Some people wonder whether to get a new dog when it seems clear that the dog they have is dying. They feel it might be easier if there’s no gap between pets. We recommend against it; it’s not fair to the old dog in your care. He needs your undivided affection and attention at that point, and nothing will draw away attention like a new dog, especially if you get a puppy, who needs to bond with you and get used to your household.

Furthermore, your dog may not like the new dog, so you risk subjecting him to unhappy social interactions in his last days. Even if he does like the new pet, he won’t be up to the second dog’s energy and desire to play. Toward the end of life, old dogs often don’t want to be bothered.

As for taking in a dog after you lose one, most people don’t want to until they’re done grieving, and their instincts are right. It doesn’t feel good to try to bond with a new pet while the loss of the one you have loved for a decade or more remains raw.

It’s not fair to the new dog, either. A dog’s entry into

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