Is There Such A Thing As Too Many Pets? 

Pets are family. Studies show that at least 70% of us agree with that statement. Many of us would love to have as many pets as we can, saving them from a life in the shelter. It’s easy to remember that special moment when you met the furry love of your life, and it can be hard to say no when you’re an animal lover. 

But is there a limit to how many pets a person can care for? Beverly Hills Veterinary Associates explores the line between garden variety pet owners, benevolent rescuer, and out of control animal accumulators. 

The Care, Not The Number

Though one might assume there is a clear number of pets over which one becomes classified as a hoarder, it really comes down to the care of the animals. It may be that one household has 10 cats, all of which are impeccably cared for. Or it may be a household with 5 pets and the living situation constitutes the definition of “hoarding.”

Hoarding, in fact, isn’t about a number. It’s a compulsive need to acquire animals that reaches an overwhelming state, resulting in unintentional animal neglect or abuse. 

How To Know If You Have Too Many Pets

Some pet owners have the resources, time, and space to adopt many pets. And there’s no absolute answer to how many pets are too many, as this is often an individual decision. 

However, there are some questions to ask that may help to determine if someone you know is in trouble. 

  • Are the pets properly taken care of in terms of modern veterinary care standards and animal welfare practices? 
  • Is there evidence of overcrowding in the living space? Does each animal have the space to retreat if feeling stressed?
  • Can the owner provide daily care for each pet without feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or irritated?
  • Are the pets and the environment clean?
  • Financially, can the owner responsibly provide for veterinary medical care, including emergency care if needed?

In addition to these questions, most municipalities have legal limits for the number of pets that any one household can keep. 

A Friend Indeed 

Assuming the questions above are answered honestly, any responses in the negative are a warning sign that the situation may be less than manageable. However there are those who don’t have a clear perspective on their own life. Concerned friends could consider an intervention with a pet owner who seems overwhelmed. And pet owners should seek a number of pet loving friends to help them honestly answer these questions. 

Most of us and those we know are not at serious risk of becoming animal hoarders. But by acting responsibly, we can ensure the animals in our care get the very best they deserve. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please give us a call