Most people who have a two-dog household don’t get both of their dogs at once. Instead, many decide to bring a puppy into the house when one dog is older — and it can be tricky to figure out how to make sure both dogs’s needs are being met.
That’s something New York City resident Gina Strum discovered. She has two dogs: Penelope, who is 7 months old, and Barkley, who is 14. Penelope is “a little nightmare most of the time, but she’s very loving,” Strum tells Yahoo Lifestyle. Barkley is “very calm” and “a little bit senile,” she says. There’s also “quite a big age difference” between Barkley and Penelope, and the puppy “drives him a little bit crazy,” Strum says.
Strum is trying to figure out how to meet the needs of both of her dogs, so she called on Kurt Venator, DVM, PhD, chief veterinary officer at Purina, to help with a few issues when bringing home a new puppy.
Issue No. 1: The puppy chews on everything
That includes some of Strum’s shoes. “Get toys that she feels comfortable chewing on and engaging with,” Venator tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “Part of the issue could be she’s looking for things to chew on and she’s finding the wrong things.”
Issue No. 2: The puppy and older dog eat the same food
This actually isn’t ideal, Venator says. “We like to feed our pets separately,” he says, noting that it’s usually best to try to find a specific formula to match your pet’s life stage. Penelope, for example, would benefit most from a puppy formula like Puppy Chow, while Barkley would do better with a food that’s targeted toward older dogs like Pro Plan Bright Mind.
If you’re changing up your pet’s food, don’t do it all at once. Instead, Venator recommends doing a “gradual transition over seven days” by mixing their old food with the new.
Issue No. 3: The puppy will only use wee wee pads inside the home
Penelope and Barkley go for regular walks outside, but the puppy actually holds it in and only relieves herself on a wee wee pad when she’s inside. “Once in a while, she will poop outside but not urinate,” Strum says.
To encourage her to feel more comfortable relieving herself outside, Venator recommends using a wee wee pad made of artificial grass indoors. “It may make her more comfortable with grass,” he says.
It can take time to get new dogs up to speed while also taking care of an older dog. But taking these steps and more can help speed up the transition, Venator says.
This article was paid for by Purina and created by Yahoo Lifestyle branded content team. The Yahoo Lifestyle editorial staff did not participate in the creation of this content.