Note from Con Slobodchikoff: This is a guest post by Paige Johnson who is a self-described fitness “nerd.” She possesses a love for strength training. In addition to weight-lifting, she is a yoga enthusiast, avid cyclist, and loves exploring hiking trails with her dogs. She enjoys writing about health and fitness for LearnFit.org.
For many people, getting a dog seems to be a natural life event. It’s a sign that you’ve hit a point in your life where you are stable enough to care for a living being other than yourself. However, depending on your lifestyle, a dog may not be the best choice – even if you’ve reached middle age and have a stable career.
Dogs require love, care, attention, and a number of other things that make dog ownership a less-than-ideal choice for some people. Here are a few reasons you might want to reconsider adding a furry friend to your family.
Each day, dogs need a reliable routine in order to flourish. They should eat, sleep, and go on walks at roughly the same time each day. When dogs feel secure in knowing that they’ll be fed and cared for every day, they respond better to occasional changes such as moving or their owner going on vacation. Dogs with a predictable routine are also typically better behaved. If you work an unpredictable schedule or struggle with remembering daily tasks, a dog may not be in your best interests.
Dogs Can Be Expensive
Even if you adopt an adult dog from a shelter (which is always the best option if saving a life is your goal), maintaining a dog’s health and well-being can be quite costly. Though inexpensive foods are on the market, cheap brands are little more than empty fillers such as wheat, corn, and animal byproducts. Plus, many well-known grocery-store dog food brands have been the subject of pet food recalls in recent years.
A quality dog food can cost as much as $45 for a large bag, sometimes more. Dogs also need toys, treats, chews, leashes, collars, ID tags, beds, and other items that keep them healthy and happy but add to your overall expenses. On top of all the physical items a dog needs, your pet will also need regular veterinary care for things like shots, yearly checkups, and treatment for illnesses, chronic disease or injuries. So, those with limited or unreliable income may not want to take on the responsibility of a pet.
Dogs Need to Go on Walks
Your dog will need plenty of exercise. Regular walks and play time are mandatory for healthy, happy dogs. With that in mind, dogs (particularly large or active breeds) may not be suitable for those with mobility issues or a crunched schedule.
Of course, dogs are also extraordinarily beneficial for stress reduction and alleviating depression which can be helpful for both overworked individuals and those with mobility issues. If you have a limitation that would prevent you providing your dog with walks, you can always hire a dog walker through a site like Rover.com to be sure that your pet is receiving the exercise and attention they require.
Dogs Limit Vacations and Travel
When you have a dog, taking impulsive trips or extended vacations is more complicated. Dogs aren’t cats; they cannot be left alone overnight without care. Someone needs to be there to let them outside, feed them, and give them attention. If you enjoy last-minute road trips or long-term traveling, a dog is likely not the best option for you. Of course, if you really feel that a dog would benefit you, there’s always the option of hiring pet sitters and boarders to care for your beloved four-legged friend while you’re away.
Dogs can be wonderful companions and have been shown to elongate the life of their owners. People who own pets are, on average, healthier and happier. However, if your lifestyle will not allow you to tend to a dog’s needs, you may want to wait for a time in your life where you can better care for a pet. No matter how much a dog might benefit you, you need to keep the dog’s needs in mind too.
A dog should also benefit from living with you. If you feel you can provide for your pet and that owning a dog will make your life better, then by all means, visit your local shelter. If one of these sections made you stop and think, you may want to consider waiting until your life is a little more stable or suitable for pet ownership before taking this particular leap.
Paige Johnson is a self-described fitness “nerd.” She possesses a love for strength training. In addition to weight-lifting, she is a yoga enthusiast, avid cyclist, and loves exploring hiking trails with her dogs. She enjoys writing about health and fitness for LearnFit.org.
Image via Pixabay by JojoSamek