image of a multi-dog family

Judgment Free Zone: Your Pet Family Size

Has anyone ever criticized your pet family size or how many pets are in your home? This can go both ways; people can pass judgment if they feel you have too many, or too few pets. This is generally just a projection of what they feel is right for them. Everyone has their own ideals, and all too often, people think what is right for them is right for everyone. Well, it’s not.

Some people might be comfortable having a family of six, and for others, just a Mom or Dad and one dog or cat, is right for them. What is important, is to trust your own heart and your own judgment. Don’t let anyone make you feel shame or guilt, or question your own heart. The reality is, we all only truly know ourselves. 

Things to consider for your own pet family, and before passing judgment on others:

  • How much time do you have to dedicate to each pet? For some people, individual attention does not have as high of a value as it does for others. They might feel that a big happy family takes care of itself, and see the joy in multiples. Yet for someone else, it’s all about one-on-one time. Someone with a busy work schedule and time away from the house might want more than one dog so they can keep each other company while the parent is at work. But that is not the case for everyone.
  • What is a realistic budget for care? Again, this is highly individual. Some people might find that having a larger family and being able to provide good nutrition and veterinary care is totally sufficient. For others, their pet budget might allow for one. Also consider the quality of care you are comfortable with. 
  • Are there any health concerns that already exist in the family? This goes for both the caregiver as well as any other dogs or cats in the house. 
  • Does noise or chaos create stress or anxiety for someone in the house? Having a multi-pet household is not for everyone. Some people or pets might need to have more quiet time to have peace within themselves. Others love the abundance of barks and tail wags that a multi-pet household brings.
  • Does anyone have allergies in the household? While a caregiver might be able to manage allergies with one dog or cat, adding another might be too much.
  • What is your comfort zone with cleaning? While excess hair and dander might not be a big deal for some, it could create stress for others. Respect everyone’s individual comfort. 
  • Do you like to travel with your dog? What kind of trips do you take? If you prefer air travel, think about the cost and how many carriers you can handle. For in-cabin travel, airlines allow one carrier per person. How many pets will a hotel allow? Some people might prefer to leave their animals at home when they travel, or they might not travel much. For others, taking their dog traveling with them could be an integral part of their happiness and relationship.
  • Do you live with a small dog or a senior? Consider the safety and well-being of the dog that is already a part of your family. Small dogs and seniors can often get hurt by a well-meaning larger or younger dog. It’s your responsibility to first look after the family you already have. Mixing sizes should also always be done with caution and consideration for the more vulnerable dog.
  • What type of situation did you grow up in? For example, people that grew up with brothers and sisters, generally are more comfortable in group situations than those who grew up alone. The same can go for how many pets they grew up with as well as how that pet has been socialized.  
  • Do you have any physical limitations? Be realistic about what you are able to do without assistance or stress.
  • If you are a renter, how many pets does your landlord allow? Be aware that HOA’s may also have rules governing the number of pets in a household.  The same goes for city ordinances.
  • What are the preferences of pets that already live in the house? While some pets enjoy the company of others, many prefer to be the only one. For some dogs, adding another can be a downright disaster.

Follow Your Own Heart

Always be honest with yourself and follow your own heart. You know what is right for you and your family. It’s important to honor that. Don’t let anyone bully you into thinking you are making a selfish choice, for having too few or too many pets in your house. Respect others’ choices and honor your own, in all things. Light and love always follow a true heart.

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