Three dogs

The Pros and Cons of Owning a Third Dog

This one is for all you dog lovers out there who thought having one dog would be great, then escalated to two, and now you’re thinking about the third.

I absolutely love dogs. Who wouldn’t? They’re friendly, loving, and if you manage to buy or adopt the right breed, they can be trained to do all sorts of nifty tricks. I grew up in a household where we had about five dogs of varying sizes, from Yorkshire Terriers to German Shepherds and everything in between.

And believe me, I loved it as a kid. We had a huge garden, I didn’t have to take responsibility for anything the dogs did, and they’d basically look after themselves.

But as an adult, looking back at the utopia of a doggy zoo I knew as a kid, I’m not totally sure I’d choose to do it myself. Not yet, at least.

So, if you have one or two dogs and are thinking of getting more to equal a nice round number of three pups, here are the pros and cons of owning three dogs and what you should expect if you decide to go ahead with it.

The Pros

There are many really good things about owning three dogs that can leave you happier than with just one or two. Here are my top eight pros of owning a third dog.

1. There’s No Such Thing as Too Many Dogs

Okay, hear me out here. I’m not saying you can’t have too many dogs; I’m just making the point that more dogs = more cuddles, cuteness, and love. And who doesn’t want more of those three things?

I promise I’m not biased, but if my childhood taught me one thing, it’s that a lot of dogs mean a lot of happiness and fun.

You’ll have triple the wagging tails when you get home, triple to kisses, and triple the companionship, which, for many people, is the main reason they got dogs in the first place.

If you live alone, have ample enough space, and feel like you need more life in your home, three dogs could definitely give that to you. And unlike the single cat ladies or gents, having dogs is infinitely more fun than having cats.

2. Your Dogs Will Be Happier

Having one dog is great if you’re working from home or have hours on end to spend playing and going for walks. Two dogs are a great way to make sure they have company when you’re away, but speaking from experience, nothing is quite as rowdy or fun as a dog trio.

Somehow, three dogs just always seem to have more fun than two. Whether it’s because they feel more like a friend group than a bonded pair or because there’s just triple the shenanigans, having three dogs will not just provide you with endless entertainment. It’ll make your dogs happier too.

No more crying at the door when you leave or sulking outside for hours while you’re at work. Three dogs are more than enough to keep each other busy all day playing, running, and enjoying the companionship of their own species to make them forget about getting depressed that you’re gone for a while.

3. Your Life Will Never Be Boring

If you thought having one or two dogs was a lot of work, a third would make that work even more time-consuming but also more rewarding. Walks become crazed outings filled with hours of fun. Trips to the park become mandatory because your garden feels too small for all three of them.

And taking them out to a flea market or to the beach feels more like a family outing than a quick trip outside.

If you feel like your life is missing a little chaos and fun, getting a third dog may just be the solution to your problems. With three pooches in the house, I guarantee there’ll never be a dull moment in your life.

4. They Offer More Protection

Okay, this is entirely relative to the breed you have, as I’m not quite sure having three Pomeranians will offer any real security. Still, if you have guard dogs or even just big dogs like Labradors or Dobermans, you’re getting a lot of added security.

Whether it’s when you’re on walks or sleeping, security is one of the reasons why three dogs are better than two. With three canines sleeping in the garden, living room, or your bed, you make it almost impossible for anything to happen in your immediate vicinity without them knowing about it.

And let’s face it, someone going for a jog with three big dogs is way safer than someone running with just one or two.

So if you live in a country or state where safety is a concern, a third dog could be an added level of protection against anything from vandals to pickpockets and thieves.

5. Your Emotional Bonds Will Be Stronger

Like I mentioned before, one dog is more like having a child. Three dogs, on the other hand, is like having a family. Each of them has their own personality, mischievous traits, and bonds with each other. But each of them will also have a unique bond to you, which means these dogs won’t just be your pets, they’ll become your companions.

Sure, having one dog could mean companionship and a lifelong bond, but three will give you insight into the world of dogs like you’ve never had before and will probably just make you love them more.

6. Your Dogs Will Be Healthier

Okay, have you ever seen a dog with zoomies? If you have, just imagine that mental image multiplied by three.

Or, if you have a particularly playful pup, imagine three of them in a group.

Having three dogs will ensure they are all well-exercised because playtime may never stop. I know from experience that playing tug of war with my dog in the yard makes me tired in 20-30 minutes, but with three dogs, the playtime is endless because they all have the same amount of energy and the same stubborn refusal to take a break.

This means less work for you and more time to enjoy the fact that your dogs are fit and healthy without having to take them for five-mile walks every single day.

