updated 01/20/2012 AT 6:00 PM ET
•originally published 01/23/2012 AT 9:00 AM ET
“I always want animals in my life,” she tells USA Weekend magazine, describing herself as a “mad dog lady.”
The duo, named Flora and Tamber, joined an already-crowded household, also home to miniature schnauzers Romeo and Stella, mix-breed Piper, schnoodle Wheezer, and Scar, the “hotcake” hound. But the newest additions proved to have a bigger impact on Heigl’s husband, Josh Kelley, than the actress herself.
“He was really excited about the puppies, because all the dogs were really attached to me,” she says. “I’m the one with them all the time. I’m the one training them. I feed them. And he’s on the road a lot. So when we got the puppies, I said, ‘Tamber will be your dog, and Flora will be my dog, so you’ll have one that’s completely yours.’”
And that animal loving spirit also extends to Heigl’s 3-year-old daughter, Naleigh.
“The dogs are her best friends,” she says. “But she’s not very loyal. One minute Piper’s her best friend, and then it’s Oscar. It’s just the cutest.”
Though she admits that it can sometimes be difficult juggling a toddler and her animal menagerie when Kelley travels, Heigl says she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It’s so worth it to walk down in the morning and have these dogs go bananas, so excited to see me,” she says. “We try to just make it as seamless as we can, and incorporate all of these animals into our lives.”
[RELATED_TEXT “Can’t get enough pet news? See more on PEOPLE Pets