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Is it Fair to Get a Puppy with An Old Dog?

Germans shepherd puppy sitting next to adult German Shepherd laying in grass field

The addition of a new puppy in a family, which already has an old dog, is always exciting for the owners. They expect the puppy to gel well with the senior dog. However, things may not always go the way they are expected.

Every dog is different and many canines are not welcoming to the new sprightly pups. Therefore, there is always uncertainty about how your older dog will react while meeting your new puppy. It all comes down to your dog’s personality and the owner’s ability to handle the situation. Keep reading to know the things that you must consider before bringing a puppy and an old dog under the same roof.

How to Determine if Your Old Dog Can Handle a New Puppy?

Before bringing the new pup to your home, it is important to look at the feasibility. This is because introducing a stranger canine (new puppy) to your older dog is not an easy task. The following factors determine whether it is fair to get a puppy with an old dog or not.

Personality of Your Older Dog

Senior boxer dog close up

This is the most important factor in deciding whether it is fruitful to bring a new pup to your household. You need to examine the general behavior of your senior pooch while he/she is around other dogs. If your dog doesn’t like the presence of canines, it is more likely that he/she will be hostile towards the newbie.

Dogs with a dominant and imposing personality won’t appreciate the inclusion of a new pup in their life. Contrastingly, if your dog welcomes other pups with friendliness and joy, the idea of bringing a new puppy should float.

Availability of Space

You must ensure that there is ample space at your home to keep both canines together. Older dogs love to have their own space where they can have some peaceful time. They might not like the exuberant interaction of younger pups, at least in the early stages. Therefore, it is vital to have enough space for the newbie, without compromising the area of your older dog.

Health Factor

Senior dog with grey face eating from a person's hand

Health problems, like hair loss, arthritis, and loss of vision, can make older dogs vulnerable and touchy. In such conditions, they won’t like any disruption in their routine. If your older dog suffers from any of these issues, the intervention of a new puppy can make him/her aggressive. This might not end well for the newbie because he/she can get hurt.


Always remember that adopting a dog is NOT a one-time expenditure. Instead, it’s a life-long commitment where you have to fulfill all his/her needs. Dogs bring many expenditures with them including, food, medicine, health checkups, toys, etc. Hence, you should only bring a new puppy if you can manage the expenditures of two dogs.    

Introducing a Puppy to an Old Dog

Puppy licking face of senior dog laying in grass covered field

An effective introduction is essential for developing a strong bond between a puppy and a dog. Below are some steps that can help you to introduce the new puppy to your old dog.

Familiarize Through Olfaction

When you have completed the formalities of adopting a pup, you should ask the shelter for one of his/her commodities. It can be anything, like a piece of cloth or a toy, that the puppy uses. These everyday items carry the scent of the animals who are using them. Keeping that thing in the vicinity of your older dog will allow him/her to familiarize with the new pup. This virtual introduction can prove quite helpful when you actually bring the puppy home. 

Crate Protection at Early Stages

puppy in a crate on a hard wood floor

This concept is often used in zoos to keep new animals alongside the older ones. Newbies are kept in the crate to ensure a safer interaction between them and their senior companions. The term used for such a crate “Howdy Crate”.

You can also use this idea to introduce a new puppy to an old dog. The older dog can see, smell, and hear the pup, but there is no physical contact.

Meeting at Neutral Places

It is a very good strategy to introduce a puppy and an old dog. The neutral location can be a park or any other place (apart from your home) where both pets feel comfortable. You should relax their leashes and let them interact with each other, freely. If you observe any sign of aggression, immediately pull them apart.

Even if all goes well, you should end this interaction after 15-20 minutes. You can also take both the dogs on a walk (together), but they must be separated by some distance. In this case, you will require a second person to help you.

Tips to Minimize the Chances of Conflict

Woman hugging 2 dogs outdoors

Divide the Time Equally

Just like humans, dogs also feel jealous when they don’t get equal attention. Therefore, it important to attend both the canines evenly to keep things smooth. For instance, you should divide the playtime equally and both the dogs should get equal attention, even if the playing arena is common.

This aspect is more important in the early stages because the older dog feels that the newbie is stealing his/her time.

Personal Food Bowls

It is really annoying for old dogs when young pups force their mouths into their food bowl. For this reason, it is important to keep their feeding bowls separate. It is best to feed them in a separate room or feed the newbie inside the crate. In this way, the chances of invasion are significantly reduced.  

Individual Toys

wall of dog toys in a pet store

Older dogs are often possessive and don’t like to share the things they own. Hence, it is always advisable to keep the toys of your puppy and the old dog separate. NEVER let your puppy take the toys of your senior dog because it will immediately result in a conflict.

Separate Places to Relax

Young pups are sprightlier and more enthusiastic while the older ones are more calm and graceful. Likewise, puppies also make a lot of noises that can spoil the fun for your older dogs. Therefore, it is vital to have separate rooms or corners for both pets. This will provide them the necessary space to spend their personal time.

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