There are pet owners, and then there are those of us who just can’t settle for having only a dog as a pet. Take my friend for example; she’s not happy unless she has a miniature zoo at home. After all that one dog might find themselves lonely or bored, right? Or at least that’s what we tell ourselves and our spouses. But what if our idea of the ‘perfect addition’ terrorizes the dog or worse yet – is eatenby the dog?
Simply choosing the first bundle of cuteness you come across can spell disaster if you’re not careful. You should always take due diligence to find the right animal addition to your home for the safety and wellbeing of everyone involved. Not to mention your sanity! Which brings us to the challenging question of what type of animals will get along with dogs?
Consider Predatory Instincts
When pairing up pets of different species, you must first pay mind to the predatory nature of the beast. For example rabbits are a natural prey animal for a canine hunting breed much like mice are prey to a cat. Exercise a little common sense.
When we say “common sense,” we mean don’t try pairing up a greyhound with rabbit. That is a bloodbath waiting to happen. Retired racing greyhounds were originally trained to chase an electronic rabbit when they race. I don’t care how old, gentle and decrepit your retired greyhound is – putting a rabbit near them is the equivalent to putting a fresh steak in front of a hungry lion. It’s most likely going to get chased and eaten!
Dog breeds can greatly influence a dog’s ability to get along with other animals. Breeds that are natural born hunters possess a prey drive leading to them to eat, chase or terrorize the animal rather than being a snuggle buddy. We see this in the aforementioned Greyhound. For this reason, small animals are generally best avoided. There are four breed groups that possess the prey drive which are hounds, terriers, herders and sporters.
Of course, there are exceptions to the rule. Your Australian Shepherd might adore the ferret. But his herding instincts might cause him to herd the ferret straight through your displayed fine china collection.
Are Dogs and Cats Enemies?
A common animal sidekick for dogs is quite often a cat. But that’s not to say all cats and dogs will get along. While dogs and cats can certainly become the bosom buddies depicted in the epic Hollywood film ‘Milo and Otis’, try to understand there can be a vast difference between the fantasy of film… and reality. Is there any truth to the age-old belief that dogs and cats are mortal enemies? The answer might surprise you. The reality is dogs and cats are actually not enemies at all, but rather tend to have frequent communication and temperament problems.
Communication Gone Awry
Personalities and temperaments can differ greatly between individual dogs and cats. But where reactions tend to get squirrely is when one of them starts feeling frisky. This is where communications and intentions are frequently misunderstood. The very nature of a dog is that of a social creature. They love to run, chase, jump and play. Cats on the other hand, are independent creatures that often act a bit snooty, serious and jumpy. It’s here that the communication between the two gets sketchy because the cat takes the dog’s playfulness as a threat. Before you know it, the fur begins to fly.
Dogs and cats can become the best of friends, and sometimes even snuggle buddies. We see this a lot when dogs and cats are raised together from a young age with personalities and temperaments seemingly syncing together. On the flip-side, animals of all types have temperaments and personalities that will not always mesh together. Occasionally, you will come across dogs and/or cats that are mortal enemies. For these, it’s best not to push a bad situation but rather opt for a different sidekick for your canine friend.
Small Animal Pet Alternatives
Pairing up Fido with the wrong sidekick can bring forth a nightmarish fiasco if you’re not careful. Alternatively, they can become unsuspecting BFFs. Knowing your dog’s personality, a little common sense, coupled with thorough research goes a long way. To help you with that, we’re going take a closer look at what you need to know. If cats are not a compatible option, you might possibly consider a small animal alternative. The most popular small critters folks are likely to choose are:
The aforementioned animals are generally kept in cages and accepted in many rental properties. Occasionally, a few are left to roam the house and use litter boxes much like a cat would. But even caged animals can be a temptation to the wrong companion if boundaries aren’t established from the start and strictly upheld.
Risks Associated with Small Animal Pet Companions for Your Dog
These small animals are generally dog friendly and very manageable. Although you should exercise extreme caution with reptiles – as many reptile species can be a bit temperamental. Iguanas, monitors and snakes are just such animals. While exotic and impressive, large snakes like boa constrictors and reticulated pythons can pose a serious threat to a small or medium sized dog causing injury or death when the reptile feels threatened. For this reason, large reptiles should be kept in a secure cage rather than left to wander the house freely.
The Importance of Proper Planning
Selecting a new pet to go along with a dog should never be a snap decision. It requires careful planning and consideration of the needs for both animals. As with all pets, if you are a renter you should ask your landlord which animals are accepted in your rental lease or contract prior to bringing home a new pet.
Furthermore, ask yourself what type of habitat will the animal be expected to coexist in with your dog such as whether they will be caged or roam free. Equally as important is will they have adequate space to dwell in? Space is one of those frequently overlooked factors. You – as well as your pets – should always have their own individual living space for play, sleep, and meals to avoid stressful and confrontational situations between animals.
Speaking of space… how is your dog’s behavior with food and toy aggression when other animals are nearby? If this question just made you cringe, you might want to give serious consideration to enrolling in dog obedience and behavior training before introducing a new face to your happy home. Simply contact us for ongoing classes today.
What are the age and activity requirements for both your dog and another animal that you are considering? Keep in mind that senior dogs much like us, tend to slow down and become a little less patient with age. The same can be said for other animals.
First Impressions Matter!
Introductions should be done slowly, with patience and in a neutral location with supervision. Your dog might handle it cool as a cucumber. However, most frequently he will beexcited and intrigued leading to smelling and nuzzling, tail wagging and drooling, and even pawing. This proves intimidating and scary to the other animal. Even if this introduction goes smoothly, remain astute with supervision for a long time to come.
It is important to remember this article is designed to be a general informational guide. While some dogs wouldn’t hurt a flea if they were basted with gravy and squeaked when you squeeze them, caution and supervision is always recommended.