Considering a New Pet? Here Are Some Terrific Companion Animals for Dogs and Cats

Generally speaking, the type of companion pet we choose to become a part of our family will be either a dog or a cat. However, if you are an animal lover, you probably would delight in having your home filled with not only felines and canines, but a variety of other domesticated or wild animals.

But how would your dog or cat feel about adding another pet into the household?

Will they get along? Become great friends? Mortal enemies? That will depend on what kind of animal you plan to bring into your home.

Getting a companion animal for your dog or cat can be a terrific idea. Not only because another animal’s presence can make your pet feel less alone when you’re not home, they can also be a lot of fun for both you and your pet.

Bringing a New Pet into Your Home

If you are thinking about adding another animal, or even a reptile to your household, you will want to consider a few things before you bring your new pet home to meet the cat and/or dog.

One of the most important things you’ll need to consider will be how your dog and/or cat will react and adjust to their new companion. Not surprising, your pet’s personality will be the number one factor in determining on how well your dog or cat will welcome the new addition to the family.

Is your dog or cat easy going? High-strung? Friendly with other animals? Bossy, territorial, or aggressive? Jealous or possessive when other animals are around? Or, are they playful and curious?

When you know/understand your pet’s personality, it will provide you with a greater insight into what types of other pets will be able to live in harmony with your dog or cat.

What type of animals make the best companions for dogs and cats?

Dogs can live successfully with a variety of other animals:

  • Other dogs
  • Cats
  • Fish
  • Birds
  • Hamsters
  • Rabbits
  • Gerbils
  • Guinea pigs
  • Ferrets
  • Farm animals, such as chickens, sheep, and horses
  • Exotic animals, such as dragons, lizards, and snakes

Living Together

Another dog can be a great companion for your canine. However, you’ll want to stay away from certain breeds that have a dominating personality, have a tendency to be aggressive, or have a higher ‘prey drive’. Here are a few breeds that will get along with other dogs/animals because their personalities are more social & friendly: Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, King Charles Spaniels, Pugs, Poodles, Boston Terriers, and Maltese.

One of the most common companions for a dog is a cat. A dog and cat can become great friends, especially when they are introduced young and ‘grow up’ together. Even if your dog and cat don’t become the best of friends, they can still live in a shared space with minimal to no conflict.

An aquarium with fish can also be a welcome addition to your household. As with other animals that spend their lives in cages, fish have no true interaction with a dog because they spend their lives simply swimming around in the tank.
Birds should never come into close and personal contact dogs because they can be easily injured due to their fragile frame. They can however, live in the same home with a dog because their presence is limited to a cage.

Hamsters, rabbits, gerbils, and guinea pigs make terrific companion animals for dogs. Simply knowing another animal is in the house can help a dog feel less lonely; and, because these animals live most of their lives in cages, they will never have to interact unless you take them out for a supervised encounter, or they happen to escape and have the freedom to roam around the house. When/if this happens, your dog’s natural curiosity or predator instinct can kick in; so it’s always best to ensure there is no potential for escape or their cage is kept in a room that can be closed off when you are not around.

If you are a pet owner who wants your dog to interact with these animals, just make certain they are properly introduced and monitored properly for safety. Guinea pigs and rabbits, because of their size, will fare better in the presence of a dog. Oftentimes, dogs will even relax and play together with these two companion pets.

Ferrets are also a good companion choice because they have been known to get along well with dogs. However, because of its playful energy, a ferret won’t know its limits and might become a pest when your dog is tired of playing and has had enough.

Dogs and farm animals have a long history of being compatible. A dog’s herding instinct makes it comfortable to not only interact with farm animals, but to also live together harmoniously and even enjoy each other’s company.

If you choose an exotic pet to become a part of your household, safety for both your dog and the reptile should always be a priority. Although exotic pets and dogs can co-exist peacefully in the same space. Snakes, lizards, bearded dragons, and similar reptiles should always be kept in their respective cages or tanks and only come into contact with each other if you are present to monitor their interaction.

What Pets Make Good Companions for Cats?

  • Other cats
  • Dogs
  • Rabbits
  • Guinea pigs
  • Hamsters
  • Ferrets
  • Birds
  • Farm animals, such as chickens, sheep and horses
  • Exotic animals, such as dragons, lizards and snakes

Cats Co-existing with Other Animals

As with dogs, you’ll need to determine how your cat will react to another animal. Although many cats are considered independent loners, there are felines who actually enjoy the company of other animals. You should be aware that cats are territorial by nature so any animal you bring into the home might be initially treated like an unwelcome infiltrator. The key to a successful multi-animal home environment will be how the introductions are managed during their first few encounters and the amount of face-to-face time they have getting to know each other.

Cats can be the ‘purrfect’ companion for each other. Typically, if you add another cat to your household, it is ideal if they are close in age because they are more apt to get along well if they grow-up together. If this isn’t possible, research suggests that a cat of the opposite sex is more likely to be accepted (especially if your present cat is older) and that same sex males are slightly more compatible than two females. The term fighting like cats and dogs simply doesn’t apply in every circumstance. In fact, dogs and cats can co-exist quite well- and they often become the best of friends especially when they can grow old together.

Rabbits can be cozy companions for a cat under the right circumstances. You’ll need to remember that cats are predators and rabbits are prey animals. Managing their living spaces separately, making a proper introduction, and monitoring their time together can all help your cat and rabbit to become great friends.

Hamsters and guinea pigs have been known to peacefully co-exist in the same home with a cat. As with rabbits, hamsters and guinea pigs can be considered prey to a kitty. Therefore, separating their living spaces, properly introducing them, and supervising their visits will help you achieve a harmonious, multi-pet home.

Ferrets are social animals so they work well as an additional pet. Similar to cats, ferrets are active and naturally playful creatures, so when/if they develop a relationship with each other, these two will have a lot of fun together.

Although a bird and cat combination isn’t always recommended because of a cat’s innate proclivity to consider them prey, a bird that knows it is safe in its cage and has little to no interaction with the cat can safely and easily live in a home with a feline.

Cats and farm animals have been co-existing peacefully for centuries. In fact, felines who live on a farm with other animals are typically called barn cats’. These cats live in the barn with cows, chickens, goats, etc. because their job is to control the vermin population. For the most part, many farm animals are quite docile creatures so they will co-exist well with other furry four-legged friends.

Cats and exotic animals like snakes or lizards aren’t always the best match but they can co-exist if the reptile is kept in a secure cage or tank. Ironically, cats do seem to get along well with bearded dragons because they are not considered typical prey for a feline. Bearded dragons are also considered calm, docile, and friendly creatures so they are unlikely to be aggressive or attack other animals. Even if your cat and exotic animal don’t become cuddly companions, they can safely and peacefully reside in the same house together. 

In Closing…

When it comes to choosing a companion pet for your dog or cat, youll want to choose wisely.

Your canine or feline’s personality will play an important role in any additions you make to your household. How well the introductions go, along with how much time they will spend interacting with one another (under your supervision, of course!) will be important indicators on whether they will be able to share their home/space with one another. Your dog/cat’s safety, as well as the other pet’s safety will be key in choosing a second pet that can coexist in a harmonious home. Finding the right balance between your pet’s personality, the type of second pet you choose, along with a little patience on your part will ensure both animals will enjoy each other’s company for many years to come.



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