If one dog is good, then two, three, or more must be even better, right? Having a multi-dog home can be great, but it’s not for everyone or every dog. Many dogs thrive in a home with other pups, but not all can adjust. For example, if your dog isn’t comfortable around other dogs, bringing home another puppy might not be the best choice. It’s important to be thoughtful and prepared before adding a dog or multiple dogs to your family. If you do decide to take on multiple dogs, there are a few important considerations.
Cost Of Owning Multiple Dogs
The more dogs you have, the larger the budget you will need to care for them. In addition to daily maintenance, like food, toys, and treats, expenses like training and vet care will be increased as well. Pet health insurance is another recurring charge to consider. You’ll want to do long-term financial planning for the costs of adding additional dogs to your family. When looking at your budget, pay special attention to added veterinary costs for senior dogs or injured dogs that need surgery or longer-term care. At the end of the day, owning multiple dogs can be expensive. The decision simply isn’t the right financial choice for everyone at every stage in life.
Beyond finances, the biggest challenge for many people owning multiple dogs is having enough time for them. While many dogs enjoy engaging and playing with other pups in the home, that doesn’t diminish the amount of time each dog needs and deserves from you. Some people choose to add dogs to their homes to keep another dog company. Sometimes this works. However, if you have one lonely and bored dog while you spend long hours at work, adding another might mean you end up with two lonely and bored dogs.
All canines need individual focus, attention, play, and training daily, in addition to regular grooming. Having multiple dogs means an increase in the daily time spent playing and working with your dogs to make sure each is getting enough attention.
Some dogs will be happy to spend unsupervised time together after being properly introduced. But depending on the ages, sizes, and temperaments of the dogs, you may need to plan for ongoing supervision. Unless you’re confident the dogs do well together without being redirected, you shouldn’t leave multiple dogs loose together. Instead, utilize crates, gates, or different rooms to create areas of the house for each dog.
There are also safety considerations to owning multiple dogs, particularly with dogs of different ages or sizes. When you have dogs with different energy levels, it’s important to ensure that the more active dogs can meet their needs without bothering calmer dogs. Avoid creating a situation where dogs have to sort things out between themselves. Instead, redirect the more energetic dog before the calmer dog gets frustrated. Similarly, you want to be particularly careful to supervise small dogs who live with large dogs.
Even in play, a small dog can easily be accidentally injured by a much larger canine sibling. The larger the size difference between your dogs, the more you may need to closely supervise play and other interactions.
Having a routine is helpful for many dogs, and this can be especially true in multi-dog households. In addition to allocating time to spend individual time with each dog, it’s a good idea to be consistent about where different dogs eat meals.
Feeding dogs in separate areas of the home or in crates can help prevent any resource guarding. Similarly, making a practice of giving high-value treats to dogs in separate areas of the home can be beneficial to avoiding conflicts between dogs.
It’s An Individual Choice
At the end of the day, it’s your choice regarding how many dogs you bring into your family. Only you can know what feels right for you. For some people, one or two dogs is the right number. For others, especially those who compete in dog sports, the right number of dogs might be more.
More dogs can mean a lot of fun, but also a lot more responsibility. Before adding a dog or multiple dogs to your family, it’s important to cool the puppy fever. Think critically about if your dog will want to live with other dogs and if you have the time, money, and capacity to give additional dogs everything that they need and want.