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How to Know when You Have Too Many Pets

Four Parts:

You’re thinking about adopting or rescuing another pet. However, too many pets can put a strain on your time, energy, finances, resources, and living space. How do you know when to say no to another pet? You need to be sure you can take care of all your animals as well as yourself and follow local ordinances to avoid losing pets, getting fined, or arrested.


Caring For Your Pets

  1. Consider time spent caring for your pets.Cleaning, feeding, grooming, exercising, and ensuring a supply of fresh water is available for your animals takes time. See how long it takes you each day to properly care for all the animals you own. Compare this with the amount of free time you have available after other obligations are met, such as work, school, family time, etc. Make sure you won’t be neglecting another area of your life to care for all your animals.
    • Always remember to take care of your pets. If you don't have time to take care of them all or don't remember which ones you have taken care of that day, you may have to get rid of some of them.
    • Some animal types will require different maintenance. A long-haired dog, for example, probably needs to be brushed daily, while a cat can groom himself. Bird and hamster cages need to be cleaned out and disinfected often, with soiled bedding removed regularly. Be sure to consider the total amount of time you spend on all caretaking tasks for each animal you own each day, week, and month.
    • The amount of free time you have available and are willing to spend caring for pets will determine how much time you spend with them. However, if it takes over two to three hours to take care of all your animals every day, then you may already have too many pets.
  2. Calculate space requirements for your pets.Consider what your living arrangements are —how large is the living area and yard space you have for your animals? If you live in a small upstairs apartment without a yard, then take that into account when thinking about how many animals you can house. If you live out in the country on several acres, then you can probably keep more animals. Remember that each animal needs to have enough room to walk around and not be in a cramped space.
    • While space definitely needs to be considered so that everyone can live together comfortably, time is the more important factor here. If you have the time to walk your dogs, then providing a large area to run in is not as important as making sure you can take them for walks every day to meet their exercise needs.
  3. Make sure you have the ability to care for your pets.Your health status is an important factor to consider when getting more pets. Be aware of what you can and cannot handle without assistance. If you have difficulty getting around on your own, another pet may not be the best idea.
    • Also, consider your mental health status. Depression can make it very difficult to care for yourself as well as pets. Your animals rely on you, so not taking on more than you can handle is very important for everyone’s wellbeing.
    • Animals can cause stress and contribute to mental health problems, such as anxiety.Youare responsible for your pets. The more animals you have, the more their needs, health issues and behavior can weigh on you.
  4. Count the number of pets you already have.Though the number of pets you have can give you an idea of whether you already have a lot, the resources that you have available are more important than the actual number of animals you own.You need to be able to care for and provide an enriching environment for all your animals so that they can be happy and bring you joy as companions instead of more life stress.Consider what species of animals you have as well as individual temperaments and group sexual dynamics before getting another pet.
    • Overcrowding may have a negative effect on the pets you already have. For example, it's recognized that in household with five cats or more there is a high likelihood of inappropriate spraying in order to mark territory. This is because the cats view the presence of other cats as a threat. The more cats, the bigger the perceived threat. So consider whether or not it's fair to take on another pet if it adds to the stress of your existing pets.
    • If you can't count all your pets, or lose count, you have too many pets and shouldn’t get any more.
    • While some people may look down on a person with 10 cats, as long as the owner can provide a sanitary place to live, afford medical care and emergency services for each cat as well as meet their own needs and pay bills, then there isn’t a problem.
    • The pack mentality can increase as you get more dogs, and this can cause more behavioral problems because the social dynamics become more complex and your ability to give attention to each animal is lessened.
    • Mixing male and female animals can increase competition. Hormones, territorial tendencies, and breeding behavior all contribute to problems you will have to deal with. Keep this in mind before adding new pets to the ones you already have.

