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Should I Get a Third Dog? 8 Vet-Reviewed Factors to Consider

Written by: Misty Layne

Last Updated on June 12, 2024 by Dogster Team

Three Golden Retriever Dogs stand in the door on the porch ready to go play outside

Should I Get a Third Dog? 8 Vet-Reviewed Factors to Consider


Dr. Amanda Charles Photo


Dr. Amanda Charles

BVSc MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Those already living with two dogs may reach a point where they consider adopting a third canine. If that’s you, you have much to consider before you take the leap in getting a third dog! Adopting dog number three comes with several pros, like more fun, but also some cons, such as added costs. There are a lot of factors to consider!

What are the pros and cons of getting a third dog? What factors should be taken into consideration? Here’s everything you should think about before adopting another pup into your heart and home!

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The 8 Factors to Consider When Thinking About Adopting a Third Dog


Here are some of the pros of inviting a third canine into your home!

1. Companionship

While you already have plenty of companionship in your home with two pups, adding a third gives you even more—and not only companionship for yourself but also for your two other dogs. You and your human family get the benefit of having another dog to cuddle and play with, but your current two dogs also get a new friend.

Having two dogs means that they can keep each other company while you and the rest of your family are at school and work. Adding a third means they get to have that much more fun while you’re away, which can help prevent them from getting lonely and bored.

woman among her three dogs
Image Credit: RavenaJuly, Shutterstock

2. Socialization

Pets of any variety need socialization, including dogs. Socialization is the act of introducing your canine companions to other animals, new places, new sounds, new people, and more in positive ways. It’s an essential part of having a dog because it allows your pet to learn how to be comfortable and properly interact with other people, animals, and their surroundings. It also helps them be less scared of new experiences.

Dogs are social animals, and with two dogs in the home, your current pups will interact and play with each other, which helps with socialization. Adding a third dog means they have a chance to socialize with multiple canines right off the bat. Although interacting with other dogs in your household is just one part of socialization, it can help your dogs to enjoy and be comfortable with other canines.

3. Fun

The most obvious pro of adding a third dog to your home is all the fun they’ll bring! (More dogs = more fun; it’s basic math.) When you adopt a third dog, you and your family get a new playmate, but so do your other two dogs. A third dog gives your current pups more opportunities to run around and play with a dog that can truly keep up with them. Plus, these extra opportunities give your pets more chances to burn off excess energy while also keeping them healthy.

three happy dogs playing outdoors
Image Credit: Stanimir G.Stoev, Shutterstock

4. Good Deeds

Another significant pro of adopting a third dog is that if you adopt from a shelter or rescue, you’re doing a good deed. Getting a pup from a shelter or rescue means saving a life and ensuring a dog has a safe space to thrive. What’s a better pro than that? dogster face divider


With the good must come some bad, though, so you need to take into account the cons of adopting a third dog.

5. Potential Personality Clashes

If you already have more than one dog, you might’ve experienced some personality clashes when they first met. Dogs are individuals who have different kinds of personalities, and those personalities don’t always mesh. You might have a pup who is highly energetic and loves to play, while another dog is laidback and relatively lazy. Adding a third personality to the mix could lead to more clashes, as there’s no guarantee a third dog will get along with your current canine companions.

Training and socialization should help if this is the case, but sometimes, not even those get the job done. Introducing a third dog to your other two the right way should help immensely, but be aware that your current dogs and a new one may never get along.

two dogs fighting outdoor
Image Credit: Alexandr Jitarev, Shutterstock

6. Cost Increase

A significant con of adding a third dog to your home is the added costs. Another dog means another mouth to feed, more toys and supplies to buy, and extra vet bills. You should also factor in the added expense of boarding or dog sitters if you have to go on a trip and leave your pups at home. Before adopting a third dog, it’s essential you ensure you’re financially prepared to take on all the added costs!

7. More Training

Training a dog is an essential part of being a dog parent. Chances are your current dogs are already housebroken and trained, but bringing in a third canine means you have to go through training all over again. And if your current dogs aren’t yet fully trained, you’ll have your hands full trying to train two or three dogs at a time. Considering different dogs might not respond the same way to training, you could end up having to train all your pups separately, which will take up a lot of your time.

So, consider the training you’ll have to do with a third dog and whether you have the time and patience to do so.

three short-coated brown black white dogs in the sun with leather leash
Image Credit: Spencer Davis, Unsplash

8. Extra Work

You already know how much work caring for and handling two dogs takes; now think about the added amount a third pup will bring. There’s more grooming to be done, more poop to pick up, more walks to take to ensure each dog gets the exercise they need, more feeding to be done, more trips to the vet and dog park…it’s a lot! And if you’re the only one in your family caring for all three dogs, it could easily become overwhelming. Consider whether you can take on the extra work of a third dog before adopting.

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Other Considerations

There are some other things that don’t fall under the pros or cons that you should consider before adopting a third dog.

The first question to ask yourself is whether you genuinely want a third dog or if someone else in the house wants one. Adding a third pup to your home and heart is a big decision that comes with significant changes, so if the entire family isn’t on board with getting a third dog, you probably shouldn’t do it. If everyone isn’t on board and a third dog is adopted, it could lead to tension and issues within the family.

We mentioned before that canines have different personalities, and those might clash, but it isn’t just the personality you should consider before adopting a third dog. You should also consider your current dogs’ quirks. What does that mean? Well, maybe one of your pups has issues with dogs larger than them; in that case, you wouldn’t want to adopt a large dog. Or perhaps you’ve had trouble with your current dogs when it comes to resource guarding; this means adding a third dog to the mix might increase the problems. Think about what makes your current dogs uniquely them and how adding a third dog to your home might complement or hinder those quirks.

Three Dogs greeting each other by sniffing butts
Image Credit: Whiskers Sleepy, Shutterstock

Something else to consider? How tightly bonded your current dogs are. If your current canines are the best of friends and spend all their time together, adding a third dog to the mix may not go as well as you hope. Tightly bonded canines could have a more difficult time accepting a third dog into the home and their group, which could lead to the third pup being ignored or left out. If your dogs have a strong bond and you get a third dog, you’ll need to be extra careful to keep an eye on them when the third pup moves in to ensure they’re getting along.

Also, take into consideration the area you live in, as some neighborhoods are more dog-friendly. For example, if you live in an apartment complex and are allowed to have three dogs, you might still have trouble with your neighbors if one or more of your pets barks a lot. Maybe you live in a city; city life means less open space to walk your dog, which equals more travel to get to areas where they can run and play.

On the flip side, rural areas are fantastic for letting your dogs outside to play, but if it’s too rural, you might have to drive further to get to a vet or boarding facility. Think about the difficulties that might arise with having three dogs in your neighborhood before adopting.

Finally, ensure you have a backup plan before adopting a third dog. We always want things to work out well when we adopt a pet, but sometimes, they just don’t. If, for some reason, a third dog ends up not fitting into your home and lifestyle, you need to know what you’ll do with them. Will you rehome them or return them to a shelter or rescue?

As you can see, there’s a lot to consider before getting a third dog!

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Getting a new dog is a big life decision, whether the dog is your first or your third, so you need to think long and hard about whether you’re ready to make that decision rather than acting on impulse. There are definite pros to adopting a third dog, but there are cons, as well. There are also considerations to factor in, such as whether the whole family is on board with the idea of a third dog and how dog-friendly your neighborhood is.

If you’ve thought long and hard about whether a third dog is right for you and decided getting one is a good idea, then enjoy your new furry friend!

Featured Image Credit: Tara Lynn and Co, Shutterstock

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