Moosh - ESA dog and cat

Ever heard the expression “fighting like cats and dogs”? If you’ve ever seen two animals tussle, you’ll know it isn’t always easy to get pets acclimated to one another. For people who own multiple emotional support animals (ESAs), trying to find peace among all of your pets can be a tricky dance. Wondering how many ESA pets you can have? Read below for the answer to that question, plus how to make sure all of your animals get along.

Is there a limit to how many emotional support animals you can own?

There’s currently not a specific limit to how many ESAs you can own, especially if they all serve different purposes for you. However, in your particular city or county, there could be some limits to how many pets in general you can own. For example, in Los Angeles County, pet owners may only have four dogs and up to five cats without needing a special permit. To find out how many pets you can own, visit your local city or county website or call City Hall for more information.

It’s also important to note that there isn’t a specific limit of ESAs permitted by landlords or building managers, but you still might face some pushback if you’re trying to house a large number of animals in a smaller space. Make sure you have proper documentation regarding your ESAs from your therapist or doctor to show that any ESAs you have are legitimate.

What are the benefits of owning multiple ESAs?

There are a lot of benefits that come from owning more than one ESA. Each pet might offer you specific benefits, such as companionship, affection, socialization, etc. Various breeds of animals can be quite different in terms of personality and needs, so you might want to own more than one so that you have all of your bases covered in terms of what you require from an ESA. Plus, the more love and companionship you can get from them, the better!

Moosh - dog and cat fighting
Image by Joel Gamboa on Unsplash: Cats and dogs can be trained to get along with each other, even if they fight a little at first!

How do I get my pets to like each other?

Sometimes it takes a little time and effort to get animals to warm up to each other when they first meet. This doesn’t mean it can’t be done! Here are some steps you can try to get all of your ESAs to get along.

1. Introduce them slowly, giving them time to sniff out their new housemate.

You’ll want to take this process as slowly as possible so that your pets can get used to each other in a controlled environment. If you’re introducing cats and dogs to each other, schedule the first meeting during mealtime. Keep your dog on a leash and both animals on opposite sides of a closed door. They won’t be able to see each other, but they can smell each other while they’re eating. They will then associate the smell of another animal with the positive action of eating. If you can repeat this every mealtime for several weeks, the animals will get more used to each other.

The next step is having them eat on the other side of a gate, and eventually removing it so they can eat together in the same room. If you don’t have a ton of time to introduce them, let the animals go at their own pace, so they don’t feel pressured to acclimate to each other right away.

2.Train your pets.

You’ll have an easier time getting animals to get along if you train your ESAs as much as possible. By training your dog, not to react to certain stimuli, for example, they’ll learn to leave other animals in the house alone. Training can also be helpful if you want your dog to stop a certain behavior; a simple command means they’ll stop what they’re doing and you won’t have to separate them from the other animals.

3. Give your animals their own space (particularly cats).

If you’re wondering, “Will my dog and cat ever get along?”, the answer is yes! By providing your animals with areas of your home that are their own personal space, they’ll feel less inclined to fight with each other. Provide your dog with their own space (like a special bed) and your cat with a scratching post, and they’ll feel like they can relax independently of each other. Cats especially need to feel like they have their own territory that’s separate from any other animals.

4. Make sure you exercise the animals who need it.

Most breeds of dogs do require regular exercise. If you help them get some energy out, they’re a lot less likely to chase or torment other animals in the house. Set time aside every day to exercise the ESAs who need it (some animals, such as cats, don’t really require it).

Moosh - dogs and cats
Image by Chewy on Unsplash: Multiple animals can learn to get along with a little patience on your part.

5. Keep their food and toys separate.

You don’t ever want your animals to feel like they need to compete with one another for toys or food. Try feeding them separately so they don’t feel like they need to dominate each other to eat, and make sure they each have plenty of toys so they won’t need to steal or fight over any.

6. Give them the same amount of attention and affection.

ESAs don’t want to feel neglected in any way. Be aware of how much attention or love you’re giving each ESA, and make sure all of your animals are receiving an equal amount of care from you.

It can take up to a month before animals really get used to each other. If you’re having a rough time of it when you first introduce your animals, don’t assume things will always be difficult. With some time and patience, your ESAs will learn that they can share their home with another animal and still have all of their needs met.

Featured image by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash