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Signs You're Not the Best Candidate for Dog Ownership

dog with his owner

Thinking about getting a dog, but…you aren’t sure if you have thought it through completely? This article will help you explore your true feelings about dog parenthood and help you decide if you really should add a dog to your family. Don’t worry–even if you’re not ready for a dog right now, there’s still a very good chance you will be in the future!

Is Your Lifestyle Dog-Ready?

A golden retriever with its head on the owner's laptop

Sometimes, even though you might want a dog, it might not be a good idea based on your lifestyle. Dogs take a lot of time and need a lot of attention, and if you can't devote a significant portion of each day to your furever friend, you might want to consider another type of pet.

You love to travel

Dogs of all sizes, ages and breeds can be good travel partners under certain circumstances. Under others, they can make travel difficult if not impossible. A four-hour car trip–not a big deal. Flying to a resort for a week-long stay would not be so easy. You will have a difficult time taking your doggo with you, especially if the resort is in another country. 

There is also the added cost of transporting your dog and any extra charges from the hotel. If you leave your doggo, you will either have to board your dog or hire someone to come in a couple of times a day or overnight to feed, walk and play with your best friend. 

So, if you’re a true jet setter, you will either have to cut back on your travel or cover the extra expenses.

You need the freedom to be spontaneous

Getting ready to leave work and co-workers ask you to hit the pub for a few drinks or stop at the hottest trending restaurant? Well, don’t forget that your dog has been at home, waiting for you for the last 8 or 9 hours, is hungry and has a bladder that is about to burst. 

As a doggo dad or mum, your first priority has to be your furry pal, not your friends. While you might have a friend or neighbor that can care for your dog, you will have to trim your spontaneous activities back some to care for your dog properly.

You are a smoker

Smoking isn’t bad for just you–secondhand smoke affects everyone in the house, and that includes your dog. Family pets are likely to suffer from poor health if you smoke in the house and they are forced to breathe your secondhand smoke.

You don’t have the time needed to care for your dog

Face it, adding a dog to your life will cost time and not just a few minutes. Walking your new best friend multiple times a day for exercise and for bathroom breaks can take over an hour total. Feeding your dog, training them, teaching them tricks also takes time. 

And don’t forget the time involved in regular and unplanned visits to your local vet. Those can take half a day out of your life each time you go and require some time off work. 

So, consider the time that you will need to devote to your new pal.

You can’t handle barking

Not all dogs bark, but many do. And you might not find out if yours is a barker until they have become a beloved member of your family. Keep in mind that it takes most dogs several weeks to come out of their shells once they settle in.

Most dogs will bark at all hours of the day–sometimes when someone comes to visit or when they have to take a bathroom break. And you have to respond, whether you want to or not. This can be disruptive to you and your neighbours. Plus, with more people working from home, it can be disruptive and distracting during meetings and calls. So if barking is something your psyche can’t deal with, try adopting a snake–a creature that won’t wake up from a sound sleep.

You need your sleep

Want to sleep on Saturday morning after a long work week? Well, don’t forget that your furry friend still needs to go outside to poo and pee. Plus, you will be amazed at how fine-tuned your sog’s the internal clock is when it comes to mealtime. 

Oh, and don’t forget, especially when they are young, they will want to play, play, and play. Plus, puppies need to go out a lot more often.

You can’t deal with the mess

We hate to say it, but it’s true: dogs=mess. Well, not all the time, but sometimes at least. Especially puppies. Expect to come home sometime and find that your doggo has been searching through the garbage for the source of that delicious smell. And don’t forget those occasional accidents. 

Even a well-trained adult dog will occasionally come down with a killer case of diarrhea from drinking too much pond water. So be prepared. And if you have a weak stomach or can’t handle a bit of miss around your home, you may not be dog-ready.

You think that puppies…

Are just so cute, but when it comes to adult dogs, well, you could take them or leave them. 

All puppies will become adults. They won’t be as cute or playful. When you adopt a puppy, you have made a 10 to 15-year commitment. As the joy of puppy ownership fades to the tedious duties of life with an adult dog, you still need to be there for them. Until death do you part.

Your job matters when it comes to puppa pawrenthood

Dog waiting on owner to get home from work

Your job duties are never set in stone, so you have to look at your current duties and what future changes might crop up and decide if your work life has room for a four-legged friend.

You are getting a new job or changing jobs

If you are starting a new job in the near future, you might want to put your doggy adoption on hold until you adapt to your new work schedule. When adjusting to a new career, you can’t predict everything that will go on. So, it is wise to wait till you settle in at your new position, then reassess things and see if a dog fits into your new schedule.

You have an unpredictable schedule

Some jobs are strictly 9 to 5, but others are much more unpredictable. If you can suddenly be called out of town or unexpectedly have to stay late and finish a project, a doggy pal might not be for you.

If you do live alone with a dog, you have to make contingency arrangements with a neighbour or friend to care for your doggo if a work emergency comes up. While this isn’t the end of the world, many dogs struggle with uncertainty and shifts in routine.

