Make no mistake about it, we think dogs are the greatest. Canine cuteness is unparalleled, and one would be hard-pressed to find an adequate substitute for their loyal companionship. That said, there are a number of less-than-pleasant aspects of providing for a pup that many people fail to consider before they buy one. Tragically, pets are returned to shelters more frequently than you’d think, simply because the pet owners did not consider what they were getting into.
Downsides of Owning a Dog
Hair, hair everywhere. Want a dog? Unless you hit the lottery with a non-shedding, hypoallergenic or hairless breed, you are in for a furry time. Keep the vacuum close and the lint-roller ready, because where your dog is allowed to go, he will leave little wisps of hair wherever they can cling.
Poop-pick up. Scooping up poop piles is an expected part of dog-rearing. Unfortunately, poop scooping is never pleasant, whether you do so a few hours after the fact, or whether you are scooping up the fresh pile on your morning walk. And that’s just the outdoor pick-up side of things, to say nothing of the untimely accidents that occur indoors while you puppy is learning! (The stinkiness isn’t just about poop either… dogs can also have strong body odor.)
Toys, beds, treats, brushes, chews, bones… Did we mention dogs come with a lot of things? One little side note is, if you don’t give them toys to play with and objects to chew on, they will find one instead. There’s a good chance your son’s wooden baseball bat, or your husbands new leather shoes will start to look pretty tempting, if you don’t offer the pup alternatives.
Maintenance. If you think cats are high-maintenance creatures in comparison to dogs, just remember that they do the bulk of the grooming themselves. Though this doesn’t apply to every pooch, some dogs need shampoos, shaves, trims and clips every few weeks! This can not only be expensive (depending on the breed) but it is also time consuming.
Sleeping schedules and habits. If you count on sleeping in on the weekends, your dog may not be on the same page. Not only will they try to wiggle their way into your own bed, but they usually do not tend to keep the same hours humans do. Most dogs will wake up their owners when they need to be let out, regardless of what the clock says. Similarly, if they did not get a sufficient walk during the day, there is no guarantee that the dog will be ready to settle down for a long winter’s nap at night when you want to. Balancing sleeping schedules can be very difficult to manage between you and your dog’s needs.
Time commitment. Early morning walks before work and long late evening walks end up requiring a fair portion of your at-home hours. You might also have to reschedule getting drinks after work with a friend, or that workout class at the gym if your pooch has been cooped up for 8-10 hours! (Dogs also need good play time with their owner, so expect to provide plenty of attention as needed when you get home.) The time requires to exercise, feed, and play with a dog certainly demands a large portion of the day.
Training: House and potty training, behavior and obedience training all take time and patience to accomplish. There will be frequent faux pas, accidents and mistakes that may drive you up the wall, or keep you scrubbing stains out of the carpet yet again. But out of all the aspects of owning a dog, this one might be the most important (and more rewarding!), even if it does cost you a pretty penny or some headaches along the way.
Lack of independence. Owning a dog means it will be much more difficult to take off for a spontaneous three-day weekend. Before heading out on a quick trip, you will need to plan ahead and do the following:
1) find a reliable pet sitter
2) provide enough food and water (and toys, dental care, and other key items) to last the dog a few days
3) write out instructions for the sitter, including emergency contacts, etc.
Expenses and healthcare. If you think your monthly healthcare bill is expensive, pray you don’t get an unhealthy dog. With the wealth of diseases and ailments that can plague canines, not to mention the medications they’ll need, checkups, vaccinations, potential surgeries, some pet owners have found their dogs’ healthcare can end up costing more than their own! (When you add this to the cost of dog food, toys, items, pet sitters, doggy day cares, and training courses, owning a dog can be quite expensive!)
All these things considered, owning a dog is certainly an intense emotional, financial, and time investment. However, we believe the rewards of a dog-filled life to outweigh any of the challenges mentioned above!