Paying For Your Pets

  1. Create a budget.Write down your expected expenses and income for the month. Use bank statements, receipts, and bills to help determine what you’re spending every month. Include your house or rent payment, car payments, insurance, groceries, gas, utilities, and other spending. Be sure to include all the expenses related to your pets, such as food, grooming, toys, bedding, supplies, medications, and healthcare costs.
    • Doing this will allow you to see how much you are spending on your pets every month. Consider how adding another pet will change these numbers. Is it something you still want to do?
  2. Consider what you could spend your money on without pets.Looking at the numbers, what could you afford if you didn’t have so many pets? Look at yearling savings as well as monthly. This can really show you whether another pet is worth it or not.
    • If you didn’t have pets, could you increase your entertainment costs or pay for a car? Could you take that trip you’ve been wanting to take? Now, think about the monthly and yearly costs associated with getting another pet. What will you have to cut out of your budget and lose?
  3. Make sure all your needs are being met.Don’t skip meals to pay for your cats’ litter. Make sure you get the nutrition you need and can pay your bills on time. If you’re regularly making late rent payments or not going to the doctor so you can buy your dogs’ food, then you probably don’t need another pet.
  4. Pay for medical care.Medical care for animals can be expensive — sometimes thousands of dollars a visit. You’ll want to be able to save up money regularly in case you need to pay for emergency care or buy prescription medications for your animals. You need to be financially prepared for each animal that you own.
    • Keep up to date with shots. Many young animals need a series of vaccinations the first year and regular rabies vaccinations after that.
    • If you have multiple animals, pet insurance may be a good option. Be sure you can make your payments every month and pay any remaining balances for each pet.

Following Rules and Laws

  1. Find out what the rules are.Your apartment or neighborhood may have rules that dictate the size, breed, and number of animals you can have. Check your lease, talk to your landlord or your neighborhood association to find out if there is a limit to how many animals you can keep on your property.
  2. Check city, county, and state laws.Your local animal control and zoning laws probably dictate how many animals you can keep on your property. Governing bodies do this in order to prevent unsanitary, unhealthy conditions for residents. You will want to call animal control or talk to your city or county administrative office to find out what the local laws are so you can remain in compliance.
    • Pet hoarding, or having too many pets than you can take care of, is likely in violation of your state, city, county, or other local health and zoning laws. You could lose your pets and even your house.
  3. Make sure all pets are licensed.Many cities and counties require animals to be registered and licensed. In order to license pets, the pet often has to be spayed or neutered (or a breeder license purchased) and all shots be up to date. You can be fined or jailed if you do not have all your pets legally licensed.
  4. Consider any children in the house.Because you are responsible for your pets and your children, having too many pets can compromise your ability to care for your children. If you can’t keep your property and home clean or neglect your animals, you can be charged with child neglect or endangerment as well. Make sure your children are taken care of before you consider getting anymore pets.
  5. Be courteous of others.The more animals you have, the more odors and noise they create. Don’t get so many pets that your neighbors start complaining. The size of your residence will play a factor in this as well — an apartment is going to be right next to another apartment, whereas you probably have some space between houses.
    • Many apartments and cities have noise ordinances. Check with yours to make sure that adding another barking dog won’t be a problem.

