Sometimes we get into a situation where we find ourselves sharing a dog between two homes. I call this situation Split Pupstody. It may be a cat or other pet as well. Whatever the case, or how you got to this point there are some tips that can help you, and your pet with the transition between homes.
In my case, it is Link who is shared between two homes, my grand-dog. You see, my daughter moved back home for awhile. Then she moved back into her own place again. During the time she was at home, Link became very happy here. He has a big backyard, loves
playing with tormenting the cats, and of course Lyla and he enjoys time together, even if Lyla pretends not to.
Yet, his mama is his mama after all and he needs to also be with her. Over at his mama’s new place lives Helios, her boyfriend’s dog. A gigantic hunk of love, a black lab, and husky mix. It’s almost comical to see tiny Link next to behemoth Helios. They do love each other though.
So my daughter and I decided to share pupstody. This way Link gets the best of both worlds, and we all get to love Link.
Sharing A Dog Between Two Homes: Split Pupstody
When Sharing A Dog Routine Is Important:
Routine is very important to your pets.
Be sure that there is a consistent routine for your dog when going back and forth between the homes.
My daughter and I worked up a schedule.
She has Link at her home Monday through Friday.
I take Link Friday afternoon through Monday afternoon.
Not only is this healthier for Link but it helps my other pets know what to expect as well.
In addition, it just keeps things easier to manage for us humans.
See my article on why routine is important to your pets for more helpful pet advice.
A Consistent Diet Is Important When Sharing A Dog:
Feeding the same food and treats, at the same time is key.
Pets often are more on track with their feeding schedule than we are.
My Lyla even knows exactly when it’s time for her medication.
Be sure you have the same feeding schedule and the same foods to keep your pet healthy.
Sure you can offer a special treat in each home that is different to give your pet something to look forward to.
Just do not overdo it.
Make sure communication is clear between the people in each household.
Medications Need To Be Very Well Communicated:
Split daily medications so that your pup has what he or she needs in each home.
Be sure one person is in charge of picking up and splitting up medications.
When it comes to monthly medications, such as heartworm, flea, and tick, etc be sure both parties know who will be in charge of it.
Double dosing is dangerous for your pet.
As mentioned above stick to a routine when it comes to what time of day the medications are given at each home.
Veterinarian Appointments And Communication:
All parties involved in the pets life should be a part of communication with the animal’s vet.
Everyone should meet the vet and be on the list for decision making regarding the pet’s health and care.
When it comes to your pet’s health, both parties need to have communication skills.
When only one party can be present at a vet appointment clear communication about that visit should be shared.
An emergency vet should also be established near each person’s home.
Special Items When Sharing A Dog:
When sharing a pet having a special item that travels back and forth is nice for the pet.
It is comforting to them to have smells of both homes, and all their humans around them.
Link has a blanket that travels with him.
The sense of smell is very strong in dogs, and important to them.
When Link comes to my home, one of the first things he does is go into Emma’s old room and sniffs it out.
It is comforting to him to sense both his mother and his grandmother nearby, even if we are not there.
Place-Specific Items When Sharing A Dog:
It is also nice for pets to have special items that stay at each home.
There are some favorite toys Link enjoys having at both places, such as his tuggy.
We have an identical tuggy, and an identical ball at each home.
Yet, it is also fun for Link to have different toys that he can only enjoy in one home or the other.
Let’s face it, we all like having something different to look forward to when we go somewhere.
Dogs need something specific to each home that they too can enjoy.
At Link’s mama’s house, he has a small wading pool.
Here at my home, he has a ridiculous hard poky chew toy he adores.
I can’t imagine why he likes the thing, it looks painful, and it is as I have stepped on it a time or two.
Yet, he loves it.
Harnesses, Leashes, Collars Oh My!:
Every pet should have a collar and leash at the very least, yet having backups is a good idea.
Keeping an extra set at each home comes in handy should a collar break.
I always make sure my daughter has a leash in her car when picking up Link.
Imagine the car breaking down and not having a leash to safely wait for help away from the road.
