Pros and Cons of Getting a Third Dog [Broken Down]

Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.

So, you’re considering adding a third dog to your family.


You’ve probably heard that the more dogs you have, the happier they are.

But is this really true? Is there a “right” number of dogs for each household?

Whatever the reason, there can be some things you have to understand before adding a third dog to your family, and we’re here to break them down for you.

We’ll help you navigate these questions and more as we explore the pros and cons of getting a third dog.

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What are the Pros and cons of having a third dog?

What Are the Pros and Cons of Having a Third Dog?

Sure, having a third dog is an exciting prospect, but what are the benefits of having 3 dogs?

You’re adding another furry family member, and bringing your existing pets closer together.

But before you add a third dog to your home, it’s important to consider the pros and cons of the situation.

Let’s dive right in, starting with the obvious advantages.

Doggy says, consider reading this too: Should I Buy a Puppy With an Umbilical Hernia?

Pros of Having a Third Dog

1. Additional companion

If you have children, then they may enjoy having another dog in the house (there’s never too many for kids, isn’t it?).

A third dog can also give them someone else to play with and care for.

It is important for children to learn how to care for animals, so this can be a great opportunity for them.

Having three dogs can be a lot of fun. Three dogs mean three times the cuddles, kisses, and tail wags!

You and your family will always have someone to play with if there’s another dog in the house, even if you’re not there.

Not to mention how entertaining it is to witness the special bond that develops between the dogs.

Doggy says, consider reading this too: Dog Ate String From a Rope Toy [What You Should Do]

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2. Upgraded security

Obviously, this is not going to work out too well if you have a tiny pug that is content to lie in its corner.

But, if you are an owner of guard dogs, you know how amazing they can be as a security asset.

Having two dogs is already a big security upgrade, but adding a third dog to the mix can make your home almost impenetrable.

The more dogs you have, the higher your chances of having at least one dog who will bark at strangers and alert you if something is wrong.

Doggy says, you might like this too: Chlorophyll for Dogs in Heat [Mask Smell?]

3. Easier to train

Training a new dog is usually much easier than training your previous dog.

By the time you’re training the newest member of the family, the oldest is most likely well-mannered and knows how to obey your commands and orders, and the new dog will usually follow suit and observe what the first dog is doing.

This will make house and crate training much easier, as well as socialization, which is another critical skill to teach a new puppy.

Having another dog around will also help them become more comfortable around other dogs when they are out in public or at the park, which can make them better citizens of your community!

4. More opportunities for exercise and fun activities = better health

Just think about the amount of activities you have currently and add more to that!

A third dog in the house is a great way to keep your other dogs active, but it’s also good for both yours and their health too!

It’s also a known fact that dogs who are properly exercised are happier and healthier, which can lead to a longer life for your pet.

When you have three dogs, they can all go on walks, hikes, or runs together.

Or if you have a big enough backyard, they can all play fetch together.

5. Always engaged with lots of love = No boring life

You get a new best friend.

Since you already have two dogs, they’ll love you no matter what, but they’ll love having a new friend too—and so will you!

The extra dog gives your other pets another way to play and have fun with.

Not only will the newfie keep your other dogs company when you can’t be around, but it will also give them someone to play with while you’re busy doing other things.

The more activity they have, the less likely they are to get bored or destructive.

Having an extra dog means that if something happens to one of your pets, there will still be someone else who needs caring for.

If one of your dogs gets sick or injured and is unable to go outside anymore, there’s still another canine at home who needs exercise and affectionate attention from time to time (or all the time!).

Do you know if you should put two dog crates side by side?

6. Companionship for your dog = Happier dogs

Having a third dog in the family can be a great way to add an additional companion to your existing group.

Most dogs love having friends around, and they enjoy being able to play with other canines.

These socialization activities can greatly bring out the best of your dog, keep it mentally and physically stimulated, and be the happiest dog ever!

Dogs who are left alone for long periods of time can develop separation anxiety, which can lead to destructive behavior such as chewing or escaping.

Having another dog in the house will give your pup something else to focus on and keep him occupied when you’re not around.

