I have a 15 year old dog, a Chihuahua who is almost deaf and blind. I am getting a new teacup Chihuahua. My dad says that my old dog may feel that he is being replaced and grieve himself to death. What are your thoughts?
Cheryl – Wisner, Nebraska
I don’t think it works that way, which is not to say that your older dog may not have feelings on the matter. It definitely can impact their lives, possibly contributing to increased longevity but for two different reasons. I’ve seen older dogs that have historically enjoyed the company of other dogs, get a second lease on life due to the added stimulation a new dog. On the other hand sometimes I wonder if the odd old dog decides to spite all who would presume their demise is close enough at hand to bring in a replacement, and live years longer.
The biggest problem for an old dog when you introduce a youngster to the household is when the dog owner doesn’t run interference for the old dog when the youngster’s energy and enthusiasm for life starts to wear thin for the old dog. They might not enjoy a little of that youthful vigour now and then throughout the day but not have the physical wherewithal to physically shut the younger dog down when the evil eye doesn’t work to signal that they’ve had enough.
If you’re going to add a second dog I’d make sure you plan on supervising him or her around your older dog, for the short term very diligently and possibly for the long haul as well.