The Fine Line Between Just Enough and Too Many Pets
If one pet is fun, why not another? Multiple pet households are not uncommon, and usually include more than one species. And if each animal’s needs are carefully and thoughtfully provided for, it can make a great deal of sense to a happy-go-lucky, on the go, adventurous household. However, when the balance is out of whack between the amount of pets and their ongoing health and safety requirements, an owner may very well have too many pets.
Know the Score
Pet care is not something that gets easier the more pets you have. Instead it could be argued that the more pets a person has, the less care each individual pet receives.
Every pet deserves to have their basic needs met, but responsible pet ownership goes above and beyond the bare necessities.
Check the Boxes
Age-appropriate food, clean water, shelter, safe and sanitary conditions, exercise, and environmental enrichment (toys, scratchers, food puzzles, etc.) are part of basic pet care. When too many pets are competing for resources, an owner may not be able to fulfill the following necessities:
- Routine veterinary care, including spaying/neutering, parasite prevention, vaccinations, and dental care
- Emergency care
- Housing (renters may be at risk of eviction if they have more than one animal)
- Living quarter with adequate space (essential for pets to feel comfortable and secure; without it, behavioral problems are likely)
- Time (each pet requires a minimum 20-30 minutes of exercise, socialization, and attention each day)
Too Many Pets Vs Hoarding
Having too many pets can be stressful for everyone in the household, pets and people alike. An unbalanced pet-to-human ratio is difficult to manage financially, physically and emotionally.
Unfortunately, pet hoarding is a common problem. Sometimes it starts slowly with a kind-hearted person taking in a stray. Over time, this repeated pattern leads to unintentional hoarding and can create more suffering in the long-term. If the living conditions are less than ideal, property damage, illness, infectious disease, and uncontrolled litters are inevitable.
We understand the draw to be surrounded by lots of cute, cuddy, affectionate animals. However, the reality is that if each pet isn’t carefully provided for, an owner likely has too many pets to care for at home. It might not necessarily feel overwhelming to owners of multiple pets, but pet health, safety and well being may be suffering.
Responsible pet ownership hinges on meeting a pet’s every need. When this is done well, everybody in our community wins.