A family sitting with their dogs and cats in the yard

Any time spent watching the news usually includes a story or two about pet hoarding. It’s an unfortunate occurrence that can harm the animals themselves but also the community. These circumstances may seem extreme, but people having too many pets is common. 

For pet lovers, it is hard to imagine not wanting to have a few pets in the household. After all, more wonderful sweeties to care for and love. But, as you probably know, there is a limit to this desire to care.

The Pet Experts at Naperville Animal Hospital are here to discuss the reasons why having several pets can be a problem, as well as what to watch for in a pet hoarding situation.

A Pet’s Basic Needs in Order to Thrive

Other than love, there are many things a pet needs to have a healthy, happy life. This seems like it’s a no-brainer, but there is more to it than that. What are a pet’s basic needs?

  • Food and water
  • Shelter that is big enough to accomodate the species
  • Pet bowls, litter box and litter, waste bags, leash, collar, and other supplies
  • Toys and enrichment
  • Veterinary care
  • Vaccines and parasite prevention
  • Microchip

This is only a list of the basics, because there are many more things that come up in every pet’s life that require additional items. The other thing that cannot be underestimated is time. Each pet requires your time and attention to exercise them, give them opportunities for play, train and socialize them, and so on. 

Having one too many pets can put an emotional, financial, and time restraint on the whole family. And, it can harm the pets in the long-run.

Internal Hoarding

There are times when adopting or fostering several pets is noble and helps benefit the pets involved. This is a case-by-case situation, and each individual has to understand their readiness to take on the responsibility. If someone haplessly ends up with too many pets, this may not be a planned hoarding, but one that is unintentional out of kindheartedness. Nevertheless, if the pets are harmed in the process, or the law or rental property restricts the number of pets,

 and you have too many, the outcome is the same. 

When You Have too Many Pets

So, since there is some subjectivity to the number of pets a person should keep, are there signs to watch for when it’s a problem? Yes. When a pet owner is overwhelmed they:

  • Cannot afford to provide food and other necessities for daily life
  • Do not take their pets in for veterinary care
  • Do not spay or neuter their pets
  • Are at risk of being evicted or cited
  • Are receiving complaints from family members and friends
  • Can’t spend time to exercise and give attention to each of the pets
  • Health and/or behavioral problems have cropped up among the pets

Pet hoarding or having too many pets is a serious issue that affects animals and the public negatively. Pet hoarding leads to illness, including contagious disease, as well as an increase in the pet population. For more information on hoarding, please call us. We are here to assist you with anything related to your furry friends.