7. Start your own dog business

Now that you have 3 models that you interact with every day, you can easily start a side hustle or turn it into a full-time business!

By spending all this time with your dogs, you learn quickly about the ins and outs, their needs, and you can use this knowledge to help other dog owners, just like how this blog was born.

Alternatively, you might also invent your own product that solves an existing problem you have.

Most likely, someone else is struggling with the same issue and looking for a solution!

Doggy says, you might be keen to read this too: Do Corgis need another dog?

Cons of Having a Third Dog

taking care of three dogs

1. Lack of space

I used to live in an apartment and it was small.

That greatly restricted the need for my dogs to have lots of room to run around and stretch out their legs.

The only place we can let it roam freely outside of our apartment is an enclosed patio with concrete floors that feels like an oven in summer or an igloo in winter (depending on what part of the country you’re from).

Although this problem is now resolved as I moved to a bigger place in the suburbs, you should seriously consider it if you are not able to provide the space for your pets to run around.

2. Higher cost

First of all, there are the initial costs.

You’ll need to buy extra food, treats, and toys for your new addition.

And if you’re going to be traveling with your new dog and want to get him trained in time for a trip, that could cost extra money as well.

Beyond the obvious cost, here are a few more hidden ones you might want to factor in:

  • Monthly insurance premiums
  • A larger yard will cost more to maintain than a smaller one. It may also cost more money if it requires fencing or other structures because of your space constraints or terrain limitations (e.g., rocky areas).
  • Doggy daycare might be necessary for all three dogs if they need socialization as well as exercise during the day

3. Requires lots of patience and experience

Adding a third dog to your household can be an overwhelming experience.

You’ll need to make sure that each dog gets enough attention, and that each has its own space to retreat when they want it—even if that means buying some additional furniture!

You’ll need to learn how to divide your attention between the three of them and make sure each one gets enough attention.

You’ll also have to be open-minded about finding new ways of doing things—you might find that your first two dogs respond better if you give them treats while training them, while your newest addition responds better when you give her praise.

It’s all about trial and error!

4. It’s hard work cleaning up

If you already have two dogs, then you know this already. With three dogs, it’s even worse.

All three dogs will be shedding their fur all over the house, so expect to sweep and vacuum a lot more.

If you have more than three dogs, prepare for the worst—you’ll probably need to hire a professional carpet cleaner just to keep things manageable!

Besides the fur, you will have to clean up after them too.

The more dogs you have, the more poop they make, and the more water they drink (which means more trips outside).

5. Medical issues

Medical issues are one of the biggest concerns of dog owners who are thinking about bringing home a new pup.

A third dog can have double the amount of germs than a single dog, which means that there’s more chance for everyone in your household to get sick.

And when one gets sick, the germs can spread really fast and before you know it, you have a home with 3 sick dogs.

If you’re worried about this, you should consider how many dogs you already have in your household and what their health is like before getting another one.

It’s also important to know if any of your current dogs have any allergies or chronic illnesses that could be exacerbated by adding another canine companion.

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6. Bigger commitment means less time for yourself

With three dogs, you’ll need to find more time in your schedule for them. This could mean taking them on walks more often or scheduling play dates with friends who have dogs so that they can get the exercise they need.

You should also consider what kind of impact adding another dog will have on your family’s schedule—especially if you already have two dogs.

Having three or more dogs means that you’ll need to give them all plenty of attention and exercise every day.

If you already feel like there isn’t enough time in the day for your current two dogs, you might want to wait until things calm down before introducing another furry friend into the mix.

Be prepared to also have your sleep disrupted more often now that you have one more ‘baby’ to look after.

7. Potential mismatch of character and temperament

A major con is that it may not be as easy to find three dogs who are compatible with each other.

The personalities of the first two dogs will influence how they get along with your new canine addition.

If one or both of your first dogs has a strong personality and likes to play rough or assert dominance over others, they may not be the best candidates for bringing in another dog.

It’s important to remember that when adopting a third dog, you’re not just bringing in another animal—you’re bringing in an entirely new dynamic.

