For avid pet lovers, the question of whether or not you should take on additional pets is something that comes up often in our practice. Many of us want to bring more deserving sweeties home, but wonder if it is appropriate or if we even have the time in our busy lives. 

There is definitely much to consider when thinking about a multi-pet household. This is why the team at The Whole Pet Vet and Wellness Center is here to give you some recommendations and answer the question of how many pets is too many?

What’s the Criteria for How Many Pets an Owner Should Have?

This may seem like an obvious question, but the answer isn’t so obvious. This is because there are multiple factors that go into being a responsible pet owner and what may seem like too many pets to one person isn’t to another. Much of it depends on an honest personal assessment as to what you can take on without compromising the care and quality of your pets’ needs.

There are some cities that have municipal guidelines about how many dogs or cats (or other animals) you can have housed in that location. It’s best to read up on any laws that pertain to pet ownership before asking yourself some questions about your potential pet household.

Some basic rules of thumb to determine your readiness for additional pets include:

  1. You can financially take care of them. Pets, while priceless, can also come with a hefty price tag when it comes to their very best care. From the initial adoption fees, spay or neuter, microchipping, veterinary wellness examinations, vaccines, parasite control, food, and all of the other daily living needs, it is important to have a budget and a reasonable idea of cost.
  2. You have space for them. If you live in a small home or apartment, chances are, you probably don’t have the room for a brood of any kind unless we’re talking fish or gerbils. Most animals need more room to roam and expend their energy through exercise and play. Make sure you have enough room for all of your pets to comfortably move about and still retain their own space and privacy. Overcrowding leads to illness and behavior problems, otherwise.
  3. You have the time. The biggest restraint for would be pet owners is that they are simply too busy with work, family, and other obligations. It can make it hard to have more than a few pets because each one needs and deserves affection, attention, and exercise each day. Consider how the pet chores would be split or if you have any major life changes or time commitments that prohibit your pet from getting the time needed from you.
  4. If you rent, know how many pets you can have. The last thing you want to do is risk being evicted, which is bad for you and unsafe for your furry loved ones. Follow the guidelines set by the rental company before you embark on taking in more critters (as adorable as they may be).

Hoarding is defined as having too many pets that are over the legal limit in a town or municipality or not being able to provide adequate housing, space, and daily care to keep pets healthy. Hoarding can be a problem not just for the pets themselves, but animals that carry diseases are contagious to other animals and people. Hoarding also definitely has some deep psychological components that should be handled tenderly and potentially with professional care. In these cases, it’s often incredibly difficult to self-manage when ‘enough is enough’ and it’s definitely more than just cleaning up. If you think you have a problem with hoarding, particularly when it comes to animals, please seek out non-judgemental assistance who can help all involved without causing additional trauma to humans or animals. 

The Silver Lining

There are times when having an array of animals as pets is a definite positive step, in the case of rescue groups, fosters who care for multiple pets, and those who have all of the factors in caring for a bigger group of cuties. In these cases, they meet all of the basic care needs and go above and behind to give each adopted pet the best and healthiest life imaginable for them.

How Many Pets Is Too Many for You? Please Ask Us.

If you are considering taking on additional pets and would like some pointers on multiple pet ownership, we are here to help. Our team knows many loving families who take in wonderful pets of a variety of species and do so with love, time, and incredible care. If you have any questions about how many pets is too many, or would like to schedule an appointment for your animal friends, please do not hesitate to call.