How I Manage Three Dogs

I won’t lie, there are times I question my sanity by owning three dogs. That being said, I don’t think I could never not have three dogs as part of my family.

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We have been extremely fortunate to have adopted three absolutely sweet (except Max, haha), adorable and super lovable dogs from three different rescue organizations.

When we adopted Max, we had our sweet Boston Terrier, Bandit. We wanted to get another dog who could match Bandit’s energy and would be a good play mate for him. What’s funny is that for the first while, they completely ignored each other until one day they both wanted the same toy and decided to play tug of war with it. Then, it became a regular thing.

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When Bandit died, it left a huge hole not only in my heart, but I could see that Max missed having another dog around. That’s when we were so fortunate to adopt Freckles, as we knew we wanted another Boston Terrier. Like Max and Bandit, Max and Freckles pretty much ignored each other for a long time. Especially considering that as Freckles was a former backyard breeding girl, she didn’t really understand how to play with toys.

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We were just going to stay with two dogs, but I knew in my heart that I wanted a third. My husband did not feel the same. When I saw Dolly and her story on the Zoe’s Animal Rescue Society’s page (and I was just starting to volunteer with them at the time), I knew I had to meet her and felt in my heart that she would be a good fit for our family. And thankfully, she was.

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So how do I manage three? Lots of planning.

Max and Freckles thankfully for the most part have been pretty easy to deal with and are pretty similar, especially in terms of food. Neither of them have allergies to anything so I found it easiest to put them both on the same food. I will say that I have found Max tolerates raw food a bit better than Freckles, so I still have to utilize some high quality kibble or freeze dried raw for both of them.

Dolly’s been the biggest challenge, especially during food time. As I have shared Dolly’s challenges with allergies, the biggest challenge with her is having to feed her completely separate food and treats from the other two (they do share the same treats but Max and Freckles do get more variety).

Bath time is also different for the three of them. When Dolly’s seasonal allergies flare up, she requires more frequent and medicated baths (twice a week if her skin is really bad). Whereas the other two get a bath once a week (or longer), with a non medicated shampoo and I don’t need to put a conditioner on them afterwards or a paw balm on their paws. They are much easier in that aspect.

I always gets asked every time I’m out for a walk is “are they all yours?” and “are you a professional dog walker?”. My answer to them is “yes, and I have done some dog walking for people previously”.

So, how the heck do I manage to walk three dogs at one? Well, I usually can hold Dolly’s and Max’s leash in my left hand (as they tend to walk the same speed), and Freckles in my right hand (as she tends to be a much slower walker). The fun challenge is when they see another dog, or Dolly’s favourite, a bunny. Basically, I have to always be prepared for it as Dolly will lunge at full speed, followed by Max also lunging at full speed. Good thing I have decent upper body strength. They are usually followed by Freckles who then runs up to Max and tries to bite his face (it’s hilarious but something I have to correct her on because it’s a terrible habit she’s developed).

It can be challenging as Dolly can handle much longer walks than Freckles, so sometimes I do take them for separate walks. The life saver for me has been my Green Trout Outfitters Adventure Pack as that’s where I keep baggies, treats, keys and my phone (because I need to be able to take photos for Instagram).

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Another question I get is where do they all sleep? Well, Max sleeps on the bed with us on his blanket, Freckles sleeps in her crate (until I let them out in the morning and feed them, then she sleeps in the bed), and Dolly sleeps on her pet pillow in our room (occasionally she’ll come and sleep on the bed but Freckles moves around too much for her so she leaves).

The one “downside” of owing three dogs is the cost. As any dog owner would know, one dog is expensive. Multiple that by three.

Between vet visits (Dolly alone was in the $1000’s in the first year that we had her), daycare costs, boarding costs (anyone able to watch them for three weeks when we go to Europe in October?), food, treats and of course accessories (because if you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know I love to accessorize the dogs), it’s a lot of money.

I’m in an incredibly fortunate financial position, but I will caution that if you are not, I would not recommend multiple pets. To give you an idea, all three of the dogs needs dental work last year and each bill was in the $1000’s. It was worth it, but you need to be financially prepared for something like that. If you’re not, it’s a shock and major stress and I know it’s one of the reasons that people surrender their animals.

Overall, they are pretty low maintenance. They don’t fight with one other (even though Max will steal a toy from Freckles when she’s playing with it) and seem to be upset if one leaves to go the vet or two come with me to a pet store. They have gone from pretty much ignoring each other to becoming a bonded pack. Dolly and Freckles are pretty much inseparable together.

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Personally, I don’t find having three dogs that much more overall work than two dogs. Maybe I could handle a 4th……..