In fact, anything that it takes to care for a pet and be a great pet parent should be a part of both homes.
That includes pet beds, food and water dishes, toys, blankets, medications, and food.
Speaking of collars, be sure that you have both of your phone numbers on your pet’s tag!
Pet Travel Safety When Sharing A Dog:
If you plan to travel frequently with your pet it is wise to consider a safe way to do so.
For me, I prefer to crate Link when I transport him.
While my daughter does most of the transportation I do not feel safe having Link lose in my car.
That is why I use a crate I can buckle in.
This makes travel safer for both Link and myself, not to mention other drivers around us.
Expenses When Sharing A Dog:
When sharing any pet there will be expenses.
It helps to have defined rules as to who pays for what.
One person could take on vet bills and the other food, supplies, and treats.
Or everything could be split equally.
It all depends on how you and the other party best function and work as a team.
Sharing a pet is a bit like having a child shared between two homes.
There needs to be as much cohesion as possible, yet always keeping the best interest of the pet in mind.
Speaking of cohesion…
Training And Behavior When Sharing A Dog:
Dogs and yes, even cats learn commands, rules, boundaries and so on.
Some people spend far more time training their pets than others.
One thing you want to be sure of is if there are specific rules, or training that goes on, there needs to be consistency in both homes.
Be on the same page when it comes to commands such as sit, stay, leave it, and so on.
Your pet does not need confusion in learning two sets of commands or rules.
This also should include if he or she is allowed on furniture or beds.
In some cases, the above may be the most difficult to agree on between the two parties.
Young Pets And Split Homes:
My advice is don’t do it!
It’s not fair to a young pet.
Just like a child having to go back and forth between mom and dad’s place, it’s not ideal.
Keeping a family whole is always best for any living creature.
A young pup could easily get confused especially if you are trying to focus on training.
Some may argue that a younger pup could more easily adapt but I disagree.
When animals are young we want to teach them about loyalty, security, and that they can depend on us.
That loyalty goes both ways.
If you are not sure how things will play out sharing a pet, don’t test the waters with a younger one.
Granted I would not share pupstody when it comes to my senior dog Lyla due to her health and mobility issues.
She is happy and secure in this home with me.
Link, however, he is a spry little guy who loves travel, car rides and bouncing back and forth.
He thrives doing so.
What To Look Out For:
Does your pet seem happy about the arrangement?
Is he losing weight and not eating well?
Make sure your pet is adjusting and behaving as he or she normally would.
Depression in dogs can be seen in many ways such as lethargy, appetite changes, excessive licking, and hiding to name a few.
Cats can also have depression as can any animal but some are more prone to stress than depression.
Remember, sharing a pet ultimately should be about the pet and their enjoyment of both humans involved.
Not about being selfish and fulfilling only the human need for the pet.
Just like us humans, depression, and stress can lead toward bigger health issues.
Don’t stress your pet out or cause its depression by trying to share.
Look for the red flags during the transition.
When To Share A Pet:
While everyone has their own experiences, sharing a pet is worth a try in some situations more than others.
One situation is due to divorce.
Another being, such as my own situation, when an adult child has moved out of the home the pet grew up in.
While Link did not entirely grow up in my home he did spend a long enough time here that it became his home.
When your pet is healthy and at a good age to remember his or her training.
Sometimes you may want to foster a pet.
I love people who do this!
When you are fostering a pet you know that he or she will eventually transition to a new forever home.
There may be a time period where a split pupstody arrangement is in order.
In some cases, a slower transition helps a pet become accustomed to their new pet family.
Time to build trust is key for some pets who were previously mistreated.
My Daughter And I Work Things Out Well:
Yet, if for any reason sharing a dog became an issue, we would stop.
It all comes down to what makes our Link happy.
And yes, of course, us, but his happiness comes first.
Remember, their lives are totally within our control.
Let’s give them the best life possible!
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I would love to hear from you in the comments.
Have you ever shared a pet?
Did I forget to include anything that would be helpful to other readers?
Can you think of any other situations where sharing a pet may be necessary?
Did you find anything in this article you had not thought of that helped?
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