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Puppies and Senior Dogs: Keeping Peace in the House
Article by Kelly Marshall of Oh My Dog Supplies

Deciding on getting a puppy if you already have a senior dog is a decision that needs to be made with caution. Not all senior dogs are good with puppies and most puppies are not really good companions for senior dogs, at least when they are in the puppy stage. Puppies tend to be very playful and actively, something that most senior dogs are not.

Puppies can be a great addition to the family even with senior dogs. By taking time to work with the puppy and the older dog you can have a peaceful house and have both dogs living happily together. To make the best possible introductions use the following tips:

  • Introduce the puppy to the senior dog away from the mature dogs “space” in the house. Introduce them in another room, outside, or somewhere that the current dog doesn’t see as his or her territory.
  • Keep the introduction time short initially and supervise the interaction between the dog and the puppy. Usually a good idea is to keep them both on a leash with two separate handlers. If you are the person the senior dog has bonded with then you should work with the senior dog. If you are working with the puppy the senior dog may become jealous or possessive and this may be an additional problem that you will have to deal with.
  • Spend time equally with the mature dog and the puppy. New puppies tend to get a lot of attention and older dogs may begin to feel left out and isolated or abandoned by the family.
  • Watch for any changes in behavior with the senior dog that indicates they are becoming aggressive or anxious about the puppy.
  • House the senior dog and the puppy away from each other until you know there are no problems with keeping them together.
  • Remember that puppies will have a lot more energy than most senior dogs. Provide a room or area the puppy can’t get to that the senior dog can when they need some space and time away.
  • Don’t expect the senior dog to share toys, food dishes and bedding areas. Get separate items for the puppy to avoid any problems.

Many senior dogs are very interested in the new puppy and quickly adjust to having a new addition to the family. For those that don’t keeping the puppy and dog separated unless supervised is very important for the safety of the puppy. Senior dogs that have vision and hearing problems may have the greatest difficulty in adjusting to a new puppy.

Be sure to monitor the older dog and the puppy in play. You may have to step in and restrict the playtime to avoid over-exertion of the older dog, especially when the puppy matures into adolescence. Remember that both the mature dog and the puppy need regular exercise so you may need to have two separate nightly and morning walks to accommodate their different physical exercise needs.

Article by Kelly Marshall of Oh My Dog Supplies

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