Guest post: Pros and Cons of Being a Multi-Pet Household

Oct 9, 2013

Pros and Cons of Being a Multi-Pet Household

By The North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association

Like nearly every situation in life, making the decision to be a multi-pet household is one that should not be taken lightly, and which has multiple pros and cons.


Multiple pets mean more companionship. If you are away from home often or do not have the hours you would like to spend with your pet, bringing another pet into your home can be a great benefit. It offers increased companionship, in a unique way that humans cannot mimic, and a fun playmate for your first pet, who will be less lonely and much happier because it has a buddy even when you cannot be around.

Your pets will likely be healthier. When you have more than one pet, they are naturally more likely to play with one another, increasing their exercise and overall health. This can help even aging pets regain some of their energy, as they are encouraged to keep up with their younger companion. Additionally, pets that have another animal pal typically suffer less from separation anxiety.

Your pets will be more social and have better behavior. Pet socialization is critical to their well being, and living with another animal will accelerate natural socialization. Additionally, pets can learn from one another as they watch pet-human interaction, and this often results in better behavior and quicker response time to training. Many multi-pet owners report that both of their pets benefit from watching the other in training.


Some animals do not want to live with other animals. These are habits that are difficult to change, and should be handled delicately. Perhaps most important is to try to avoid having two dominant animals in the same household. Consider introducing your pets before making one or both of them permanent fixtures in your home on neutral territory (a park is a great option), so that neither has a stake in where they meet for the first time.

Multiple pets means splitting your time between each of them. This is very difficult for some pet owners who are used to spending one-on-one time with their animal. With each pet in the household, the individual time available for each animal is reduced. It is very important for multi-pet owners to make a conscious effort to spend time with each pet. For instance, if your pets cannot be walked together, it can be helpful to make the time that you spend walking each high-quality time focused just on that pet.

More pets cost more money. Having multiple pets means that you will spend more money on food, trips to the veterinarian and other pet-related costs. Some multi-pet owners spend more money monthly feeding their animals than they do feeding themselves. Additionally, if you are charged by weight for the amount of garbage that is removed from your residence each week, factor in the cost of disposing pet-related trash.

There is a good chance your house or yard will be messier. While two pets can bring more happiness to your home, they can also bring bigger messes. When you double the number of pets in your home, you double the amount of shedding and hair to be cleaned up, as well as the amount of maintenance that will have to be done in your yard and home.

There are many things to consider before bringing home more than one pet. As with all pet issues, consult with your veterinarian to make the decision that will have a positive outcome for you, the pets you have and your entire family.

The North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association (NCVMA) is a professional organization of veterinarians dedicated to compassionate animal care and quality medicine. For more information, visit, follow us on Twitter at @NCVMA, or call (800) 446-2862 or (919) 851-5850.