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Managing a Multiple Pet Household

If you're like me, your house is just not a home without several pets. But how can you handle their needs as different species (cats and dogs, for example) and still be fair to everyone?

One thing that can be challenging is meal time. If you have more than one dog or cat (or if any of your pets has special dietary needs), how can you ensure that everyone gets his or her food?

Feed your pets at approximately the same time each day. If you have a cat or cats, consider feeding them away from the dogs. This could mean simply placing their food bowls on the counter or on the clothes dryer, or in the bathroom with the door closed. You could also try feeding the dogs first and the cats second.
What about bedding? Washable bed covers are a great way to keep all the pet beds clean and odor free. Encourage all your pets to use their beds, not your furniture. You might need a spray bottle of water handy if you catch your cat on the kitchen counter or your dog lying on the couch.

And speaking of odor, if your home has wall-to-wall carpeting, you might want to replace it with laminate or tile to prevent smells from any occasional accidents. Keep a couple of spray bottles of non-toxic cleaner around the house that will do the job but not be harmful to your pets.

And don't forget that despite their gregariousness, many pets like their own place to hang out for some quiet time. Have multiple dog beds or open crates and plenty of cat lounging spots available.

Invest in a good vacuum cleaner, one that has both an upholstery attachment and a really good crevice cleaner. Despite your best efforts, pet hair will accumulate everywhere. I actually vacuumed my house every day when I lived with 2 cats and a dog; it wasn't a deep cleaning, but it made a huge difference in the quality of my life!

One of the benefits of having multiple pets is that they learn from each other. If you have an older, calm pet, he or she will often set a good example for the younger ones. And there's nothing quite like the patter of many little feet running to greet you when you come back home!

Deborah Dobson, FizzNiche Staff Writer