What pets get along best with dogs? Did you know the AKC (American Kennel Club) recognizes 190 various dog breeds? No matter their breeding, dogs are pack animals, and if you’re looking to increase the size of your home pack, you’re probably wondering which animals will get along best with your furry friend.
We’ll help you out with our list of 10 pets that get along famously with dogs. These dog friends make great companions for many reasons, including playfulness, like with ferrets or cats.
Before we get to our list of 10 puppy companions though, we want to guide you through how to choose your dog’s new buddy.
Keep reading to learn how to properly introduce your pup to one of these companion pets in order to keep both animals safe and happy.
Making Dog Friends: First, Know Your Dog
Before you can hope that your dog and your new pet will become best friends, you have to understand your dog’s innate and unique personality traits. There are certain types of breeds that can make introducing companion pets trickier.
This comes down to your dog’s drive to hunt for prey. If your dog is one of the following breeds (or a mix of them) be prepared for their predation drive to kick in when they meet a companion animal.
- Herding breeds, like German Shepherds
- Terriers, like Jack Russell Terriers
- Sporting breeds, like Cocker Spaniels
- Hounds, like Beagles
If your dog falls into one of these groups, don’t despair. A companion for your puppy isn’t impossible, but you might have to devote extra time or pick pets your dog is less likely to prey on.
For example, terriers were originally bred to hunt rodents. So, if you have visions of your Jack Russell romping around with a hamster, you’ll probably be disappointed.
Or, if you have a German Shepherd, don’t expect that your dog will know not to boss around a pair of sheep you get to be its companions. You need to understand your dog’s breeding and how it will affect their instincts.
You also need to know your dog’s personality. Some dogs are calm, some are hyper; some are aggressive, some are timid.
Understanding your dog’s unique traits will help you decide which companion pet is right for your home.
Meeting Your Pup’s New Bestie: How To Handle Introductions
The first thing you should do is let your pup get a sniff of the newest member of your household. Do this from behind a closed door so your dog can’t see the new animal.
Once your dog has lost interest in that scent–and this can take a week or more–then you can prepare for them to meet face-to-face. Here’s what you need to do:
- Get both pets checked out with a veterinarian visit to make sure they’re free of infections and infestations.
- Make sure your new pet has somewhere safe to hide away from the dog’s reach and sight if it’s smaller than your dog.
- Put your pup on a leash in case your dog gets too excited at the sight of your new pet. Keep your dog two to three feet away from your new pet.
- Be patient. You may have to handle these intros for a few minutes at a time, several times a day.
Wait until your dog loses interest in the new pet before you allow unleashed interactions. Even then, monitor your pets.
Look out for signs of aggression from your dog, such as:
- Raised ears
- More panting than usual
Keeping an eye out for these signs can help keep both your animals safe before a problem arises. You never want to get your hand in the way of your dog’s teeth, so stopping a problem before it erupts into a fight or predatory behavior can keep you safe, too.
10 Best Pup Friends
Now that you know how to go about introducing a new animal to your house and pack, here’s our list of the 10 best friends for dogs.
- Hamsters and gerbils
- Guinea pigs
Depending on which of the above animals you select, there are some pet-specific guidelines you should adhere to.
Smaller pets like hamsters and gerbils are great because they have their own cages where they can be safe. However, depending on the size and weight of your dog, some of these smaller animals can be hurt by accident if your dog plays with them.
If you’re partial to cats, see if you can adopt a cat that has lived with a dog before. The cat will have an easier time adjusting to your house and your dog.
After dogs, cats, birds, and horses are America’s most popular pets. They make good companions in general for dogs, especially if they meet each other when they’re young.
Ferrets can be both prey and predator to dogs. Sometimes they might run and hide while other times they might try to chase your dog and nip at them.
To prevent aggression between ferrets and dogs, you should afford each their own private space. For example, separate your dog’s kibble and your Wysong ferret food.
Bonus Tip: “Sibling” Rivalry
Whether you plan to own dogs and cats or dogs and other animals–even other dogs–it’s important to remember that your first dog might feel displaced when a new pack member moves in.
Even the best companion dogs can make your first pup feel less loved if you’re not careful to spend time alone with your first dog. The key tip in how to introduce dogs to other animals is to make sure your first fur-baby continues to feel as much love and attention as before.
First dogs will act out even in the best of dog and cat–or dog and other animal–relationships if their humans don’t give them the love they’ve grown accustomed to.
Spread The Knowledge
Did you find this article helpful? Do you know dog people who might be looking to add a new pet to their home?
Help ensure the transition goes smoothly, for their pets and your human friend alike. Help them make the most out of their relationships with their pup and their dog friends to bring health and harmony to their pack and home: share this article.