Your dog’s getting old.
You’ve noticed them start to slow. It’s never easy to watch your dog age. It's natural to wonder how to make those final years easier.
A common suggestion is to introduce a younger, “cross-over” dog to the family. But is that really a good idea?
There’s lots of reasons. Some say it helps you grieve. Others say it helps their older dog enjoy their golden years. Every dog owner thinks about it differently. There’s no right answer, but there are pros and cons you need to consider.
Some dogs regain their youth when a puppy’s introduced. There’s something about a puppy’s energy that can put a spark in an older dog’s eye. Play-fighting and chasing can be annoying, but sometimes it’s enough to give your dog energy you haven’t seen in years.
All happy people have a sense of purpose. It’s no different for dogs. Older dogs get enjoyment from teaching the young pup how to navigate the world.
The new dog benefits too. Some dog owners say having an older “mentor” dog around is wonderful for training purposes. The older dog teaches when it’s right to bark, where to pee (and how to extract as many treats from you as possible!).
When that dreaded day comes, having a second dog can help you process. When a dog passes, the house can feel empty. But a young, vibrant dog brings new life into the household. You’ll remember the time your dogs shared, and though it won’t make grieving easy, it might make it better.
Not all dogs get along. Dogs become less tolerant as they get older. If you introduce a “grumpy old man/woman” dog to a powerhouse puppy, you’re going to have a bad time!
Top priority is that your two dogs get along. Otherwise, the older dog may become recluse. And instead of enjoying their final years, they feel like they don’t belong in their own home.
Your dogs will have different energy levels. And that can be hard for you! You’ll be balancing different exercise requirements, dietary needs, extra vet visits… and on top of that your older dog still needs some quiet time!
Puppies demand more attention. If your older dog is a jealous type, they might get a little sulky!
Puppies are still developing emotionally. Some pups don’t cope well with death. Some become anxious, lose interest in play, and don’t want to eat after the loss of their older buddy. This doesn’t happen to all dogs, but you should be aware of the possibility.
It’s hard to support a dog in their final days. And it’s hard to raise a puppy! The combination can be miserable, especially if you’re not prepared. You can’t predict the future, but if you suspect your dog only has a few months left, you should avoid a puppy at all costs.
You might still have some doubts. That’s normal. Maybe the following will help you decide.
Do they like other dogs? If no, a cross-over dog is not for you.
Does your dog tolerate change? If your dog has a low threshold, maybe a puppy isn’t the best idea. Or you could introduce the new dog slowly by cordoning the puppy off from certain parts of the house.
A “senior” dog is anywhere from 8 years and on (give or take). But an 8-year-old is more tolerant than a 14-year-old. If your dog is on the older side, you should avoid a high-energy dog. You might want to consider adopting an adult dog instead of getting a puppy.
Your decision affects not just one life, but three (or more if you have a family). As a responsible dog owner, you need to make sure you’re able to give both dogs the time and attention they need. Be honest. If you can’t truthfully say “yes, I can look after both”, then focus on giving your older dog lots of treats and affection instead.
You can do all the research in the world, but sometimes things just don’t work out between your two dogs. To reduce the downside, you might consider getting a new dog on a trial period. Some shelters will let you take the new dog home for a couple of weeks on trial. If your dogs get along, great! If not, then you’ve helped out a needy dog for a couple of weeks. No harm done!
…it’s about doing what’s right for your old boy or girl. Only you know your dog and your situation best. Whatever you decide, take comfort in knowing that you have made an informed decision.
No matter what you decide, you still want to spoil your dog regularly! And that’s what we’re all about at Doggy. If you love to treat your dog, check out our store here.