Your existing pets will likely change their behavior in response to the new addition, so it’s important to plan for this and make sure that everyone feels comfortable in the new environment.

8. Transportation difficulty

Many people have one or two dogs and find that they can easily transport them in their cars, but when it comes time to take all three dogs out at once, it can be difficult.

If you have a large SUV or truck, this may not be an issue for you if you’re able to load your pets up with enough treats and toys to keep them occupied on the road.

Be sure to have your transportation needs sorted out too before committing to a third dog.

Are Three Dogs Too Many? What To Consider When Getting a Third Dog

What To Consider When Getting a Third Dog

Choosing a dog is a big decision, but getting a third dog can feel like an even bigger one.

But what should you consider when adding another canine to your family?

1. How Much Space Do You Have?

First thing first: if you’re thinking about getting a third dog, make sure you have the space for them!

Before bringing another dog home, make sure there’s enough room in your home and yard for them to run around and play.

2. Are You Ready For The Responsibility?

Getting a third dog isn’t just about space—it’s also about taking on more responsibility for another animal’s care.

If you’re not sure whether you can handle that responsibility, or you have any doubts at all, clearing it up before getting a new dog should be top of your to-do list.

3. Is This Dog Right For Your Family?

When it comes down to it, every family has different needs and expectations when it comes to their pets—and that includes what kind of dog they’d like to add to their family!

If you already have two dogs at home and want something different than what they provide each other, then a third dog could be just the thing to help round out your family!

Take as much time as you need to properly assess your options and determine if the behavior is a good fit for your family.

4. Attention for each dog

You might have thought about adding another dog to your family for a long time now, but it’s important to make sure that you’re ready for the responsibility of having three pets.

You’ll need to consider how much time and energy you’ll have available each day and beyond that, the kind of arrangements you need to make if you are not available to take care of them (vacation, work, emergency, etc).

Does Gender Matter When Getting a Third Dog? What Gender Dog Should I Get for a Third Dog?

The first thing to know is that there are no hard rules here—but there are some guidelines that can help you make the best choice for your own family.

Gender significantly matters when adopting a third dog due to the dominance levels of other dogs at home.

Naturally, female dogs rarely fight with male dogs.

On the other hand, males tend to fight often and might refuse to share, especially if you had alpha puppies in a litter.

The dynamics are also influenced by whether your dogs are sterilized or not, as that will help you deal with potential issues such as unwanted pregnancies or aggression when females are in heat.

You should consider getting a more submissive dog or puppy who will want to follow the house’s lead.

It will make your life much easier when caring for and introducing them all.

If possible, have the dogs meet each other in a neutral location before making a decision on a new dog.

Take note of how they interact with one another.

Keep looking if your instincts tell you it’s not a good match, no matter how much you adore the potential new dog.

How to Introduce a Third Dog?

There are some guidelines you should follow when introducing your third dog to the other dogs in the household.

I personally prefer to do it at a neutral location such as a park, but you can do so at home too.

The key points to remember are:

  • Keep them apart and let them take the lead (they should be on a loose leash)
  • Do not force them to come together
  • Give them plenty of time to check each other out such as by sniffing
  • Praise them when they do anything right
  • Separate them and repeat this a few more times (this is to prevent them from getting too stressed with prolonged interaction)
  • Always be on the lookout for aggressive behavior such as stiff stances, growling, and teeth-baring.

The video below gives you a good way to do it at home.

In Conclusion: Pros and Cons of Getting a Third Dog

Are 3 dogs a good idea?

You don’t have to decide right away. It’s important to take time and consider your options before rushing into a big decision.

Hopefully, this guide can be useful in helping you figure out if 3-dogs ownership is right for you.

Read about other dog care articles such as why is my puppy such a light sleeper, puppy eating less and sleeping more, do’s and don’ts after dog vaccination, and many more on our blog!

You’ve made it to the end, but I hope it’s not the end of our journey. We want to hear your voice! Share your thoughts, problems, suggestions, or anything related to your dog in the comments section. And don’t forget to join our newsletter today too.

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Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Canine Care Central!

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