Article by Dr. Mary Becker DVM | Found on VetStreet
You have puppy or kitten fever, but you live with a senior pet. Should you get a new animal? We often have the idea that a younger pet will revitalize an older one, but is that really true?
Studies from the Banfield Pet Hospital show that animals in multipet households live longer and suffer fewer health problems. If your pet always has a buddy, he will most likely benefit, and so will you, as you’ll never be without a pet, even if one is given the final grace.
Is Two Really Company?
Any time you have more than one dog or cat, you run the risk of a conflict. That goes double if there are differences in age, size, activity levels or species.
Choose a new dog or cat who will mesh well with your current pet. For instance, it can be helpful if your new puppy — when fully grown — is the same size as or smaller than your senior dog, so the former doesn’t beat up on the latter too much. It’s also a good idea to get a pet of the opposite sex. Even when pets are spayed or neutered, opposite-sex animals tend to get along better than those of the same sex.
You might be surprised to learn that it could be less difficult for your cat to accept a dog than a new cat. Once they reach adulthood, cats are not always big fans of other felines. In my opinion, they get along best if they are introduced to other cats before they are each 2 years old. If that’s not possible, try to choose a mellow mouser who won’t ruffle your cat’s fur.
One of the main concerns of living with multiple pets is making sure they all get their fair shares of the good stuff: food, toys, treats and, most important, time with you. Chewers should each have their own assortment of Kongs, rope toys or stuffed animals to eviscerate. If you live with Retrievers or other ball-crazy dogs, you’ll need an ample supply of tennis balls.
Feed pets in their crates or in separate areas, so you know that they’re each getting an appropriate amount of food. It’s all too easy for a bigger or younger pet to muscle aside an older one and take his dinner. Or sometimes the opposite happens! I’ve seen a little old dog push a bigger, younger one aside to steal his meal.
For many pets, the most important resource is you: your time, your lap, your attention. Don’t make the mistake of ignoring your senior pet as you play with and train your new puppy or kitten. You never want him to feel neglected or forgotten. Give him first dibs on lap time or petting, and don’t let the newcomer shove him aside. Enlist other family members if necessary to help you make sure everyone gets plenty of hands-on attention and play.
Laurelwood Animal Hospital,located near Jesuit High School on Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway offers a full range of companion animal services, including surgery, nutrition and behavior counseling, parasite control and preventative medicine. The hospital also offers advanced imaging through an all-digital spiral CT scanner, a comprehensive dental program and laser treatment.
If you’re looking for quality, compassionate veterinary care in Beaverton, Oregon, come visit us at Laurelwood Animal Hospital.
Laurelwood Animal Hospital
9315 SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway
Beaverton, Oregon 97005
Phone: (971) 244-4230
Fax: (503) 292-6808