There’s pet care within a one-pet household, and there’s pet care in a multiple-pet household. The second is a completely different story.
With different needs, dietary requirements, nature, and temperaments, if you’re running a multiple-pet household then you need more careful planning, space, and a separate budget to avoid going crazy.
If you’ve been thinking about adopting a new fuzzy friend, or you already have different pets in your house but you feel like you’re drowning, no worries. You’ve come to the right place.
Keep on reading for our full breakdown of the top eight tips on how to care for all of your pets without having to banish anyone to the dog house (pun intended).
1. Pet Care for Two or More: Start With a Solid Plan
Before we start our deep dive into the intricacies of managing your multiple-pet household, let’s make sure you have a solid foundation and guide that you can use as a reference.
In short, you need to write down and create a separate profile for each of your pets. This profile should include their age, breed, dietary requirements, temperament, vaccination status, and anything else that’s relevant to their well-being.
Once you have that document on hand, you’ll have to grab the necessary tools and products. For instance, you’ll definitely need multiple food bowls.
Moreover, you’ll want to establish a feeding routine where your supervision will be required. At least, until your pets are familiar with each other, as well as you.
2. Anticipate the Feeding Battlefield
Whether you have multiple dogs, multiple cats, or a mix of both, you’re going to have to make your peace with the different eating pace and behaviors of each pet.
A simple comparison would be the difference between a dog gobbling their meal like maniacs and a cat taking its sweet time to decide whether the food you’ve put down is even worth their time or not.
Welcome to the world of separate and selective feeders.
You can use a selective pet feeder to prevent your dog from getting into the cat’s food and incurring its wrath.
3. Consider Your Space
Sure, you might fall for a pair of sad dog eyes (honestly, who doesn’t?).
However, before you consider becoming housemates, you’ll need to survey your space and whether there’s enough room to welcome new pets to the family.
Don’t underestimate the importance of having enough breathing room for both yourself and your furry friends. You’d be surprised at how much faster tempers can fray when there isn’t enough room to eat and space out with comfort.
Also, if you’re renting your place, you’ll want to check in with your landlord on whether you can even bring in additional pets or not.
4. Talk to Your Vet
You’ll want to consult your vet on your needs and whether you’d be able to medically support multiple pets.
At a minimum, you’ll be dealing with double the amount of vaccinations, worm medication, and tick treatments.
Your vet can shed some light on what you should expect when it comes to diseases, especially if you’re introducing a new puppy to a purely feline household, and vice versa.
Besides, you’ll want to check whether your vet would be agreeable to giving you a discounted rate on shots or exams. Most vets will have special deals just for multiple-pet households.
5. You’ll Need Money
Getting a pet is a choice you’ve decided to make. Therefore, you’ll want to ensure that you have a budget that will meet the responsibilities that you’ve decided to double.
Take a close look at your budget. You’ll want to confirm that you have enough funds to cover the basics, like nutrition essentials and medical care.
Furthermore, you’ll want to explore different pet insurance policies. Those tend to help cover your medical basics. Also, in cases of emergencies, they can pay for more specialized treatments, if your furry pal got sick.
6. Read About the Breeds
It would only end in disaster if you decide to bring in a new cute kitten in a household with a reigning Greyhound on the throne.
This is essential if you’re thinking about mixing up your household and having both cats and dogs on the premises. Check whether the dog you already have (or you’re thinking of having) is a sighthound.
Sighthounds are utterly lovely to have. Yet, they have a hunting instinct for anything that’s smaller than them and looks fluffy. In one word: cats.
Whatever your preferred mix of pets might look like, you’ll want to ensure that they have the potential to enjoy each others’ company.
7. Organize All the Pet Toys
The more paws you have in your home, the bigger the opportunity for shenanigans to happen.
You’ll want to keep the chew toys in a separate basket indoors. On the other hand, any tug toy is one that should be kept outside and away from anything fragile.
The same concept goes for squeaky toys. You’ll want to collect those and hide them as the sun goes down, so both you and your neighbors can have a good night’s sleep.
8. Time Manage Your Attention
Nothing is more heartbreaking for your pets to be jealous of each other, because you’ve been spending unequal amounts of time with them.
More pets mean more love and loyalty, but it also means more required attention. You’ll want to interact with your fuzzy babies daily for the necessary attention and care that they need.
Also, you’ll want to ensure that you’re paying equal attention to their training. After all, pets love nothing more than replicating each others’ bad habits.
Ready to Welcome a New Pet to the Family?
If you’re a first-time owner of multiple pets, it’s totally normal for pet care to seem like it’s taking over your life.
However, it doesn’t have to remain this way. Hopefully, our guide has explained the key eight ways you can ensure that you have harmony and peace in your home.
If you liked our article, make sure to check out additional pet tips and advice in our pets section.
Originally a dentist, Anna Strout has written for three years for pet and animal publications. Anna is also a historian who studies dog breed progression throughout the world, dabbles in animal law issues, and collects dog tales while traveling across the country with her husband and German Shepherd Dog, Luna. Anna kicks dust up dancing with Luna at home in Houston, Texas, where she teaches her obedience and tricks.