You work long hours

Doggy bladders can only hold so much pee, and dogs can only wait so long before they have to poo. 12 and 14-hour workdays don’t go well with a doggy lifestyle.

If you do have long hours, you will need to hire a dog walker to visit your home every day or drop your doggo off at doggy daycare on your way to work. No matter how you look at it, there will be a large expense involved and you will have less time to devote to your beloved furry pal.

You need to travel for work

Some jobs require travel, and like leisure travel, you probably can’t take your dog with you. There is a lot of time and expense in arranging a dog sitter or boarding your dog. So if you are on the road a lot, dogs aren’t a good choice for a pet.

Family finances

A pet supply store

Dogs don’t come free, so you need to look at your finances and see if there is room there for your new furry friend. Money isn’t everything but love all by itself won’t care for the needs of your furever friend. Here are some things to consider when deciding if you can afford your new doggo.

You don’t have the extra income for food and treats

Quality food and healthy treats ensure your dog has the best life. And higher-quality food does cost more. You want to feed your doggo food that will enhance their quality of life. Price a number of healthy choices and see what it will cost you to feed your dog each month. Add to that, the cost of two or three healthy treats. You don’t want to put yourself in the position of buying food for your doggo or paying for electricity.

Vet bills could be a problem

You can predict normal vet bills, but you can’t predict those unexpected vet bills. If your dog gets sick or is injured, vet bills can quickly build up, so you need to build into your budget a little room for taking care of your doggo’s healthcare needs. 

You won’t be able to afford to board your dog if the need arises

As a dog pawrent, you will need to keep a little extra money on hand in case there is a family emergency or something comes up at work, causing you to leave town. 

Before walking into a shelter or scrolling through adoptable dogs online, price boarding facilities or dog sitters in advance. This will help you assess how much you can expect to spend and make sure that you have enough money to cover those expenses. Hopefully, the need won’t arise, but you and your furry pal are better off if you are prepared for that type of emergency.

Home sweet home

A dog looking out of a balcony

Not all houses and homes are dog-friendly. Look at the space you have and ask yourself if there is room for a dog. Additionally, not all communities and not all apartments will accept dogs, so look into things before you bring that new doggo home.

Your home is small

If space is limited inside and out, you may want to think twice. Where will your dog sleep? Where will you feed them? Is there room outside to play and go to the bathroom? If you have questions about these things, you need to answer them before you adopt.

You will be moving in the near future

If you plan on moving, you need to put your adoption on hold until you find your new home. It is more difficult to find a place that will accept a dog, and you might find that it will cost you more as well. 

Additionally, dogs like stability, and bringing a dog into your home and then immediately moving can cause them problems. So take care of your housing needs before you add a new doggo to your family.

Dogs can cause damage

There is a good chance that at some point your beloved doggo will damage your home and/or your furnishings. We suggest you hope for the best but plan for the worst. 

Puppies, especially, get into things and love to chew–everything in sight. If you have expensive rugs or carpets, plan on getting them cleaned at least once if not multiple times. Expensive shoes? Make sure that your puppo can’t get to them while you are gone. Don’t forget that chair and table legs are great chew toys in the eyes of your dog–so don’t be surprised to find tooth marks on the leg of that antique table.

Your neighbourhood or lease has rules against having dogs

Most communities and leases have rules about dog ownership. Some don't allow dogs at all, others limit the size of dogs. Make sure that you follow the rules or someday you might find that you either have to give your doggo up for adoption or move–you probably won’t like either choice.

Family matters

A dog walking into a room with a child in it

Unless you live alone, dog ownership is a family decision. You have to agree on the type and age of the dog. You also need to coordinate the care of your new family member. And everyone needs to be on board with the decision.

You or a family member is allergic to dogs

Before you bring home your new forever friend, make sure that neither you nor anyone in the house is allergic. It is difficult to live with minor allergies and almost impossible to deal with major allergies day in and day out. 

While there are some dogs that are less likely to cause allergic reactions, you should seriously consider not getting a dog if members of your household are allergic to them.

You have small kids

Kids and dogs can be a good thing. Other times, the wrong combination can be a bad thing. It is a tough choice to make but sometimes it needs to be made. If you are adding a dog to a family with small kids, you have to carefully screen the dogs to make sure that they have patience and will tolerate toddler behaviour. You don’t want to add a temperamental dog to your home then have them nip your toddler. Keep in mind that you can always wait until the kids grow up before bringing home their new best friend!

All good things come to an end

As you make your decision to add a dog to your life, you have to remember that dogs do not live forever. Sooner or later, you will have to deal with the end of your furry friend’s life. Some people are better at this than others, so if you don’t deal well with the death of animals, you might want to consider not adding a doggo to your life.

Making the decision to adopt… or not.

When you get a dog, you are making a big commitment. You will be investing a lot of time and money, and you will be forming some of the strongest emotional bonds of your life. While you may feel the twinge of dog envy from time to time be sure you, your family, and your home are ready before committing to becoming a dog pawrent. Want to test the waters? Consider fostering a dog in need!

Whether you decide this is the right time for a dog or not, we hope this article helped you gain a sense of confidence in your decision.