How Many Pets Are Too Many? A Guide to Preventing Hoarding

How Many Pets Are Too Many? A Guide to Preventing Hoarding

You love pets and it shows, but how many pets are too much? Learn how much may be too much and when you may expect problems.

How many pets are too many? It all depends on how many pets you can handle. There are pet owners that own five or more pets and can manage them very well, while there are pet owners that may be struggling with only one or two. The only way to tell how many pets one could handle is by taking a careful assessment of the whole picture. Total honesty is the key to obtaining a true, reliable assessment.

Evaluating Overall Space

Do your pets have sufficient space? Are their living quarters crowded? Lack of space may cause fights to erupt, pets may be more likely to emanate odors and they are also more likely to spread diseases.

Evaluating Overall Well Being

In other words, do your pets look happy? Not all pets do well around other pets. Dogs may fight over food, toys, or attention. Cats may be territorial and fight over a favorite sleeping spot or over who eats first. Serious fights may ensue if one pet does not get along with another pet and they are forced to live under the same roof. Sometimes pets must be separated to prevent injuries and this option should be evaluated carefully. At times, re-homing the pet may be the best option.

Evaluating Health and Sanitation

Do your pets look healthy? Are there strong odors? Happy pets are healthy and there should not be overwhelming smells. While rescuing many pets may look like a great act of charity depriving them of living clean and healthy may be considered neglect. Lack of proper vet care, exercise and space are also contributing factors that may cause problems.

These are some very important questions to ask. The answers can make the difference between becoming a hoarder or a responsible pet owner. If you are struggling to care for your pets or if your pets are smelly and dirty these are indicators you own too many pets. Animal Control at this point has the right to take your pets and give them a better home.

Making an Honest Assessment

But how many pets are too many? Is there really a magic number? With dogs, more than two may cause some more serious fights for leadership especially between same-sex specimens. Ideally, male and female combos seem to work the best. Male-male and female-female combinations may endure into serious fights at times especially if not neutered or spayed.

Cats may also not get along too well especially when there is female in heat around. Male cats can seriously bite contenders and these bites often turn into serious infections that require immediate veterinary attention. Many households do well with two cats, they keep each other company and have a playmate.

Many times pet owners have found that their pets get very well along. Their home has harmony and they have found the magic number. Then one day, they decide to add another pet and their home is in havoc. The pet is not accepted by the others and there are fights. Many times, these are only temporary issues but there are cases, where pets may never be trusted together. Is it really worth it to disrupt harmony?

What the Law Says

Failure to provide proper care to pets may result in prosecution under animal cruelty laws. Penalties for neglecting pets according to Animal Law Info may result in fines, animal forfeiture, and jail time.

While you may feel like your heart has unlimited space for many strays, you need to carefully evaluate and realize that you really can do so much. As with almost everything in life, excess causes more harm than good. What may seem to be a great act of compassion may end up becoming a collection of pets that are fighting, dirty or worse, very sick.

Ricarda Rutter

*Ricarda Rutter is a Ten News reporter. She’s an award-winning and Walkley nominated journalist. She has worked at the SBS, ABC, and Triple R.Rutter is a mother and a wife.