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How Many Dogs Is Too Many? 6 Considerations & Advice

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on June 17, 2024 by Dogster Team

golden retriever dogs running at the park

How Many Dogs Is Too Many? 6 Considerations & Advice

Can there ever be too much of a good thing? It seems impossible, but the answer is yes. This applies even to our dogs. Logic would assume that if having a single dog is amazing, then doubling the fun will make life even better. But then, why stop there? Why not get a third dog? Maybe a fourth? Why not have dogs times infinity?

While having an infinite number of dogs might be the dream for some, you absolutely can reach a point where you have too many dogs. But how many dogs is too many? How many dogs does one need to have before it is considered hoarding?

There isn’t a set number to answer those questions; it really depends on circumstances, the dogs, and you. Here’s how to know when you have reached the point of having too many dogs!

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The 6 Factors to Consider Regarding the Number of Dogs You Own

As we said previously, the answer to the question of how many dogs is too many will vary by person. What factors into the equation?

1. Your Dogs’ Wellbeing

veterinarian examining corgi dog's ear
Image Credit: megaflopp, Shutterstock

One crucial factor is how well the dogs are being cared for. If you have six dogs and take them to the vet regularly for shots and check-ups, and whenever they’re ill, six dogs may be fine for you. If you have four dogs who are all kept bathed, groomed, and well-fed, then four dogs could be okay for you. But if you have a bunch of dogs and not all are fed enough, groomed often enough, or taken to the vet as they should be, then you have too many dogs.

2. The Environment They Live In

Another part of the equation is how clean the dog’s environment is. The more dogs that come into your home, the messier things get. However, there’s a difference between simply having dog toys everywhere and having feces piled up in corners of the house. If you’re unable to keep your home clean with the number of dogs you have, you may have too many.

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3. Overcrowding

A lot of dogs in the living room
Image Credit: Eric Isselee, Shutterstock

Overcrowding also factors in. It’s a simple fact that more dogs equals less space for everyone in the house. Do you truly have enough room for all the dogs you have? Is there enough space for the pups to go their separate ways when they need time alone, or is everyone piled on top of one another? And how much room do you and the other people living in the home have to yourselves? Ask yourself if you and your pups have enough room to breathe and whether they have room to play and run and separate when needed. If not, there may be too many dogs in the home.

4. Finances

Finances play a significant role in the equation of “How many dogs is too many?” After all, the more dogs there are, the more expenses there are. A simple way to figure out if you might have too many dogs is to question whether you would be able to handle an emergency with one of them if one arose today. Also, ask yourself whether you’re feeling overwhelmed financially with the cost of food, toys, essential supplies, and vet bills.

5. Behavioral Issues

beagle dog sick sad on bed
Image Credit: Iryna Imago, Shutterstock

Have any behavioral issues shown up in your canine pals? The larger the group of dogs, the more challenging the social dynamics become, which could lead to behavioral issues. Plus, if you don’t have enough time to devote to each pup—if you aren’t able to play with each one or walk each one—then it could lead to behavioral problems, as well.

6. Laws

Finally, are there local ordinances regarding how many dogs you are allowed to keep? Not every state, city, or town will have these, but many do. If you have more dogs than are allowed, you definitely have too many!

Basically, if you don’t have the time, money, or energy to take care of the number of dogs you have (or if you’re breaking the law), you have too many canines.

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How Many Dogs is Considered Hoarding?

The answer to this question is also a bit complicated, as no set number determines a hoarder. Rather, the conditions the dogs are living in and the care of the dogs determine whether someone is hoarding. So, if you have multiple canines but can’t care for them properly, as outlined above, you may be hoarding.

If the dogs in your home aren’t seeing the vet as needed and some are often ill, you may be hoarding. If the home environment has passed the point of messiness and is headed toward squalor, you may be hoarding. If you’ve had dogs pass away and have found yourself unable to part with their body, you’re most likely hoarding.

It’s important to remember that hoarding is a complex psychological issue that can often be misunderstood. If you hoard, there are reasons for doing so, though you may not know or understand them. And if you think you may be hoarding dogs, it’s advisable to reach out to someone for help. Hoarding isn’t good for the canines you’re keeping, but it also isn’t healthy for you. Getting help for hoarding behavior can lead to a happier and more enjoyable life for you, and rehoming some of your current animals can do the same for them.

A handful of Corgis in the bedroom
Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

It’s difficult to say just how many dogs constitute too many or when having several dogs turns into hoarding, as the answer depends greatly on the person who has the animals and how well they care for them. If someone has several canines and all those pups are healthy and happy, there isn’t a problem. But if the opposite is true and the dogs are unhealthy or miserable, a problem likely exists.

If you’re considering getting another dog, think carefully about your reasons for doing so and whether you can reasonably take care of another pet to determine if you’re about to cross the line into having too many dogs.

Featured Image Credit: Kitreel, Shutterstock

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