Dealing With Problems

  1. Be aware of pet hoarding.Some people have a mental illness that causes them to have more than the typical number of pets. They are unable to meet minimal care requirements and cannot recognize that they have a problem — even when animals become ill or die. You will need to contact your local police or health department or humane society if you or someone you know suffers from this condition.
    • The unsanitary conditions of pet hoarding also negatively affect the community by increasing the risk of fire, creating poor air quality, attracting pests, and encouraging the transmission of infectious diseases. It is in your best interest to report suspected pet hoarding cases.
    • When animals do not have access to enough food, live in unhygienic conditions or don’t get medical care, it’s considered to be animal cruelty.
    • If you suspect you may be a pet hoarder, seek professional help right away.
  2. Find a new home for excess pets.If you find that you can’t support the pets you have or take care of them, then you need to give up some of them. You and your animals all deserve to have a good quality of life. If you can no longer give them the attention, time, space, or provide the food or medical care that they need, you must allow them a chance to get the care they deserve with someone else.
    • Friends, family members, and co-workers might be able to take one off your hands. If not, there are many rescue groups, shelters, and animal sanctuaries that can help.
    • Put an add up in your local paper, at a local pet shop, feed store, or on an online site like craigslist.com for the animals you need to give up.
  3. Volunteer or give money to support animal rescue groups or shelters.If you can no longer take care of extra animals, you can still help out in other ways. Support documented 501(c)(3) corporations with a reputation for providing high-quality animal care however you can. Your local shelter can always use your help as well.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    How many animals get adopted each year?

    Veterinarian, Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons
    Dr. Elliott is a Veterinarian who specializes in Companion Animal Medicine in England. She registered with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in 1987.
    Veterinarian, Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons
    Expert Answer
    The ASPCA publishes statistics as to how many animals are rehomed each year. A staggering 3.2 million pets (cats and dogs) are adopted each year in the US. This sounds great, but bear in mind around 6.5 million enter shelters during the same period. You can find out more here: aspca.org/animal-homelessness/shelter-intake-and-surrender/pet-statistics
  • Question
    How many pets are you allowed to have?

    Veterinarian, Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons
    Dr. Elliott is a Veterinarian who specializes in Companion Animal Medicine in England. She registered with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in 1987.
    Veterinarian, Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons
    Expert Answer
    The laws governing pet ownership don't concern absolute numbers but the ability to care for those animals. An owner must be able to provide for all the needs of each individual pet. For example, it might be Person A with 10 cats has plenty of space and meets those needs, while Person B has 5 cats but lives in one room and can't provide properly. Person B would be at risk of cruelty while Person A, who owns more animals, isn't.
  • Question
    I have two dogs, one rabbit and one cat. Is it too much?
    Dieyun Ding
    Top Answerer
    If you can easily care for them and have a large home, then no, that isn't too much. As long as your budget and time can accommodate your pets with extra room to spare, you should be fine.
  • Question
    I have two dogs, a cat, a rabbit, a hamster, one tank with betta fish and another with snails and some tetras. Is that too much?
    Top Answerer
    As long as you are making sure that all their needs are taken care of and each of the mammals are getting the proper attention, you are okay. A betta fish and snails and tetras don't have as many needs, so it doesn't take up as much time and energy. They need to be fed and tanks cleaned once every week or so.
  • Question
    My family (three people) has two dogs, one cat, one Guinea pig, and one bearded dragon. Is that too much?
    Top Answerer
    If you have time to walk and take care of the dogs, can give the cat enough attention and food as needed, have time to clean the Guinea pigs cage a few times a week (or as needed), and the bearded dragon is taken care of, it's not a problem. If things start to get out of hand (some animals being neglected or cages/rooms/litter not being cleaned properly), then you may need to consider having less pets in the future.
  • Question
    I want to get 1 puppy, 1 horse, and 2 chicks. I am 11. Should I reconsider?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Probably, unless your parents' budget and your time allows it. All of those pets require a lot of attention and care, and it's very expensive to buy and maintain a horse.
  • Question
    Is one dog, one rabbit, five cats and lots of fish too much? (Four cats have their own room in the garage, two of them spend half their time in the house and half outside.)
    Community Answer
    If you feel the need to keep cats in the garage, you probably have too many.
  • Question
    How do I know if I have too many fish in one tank?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    You can start by watching the fish very closely. If any of the fish fight over food or space, that is one good sign that you may have too many fish. Also, the general rule is that you should have 1 gallon per 1 inch of fish. So if you have 2 1-inch fish, you must have at least 2 gallons. The bigger the better, though, in terms of tank size.
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Date: 06.12.2018, 14:31 / Views: 64395