For most animal lovers, having a home with more than one pet is a no-brainer. In fact, for social animals like guinea pigs and ferrets, it’s unhealthy for them to be “only kids.” Dogs and rabbits also do well when they have another pet for companionship, play, and enrichment.

Multiple pet households are the norm, but what constitutes too many pets? The team at Union Lake Veterinary Hospital is here to outline when the more the merrier may be detrimental to the health of the pets (and possibly, human family members).

Enough Is Enough

In a perfect world, many of us who adore furry, finned, scaled, and feathered friends would rescue as many pets as we could. But, realistically, there is debate on how many pets is too many. Can we specify a quantity limit? After all, 4 8-pound Chihuahuas weigh less and generally cost less to care for than one Great Dane.

So, the question is, how do you qualify it? Here are indicators that we believe tell us when a person may have too many pets.

  1. You can’t afford to cover their veterinary costs – Let’s face it, pets can be quite expensive. We don’t mind (much) spending money on our furry family members. To give your pets the right care, you must factor in the cost of feeding, veterinary visits, toys, treats, grooming, and so forth.
  2. You are at risk of finding housing – If you are a renter, some landlords believe even one pet is too many. It’s exceedingly difficult to find a rental if you have more than two pets. Many property owners also have breed, size, species, and other restrictions.
  3. Your pets do not have enough space – Pets who feel confined or are housed in tight quarters will be under stress. Owning several cats can create behavioral issues when they cannot access enough privacy. Your living quarters must allow room for the animals to exhibit natural behaviors.
  4. You don’t have the time – Most people lead busy lives and sometimes struggle to spend 20-30 minutes exercising their pets each day. Add 4 or more to the mix, and it can be difficult to adequately give each pet the attention, exercise, and care they deserve.
  5. It is unsafe and unsanitary – If you are finding it hard to keep up with cleaning and caring for your pet’s grooming needs, it can be unsafe for everyone. Not only does it create a smell in the home, but it can also lead to infection and disease for both pets and people.

When Too Many Pets Isn’t Pet Hoarding

The above scenarios go hand-in-hand with a pet hoarding situation, but sometimes having several animals is fine. If you have space, finances, and time to care for your pets, then what others might consider “too many,” may be just fine for you. In situations where someone fosters, they may have several pets at once, but only until they are adopted. Each situation is different.

The goal of pet ownership is to maintain the best life possible for the pets, no matter if you have one or six, or an entire farm! If you have any questions about your pet’s health, please do not hesitate to call.