Does my pet need a pet friend?

Dogs and cats have personality differences, just like humans. Some are just fine if they’re the only pet in your life. In fact, some prefer it that way. Others need a companion, especially if they’re anxious when you’re away. Some pets go through separation anxiety, which sometimes triggers drastic behavior changes. 

A pet friend might help calm your pet. Some pets enjoy the company of a new pet. Others become confrontational, and it only makes matters worse. Ultimately, the decision is up to you. 

Flashback to your early pet ownership days

It might seem like a small change, but bringing home a second pet can alter your lifestyle. If it’s been a while since your first cat or dog became a member of your household, you might recall only the fun and excitement. However, you might not remember if it was also overwhelming. 

The American Veterinary Medicine Association’s “Guidelines for responsible pet ownership” help you remember those early days. It briefly discusses pet identification, pet ordinances, pet care emergencies, and a long list of additional pet ownership responsibilities. It’s a reference for first-time pet owners, but it can also serve as a reminder of the time commitments you now take for granted. 

Don’t forget to consider the cost of a pet friend

When you bring an additional pet into your home, you take on other financial commitments as well. To focus on this often overlooked aspect of pet ownership, conducted a pet care survey. The article “The True Cost of Owning a Dog or Cat” explains that most survey respondents underestimated average annual pet care costs. 

By the way, average first-year pet care costs total $1,000. This amount varies depending on the animal’s size and breed. 

Pet friend alternatives

If your pet’s anxious behavior has you considering bringing a new pet into your home, you have other alternatives. Making a few changes can calm your pet and make both of you happy. 

  • Exercise regularly: If your pet misbehaves, he might not be lonely at all. On the other hand, it could be that he needs more activity with you. If you work long hours, consider rising early enough to take your dog for a long, brisk walk. 
  • Consider a pet service: Hire a dog walker to take your dog out during the day. Find a pet sitter to check on your cat and hang out a few hours a week (and possibly clean the litter box.) Both you and your cat will be more relaxed when you get home. 
  • Play with your cat: Find time to play indoors or out. Give your cat exciting new toys to keep her engaged. Buy a cat cave or a tower to keep her busy in your absence. 
  • Consider doggie daycare: Experiment with daycare a few days a week. You can see how your dog reacts to new friends. 
  • Schedule pet playdates: If you have a friend with a dog, invite them both over to play. (Observe them to make sure they get along.) Take your dog to a doggie park where he can run free and make friends. 

Talk to your vet

If your pet has problems being at home during the day, contact your veterinarian before adding a pet friend to your household. Your vet can determine if your pet’s behavior change is related to a medical condition. 

Contact Hebron Veterinary Hospital

Contact us to learn more about pet friends for your or dog or cat. Give us a call at (860) 228-4324 for more information or to schedule an exam or well-care appointment. You can also visit our contact us page.