7. Their Personalities May Balance Each Other Out

If you have one dog that seems like it’s hopped up on energy drinks, one that’s a complete lazy bones, and one that’s somewhere in the middle, you might find that, like their personalities, their energy levels may eventually be balanced out by following each others’ examples.

The same thing goes for almost every aspect of your dogs’ personalities: their attentiveness to your commands, their reactions to strangers, even their attitude towards other dogs will be influenced by the natures of their other two companions, which means that over time they may all come to be better trained and behaved if provided with the right home environment for that to happen.

8. They’re Easier to Train

Forget monkey see, monkey do. Dogs are even worse copycats than primates. This is a great pro if you’re trying to train your pups or teach them tricks. By watching each other, they may not only learn faster, but you could end up with the really great advantage of having three perfectly trained, well-behaved dogs, especially if you adopt or buy them at different ages.

Three puppies may be a nightmare to deal with, but one adult, one adolescent, and one puppy could provide the energy, cuteness, and wisdom from each dog all in one adorable package.

The Cons

As much as I’d love to say the more, the merrier is always true when it comes to dogs. The reality is it isn’t always the best choice.

You’ll have to consider some serious cons, and it’s important for you to understand how crazy it is to own three dogs before making that decision.

1. It’s Expensive

A lot of people don’t realize how much more expensive it can be to own three dogs. It’s triple the vet bills, food bills, and toys that need to be bought. There are three dog beds, three food bowls, three sets of leashes, and collars that need to be replaced as your dogs grow.

Two dogs may be easy to get by because they can share a bed or play with the same toys. Still, because three dogs are becoming more like a pack than just two companions, there may be serious rivalry over things like food and sleeping spots, which means you’ll have to provide each dog with toys, food, and beds of their own.

And if you know anything about dog supplies, you’ll know this can be pretty expensive.

2. You Need a Lot of Experience and Patience

Sure, having three dogs could influence them all to be better behaved, but this is only a guarantee if they receive regular training. Which could not only be expensive but incredibly time-consuming.

If you’re not experienced in handling or training more than one dog, having three could become overwhelmingly tricky and leave your pups without the supervision and discipline they need to become easy-to-manage dogs.

So if it’s your first time owning your own dog, one is best, two are manageable, but three could leave you questioning your decision to have any dogs in the first place.

3. Your Freedom Will Be More Constrained

Unless you have enough money to leave three dogs in daycare or a dog sitting facility, you may find that spontaneous holidays and trips that last for months on end aren’t an option anymore.

Your family may be okay with looking after one of your dogs, maybe two, but three could be enough to make anyone say, “no thanks, I’m not dealing with that.”

Which could leave you with very little freedom and eventually lead to you resenting having three dogs and no longer enjoying their companionship.

4. It’s Very Time Consuming

Whether it’s training, grooming, feeding, or playing, you’re going to have to spend a lot more time with your dogs if you have three compared to just two or one.

Dogs are attention-seeking animals that require a lot of dedication to look after, and having three may take up far more time than you’re willing or able to give.

So if you’re planning on getting a third dog, taking the amount of time you’ll have to spend on them into consideration is essential.

5. They Take Up Lot of Space

Again, this really depends on the breed of dog you have, but if you’re looking for three medium or large size breeds, you’re going to need a lot of space, or you’ll risk having your home turned into a, well, a dog house and not a comfortable apartment or townhouse.

If you think one dog with zoomies or two dogs playing is destructive, you’ll be surprised at the kind of damage three dogs can cause in a confined space. So unless you’ve already got or are willing to find a home with ample enough space for all three of them, you may find yourself regretting the decision to get a third dog sooner rather than later.

6. They’ll Be Shedding. A Lot.

If you think one dog has covered your couches in hair or that two have left furballs all over your home, just imagine what three will do to your house come shedding time.

Unless you take grooming very seriously or have insane de-shedding skills, your house may end up looking like you’re a 1960s housewife with a fur coat obsession. Not exactly great if you enjoy a clean, neat home.

What To Consider When Getting a Third Dog

Most of the cons mentioned above all count as serious points to consider before getting a third dog. There’s the cost, space, time, and dedication you’ll have to give to train them and keep them healthy.

You’ll also have to consider that the two dogs you already have may not warm up to the new addition immediately, and it may take even more time and effort on your part to make sure they’re integrated happily and safely.

Then there’s grooming, and vet visits, trips to the park, and making sure your new pack doesn’t destroy your home while you’re gone.

But if all this sounds like something completely manageable, and you’re ready to up your responsibility and fun, getting a third dog could be incredibly rewarding.