If you’re a dog person, then chances are you’ve either already got a pet dog, or you’d love to get one. While having your very own pooch to play with and care for can add so much richness to your life, it’s also a big responsibility that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
When in the process of deciding to bring a dog into your life, you should approach with pragmatism — the cruelest thing you can do is adopt a dog, and then not care for it sufficiently or fail to give it what it needs. So, if you’re undecided, here’s the low down on the pros and cons of getting a dog.
Pros: dogs make wonderful companions
There’s no better feeling than coming home to a pet who has been eagerly awaiting your return; the sound of paws running towards the door as your key turns in the lock will continue to melt your heart for years.
Dogs have high emotional intelligence and can tell when their owners are feeling under the weather or need cheering up. Whether curled up on the sofa together or taking a walk on a sunny afternoon, it’s difficult to feel alone when you have a dog in your life. Indeed, they can become your best friend and constant support.
Pros: being a dog owner encourages an active lifestyle
Dogs need walking — which some could see as a drawback— so you’ll need to change your morning and evening habits to get your dog the exercise it needs. The good thing is that you’ll both benefit from getting out and about twice a day; exercising for just twenty minutes can strengthen your muscle tissue and boost your metabolism. Not to mention the clarity of mind a walk in fresh air can provide.
Pretty much any exercise is made better by doing it with your dog — jogging around the block, doing circuits in the park, freshwater swimming, etc. It’s likely your dog will have more stamina than you, however, so pick up a go dog go ball launcher to continue giving your dog a run about whilst you’re resting!
Pros: a great way to meet new people
Not only will you be getting a furry friend, you may find yourself in new situations to meet people too. Dog walkers can be very chatty, bonding over their breeds and forging new friendships.
In fact, studies have found that dog owners are more attractive to strangers, so maybe your dog will help get you a date too! Double date in the park, anyone?
Pros: learn what it’s like to look after someone else
There’s no getting around the responsibility that is owning a dog, but you can certainly benefit from having another living thing rely on your for its wellbeing. From choosing the right dog food to providing it a warm and comfortable place to sleep, to keeping it happy and stimulated, your dog will need to become a key priority in your life. While this may be a reason for some people to decide against getting a dog, looking after your new companion will make you more compassionate and empathetic towards humans, as well as other animals!
Cons: the flip side of pet owner responsibility
Taking spontaneous trips out-of-town at the weekend, going out for “one drink” after work and not getting home until early morning, jetting off for long summer vacations: these are all things that will have to change if you get a dog.
Now, that’s not to say you’ll never to take another vacation again, but you’ll need to factor in additional costs or logistics such as finding a dog-sitter or kennel service to look after your pooch while you’re away. You’ll need to adapt to consider the needs of your dog, and not miss feeding times by staying late at work or making last-minute social plans.
There’s a hidden benefit here though: any plans you’re looking to get out of, you can use your dog as an excuse!
Cons: welcome to a new world of mess!
If you were used to not having to vacuum your apartment too often, think again once you’ve got your dog! Fur molts very quickly, and your puppy’s paws are likely to carry in dirt from outdoors, as you can’t honestly train them to wipe their feet before they come in!
You’ll find yourself cleaning up the floors far more frequently than you have been used to. You may want to invest in protection and puppy-proofing for expensive furniture you have, too.
Cons: it costs to care for your dog properly
If you’re going to be a responsible dog owner, you should purchase a doggy health care plan, including jabs and immunizations to protect against diseases, as well as insurance should they get ill. You may be surprised by the cost of pet insurance, which can amount to hundreds of dollars a year.
Food is another outgoing to plan for — even if you go for discounter store pet food, you’re looking at a new expense you didn’t have before. Of course, you must feed your pet, so if you think you’ll struggle financially to provide for a dog, then maybe pet ownership isn’t for you.
Cons: not all breeds make easy pets
You should select a breed of dog following careful deliberation. Yes, some breeds are more cute, popular and Instagrammable than others, but you shouldn’t let this motivate you — if you don’t have a large backyard or a particularly roomy apartment, then don’t get a big dog, even if those breeds appeal to you.
Do your research, as certain breeds are more susceptible to illness and may have a temperament that doesn’t suit your needs or wants.
Getting a dog: it’s a personal decision
Ultimately, only you can decide if you’re ready to get a dog. Carefully consider all the pros and cons, and see if your way of living is flexible enough to bring in the new responsibility. If you decide yes, then you’re all set to go!