sign of boredom and loneliness.

Changes in Appetite or Sleep

Is your dog eating less or more than usual? Are they experiencing sleep disturbances? These changes in routine can often be linked to emotional distress, including loneliness.

Social awkwardness

Does your dog seem hesitant or anxious around other dogs during walks or at the dog park? While some dogs are naturally shy, this could also indicate a lack of socialization and a need for canine companionship.

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Tips for introducing a new dog to your dog

A proper introduction is very important when you’re getting a second dog. As excited as you are for the new addition, your current dog has no idea that they’re about to get a new roommate, and even the friendliest pooch may not appreciate an unknown dog barging into the house! Here’s what to do instead.

Introduce them on neutral territory. The first meeting should take place outside the house. Take both dogs for a walk, ideally somewhere with plenty of open space. Each dog should be walked separately and at a distance initially.

Let them interact in their own time. Don’t rush the introduction and allow your dogs to approach each other at their own pace. Don’t force them to say hi or push them towards each other as this could create tension.

Use treats. Both you and the other walker should carry tasty treats and reward either pup for appropriate behavior, such as looking at each other in a relaxed manner.

Pay attention to body language. Watch for signs of stress or unease such as growling, prolonged staring, or raised hackles. If this happens, divert your dog’s attention to something else.

Continue supervising at home. After a successful introduction outside, both dogs should walk into the house together. Make sure there are no toys or food lying around, and that there are multiple beds and water bowls throughout the house to prevent potential fights. Continue to monitor your dogs for the next few weeks until you are certain they are comfortable with each other.


Important factors to consider Before getting another dog

  • Breed: Some breeds are naturally more social than others. Working and herding dogs, for example, often require more social interaction and stimulation.
  • Lifestyle: If you work long hours or leave your dog alone frequently, they might benefit from a companion.
  • Age: Puppies and senior dogs often require more companionship due to their higher energy levels or need for emotional support.

Before getting another dog:

  • Exhaust all other options: Ensure your dog’s physical and mental needs are met through regular exercise, playtime, and mental stimulation.
  • Consult a veterinarian: Rule out any underlying medical conditions that could be causing behavioral changes.
  • Consider alternatives: Dog walkers, doggy daycare, or playdates with other dogs can also provide much-needed social interaction.

Remember, adding another dog is a significant commitment. Ensure you have the time, resources, and space to provide proper care for both furry friends.

By recognizing the signs of loneliness and making informed decisions, you can ensure your dog has a happy and fulfilling life, with or without a canine companion.

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Helping Your Dog Feel More Comfortable Alone

While puppy playdates and quality time between pet and owner are important, it’s equally important that your dog is comfortable and confident being alone every once in a while.

However, it’s also possible that adopting a second dog isn’t the right solution for you and your dog. And maybe regularly-scheduled pup playdates aren’t always an option. For those inevitable times when you need to leave your dog alone, there are a few steps you can take to help him feel more at ease without a companion.

For example, make a quick stop at home during your lunch break, or hire a dog walker or pet sitter to break up those hours of alone time.

Crate training is also helpful for dogs with separation anxiety, as the crate acts as a safe, secure space for your dog to comfortably be alone (with the exception of a favorite treat or toy, of course).

For dogs who experience separation anxiety, try Pet Honesty’s Premium Hemp Calming Chews. These tasty soft chews are a gentle, non-sedating way to make stressful situations such as separation, thunderstorms, car rides, vet visits, and even trips to the dog park more enjoyable.


  • Amanda Wheatley

    Passionate about animals, Amanda draws her expertise from her training as an educator, pet behaviorist as well as her extensive experience with animal owners. A specialist in dog and cat behavior, Amanda continues to learn about our four-legged companions by studying veterinary reference books but also university research sites (UCD, Utrecht, Cambridge, Cornell, etc..) Why Trust ShelterAPet? At ShelterAPet, our collective is composed of writers, veterinarians, and seasoned animal trainers with a deep passion for pets. Our team of esteemed professionals delves into extensive research to deliver trustworthy insights on a broad spectrum of pet-related subjects. We anchor our evaluations on direct customer experiences, meticulous testing, and comprehensive scrutiny. Our commitment is to uphold transparency and integrity for our cherished community of pet aficionados and prospective pet parents.

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