Should I get a third dog? How many dogs is too many? What are the pros and cons of getting a 3rd dog? These might be questions that have run across your mind if you are reading this post. Is going from two to three pups much different? It is important to do your research and consider all the things that come with a 3 dog household.
Pros and Cons of Getting a 3rd Dog
The Great Things about Having Three Dogs (Pros)
1. Abundance of Playtime + Social Interaction
It’s a no brainer that having more dogs allows more opportunity for playtime and socializing. My dogs love having each other as companions. Whenever I am not able to give them attention due to work or other obligations, they have a built-in playmate at home.
2. Helps Ease Separation Anxiety
Dogs can become very attached to their humans. This can cause a great deal of stress if your dog struggles with separation anxiety. Having other dogs around can help to ease the anxiety when you have to leave for multiple hours in the day. The companionship of the other dogs can help provide comfort, support, and a healthy distraction while you are away.
3. Reduces Boredom
Most dogs require a lot of attention and like to keep busy. Having other dogs in the household helps with the destruction that can come along with boredom. While I am busy working, my dogs will often play with each other or chase each other around. This is a win-win because it burns off built-up energy while also being fun for your dogs. Check out this post for ideas on how to tire out your pack.
4. Never-ending Love
Having three dogs means there will never be a shortage of love and affection. Their unconditional love is one of the best things about having a dog in the first place. The math is simple…three dogs means 3x the love (and cuddles).
5. Added Layer of Security
While you should never use a dog as your primary and only layer of protection, they certainly can add an extra layer of security. According to this post in The Guardian, barking dogs are one of the most effective deterrents in home burglaries. While small dogs might not pose much of a physical threat they can help make you aware of a potential problem faster. A three dog household is not likely to be at the top of a burglar’s list of potential homes to invade.
6. Higher Activity Levels
Can your dog help you be healthier? According to the American Heart Association, studies have shown that people who walk their dogs average 30 minutes more exercise a day than people who do not. A dog can help hold you accountable on the days you don’t feel like getting active. Sometimes going for a walk is the last thing I want to do, but I know my dogs need that walk so it gives me that extra push to go.
The Not-so-Great Things about Having Three Dogs (Cons)
1. Added Expenses
It’s no secret as the number of dogs increase so do the expenses. Three dogs means triple the food, vet bills, boarding fees, grooming care, treats, etc. I soon realized how much things add up when we went from having only one dog to two (and in this case three). Make sure to take this important factor into account when considering adding a third dog to the mix.
2. More Mess around the House
Having three dogs around the house means more opportunity for messes- dirty paws, torn-up toys, kibble on the floor, etc. It also means an abundance of dog hair…everywhere. Potty training can also become tricky if you happen to be training multiple dogs at the same time. My mom has three dogs and she has expressed the bathroom incidents are one of the most challenging parts of having three dogs around the same age.
3. Dog Walks can be Difficult
It can be quite the challenge to walk three dogs at the same time. Your dog walks can go from enjoyable to stressful in minutes. In reality, three dogs want to walk at different speeds in different directions. There are special leashes you can buy that are made for walking multiple dogs. Just remember, the more you take your dogs on walks the better it will get.
4. Hard to Divide Attention
When you think about having three dogs, it’s easy to think of all the love they will bring. While true, it can also be difficult to divide your attention between your dogs. Dogs can feel jealous of one another if they feel like they are not getting the attention they need.
5. Can Make Traveling Complicated
Having three dogs can make traveling a challenge. You will need a vehicle with a good amount of room if you plan on bringing your pack along for the trip. If you decide to leave your pups at home, make sure you find a reputable dog-sitter that is comfortable taking care of multiple dogs at a time.
There is always the option of boarding but make sure you are booking your reservation with plenty of time in advance. In my experience, I have found some boarding facilities will allow you to board two dogs in one room but I have never seen them offer a room for three. Therefore, you will probably need to book multiple spots.
6. Odd-Dog-Out Mentality
The odd-dog-out problem can be present at times when you have three dogs. My mom mentioned this is a common thing in her household. Two of her dogs will often “team up” with the other and leave the third dog out. This might not be an issue for every trio but I thought it was something to consider.
3 Dog Pack Dynamics
Once you start adding more pups to the family, you are essentially building your own little pack. It is important to keep the personality of your dogs in mind when you are considering adding a third to the mix. Are your dogs more on the shy side and take awhile to warm up to new things? Are they high-energy and a bit chaotic at times? You will want your new dog to complement the personalities of your established pups.
Do you have small children? How old are your dogs at home? Are you comfortable with managing a group of dogs at once? These are all important things to consider when adding a new dog to your family.
Final Thoughts: My best advice is to make your own list of the pros and cons of getting a 3rd dog. Don’t make a rash decision. A dog is a long-term commitment and you want to make sure you are providing the best life possible for any pup you bring home.
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