Even being the biggest fans of dogs doesn’t mean that owners are blind to some of the drawback of pet ownership. Having a dog is no easy task and it requires effort and sacrifices that not everyone is prepared to make. Claiming that there are no downsides to caring for another living being is simply foolish, but on the opposite side of the spectrum, those same downsides can also be seen as advantages, sometimes with a far larger return on your investment.
Here are the main cons of being a dog owner, and why it’s still worth it.
ALSO READ: 20 Proven Health Benefits of Having a Dog
1. Taking care of a dog is time-consuming
Chief priority on most dog owners' list is the fact that pets need their time. Depending on the dog breed you’ve chosen, the pupper will either need 2 quick walks outside to do the business, or will need several outdoor hours per day, every day. Some experts claim that owners need about 3.5 hours daily to devote to their dogs.
Even if you’ve adopted a breed that isn't particularly active, you’ll still need to invest time to play with the dog, to give him affection, to feed him, to clean him, to maintain his ears, eyes, paws, teeth, and general physical hygiene and fitness, and so on, and so forth.
On the bright side, all of these “downsides” of dog ownership can be seen as advantages to loving pet owners. It's the time you spend and bond with your dog, sharing daily activities and grooming regimen. Majority of owners will argue that these things will bring you joy rather than annoyance, and they're not wrong.
2. Taking care of a dog isn’t cheap
Dogs need to eat, need to be taken to the vet and need to be given certain meds, items and toys to live well. None of those things are cheap. When you account for all the vet bills several years later, and how much a dog cost you over the years, you realize that it does dig into your total budget substantially. American dog owners spend approximately $1311.7 per year for each dog they have, according to statistics from Statista.com.
And while this number can be quite daunting and put some people off, keep in mind that this makes for approx. $100 per month, which is less than what we spend for a lot of needless luxury items and entertainment every month. And unlike those empty money-pits, a dog will repay you with an endless supply of loyalty and love, which could be the best $100/mo investment you could ever make.
3. Having a dog can be a challenge
To take care of an animal, you need more than just time and money. You’ll need to put in some effort. Just as new parents read dozens of books about parenting, you'll have to educate yourself on how best to raise and train your new puppy. You’ll need to figure out your dogs’ body language, you’ll need to understand his psyche and how best to “manage the animal”, you’ll need to learn how to stay patient when your dog doesn't listen to you, how to brush the dog's teeth, and much more.
However, as with the practical time you’ll have to devout to your pup, if you adopted your pup in search of companionship, then you'll get it all back tenfold – and it will all be worth it.
4. Dogs can damage your furniture and home
The more intelligent and social a dog is, the more disturbed they are likely to get when left home alone for too long. If you want to have a dog and your furniture to survive, you’ll need to make sure that your pup is never bored and doesn't develop destructive behavior. This means socializing, training and providing your dog with toys. Sometimes, you may even need to invest in special dog owners' furniture to keep it away from destruction.
And while this can sound positively exhausting, preventing destructive behavior in dogs and keeping them mentally stimulated, away from bored, can be a great fun for pet owners. By simply playing with your Fido and giving him enough attention you're likely stimulating positive emotions in yourself at the same time.
5. Having a dog restraints your social life
When it comes to social problems, similar to going from being single to having kids, when you adopt a dog you simply won't always be able to do all the things you used to do. While not always, it's possible you'll have to skip on some invitations, you’ll have a slightly harder time inviting guests, especially if they don’t like dogs, and so on.
On the other hand, while some things are taken away, new things are brought in. For example, going to the dog park every day is a great way to socialize and many owners argue that pets actually improve social life in adults. Dog owners connect better and quicker with other owners, and singles with pets are seen as more attractive to the opposite gender.
6. Travel destination and tourist options are limited
More so than with guests, dogs limit your travel options. Depending on the type of the trip, you can't always bring your pet with you. And if you do, not all hotels and resorts accept canines, thus traveling with a dog is significantly more challenging than traveling without one, and may be more expensive due to pet fees in hotels.
Nevertheless, tourism is infinitely more fun when you have a four-legged companion by your side. Just like traveling in a company is better than by yourself, bringing your pooch with you is likely to increase the joy of travel. Also, every year more hotels are changing their policies to accept pets, sometimes without any fees. In fact, some hotel chains are now centered to be all about pet owners and their dogs.
7. Dogs can cause accidents
Among dog trainers and professionals, there’s a saying that the dog’s misbehavior is the owner’s fault. Which is to say that a misbehaving dog is a poorly raised and trained pet. Still, we can’t all be expert dog trainers, so when you’re taking care of a dog, there’s also the slight, at least theoretical, risk that your dog might attack someone and cause harm.
Such things are most probably in self-defense or in defense of you, but that's still something that needs to be considered, especially in situations such as adopting a non-kid friendly breed and having kids around.
On the opposite side of things, a dog's defensive instincts can be of great help in a lot of situations. Dogs are known to stop burglaries or physical confrontations, to help people in accidents, protect children and their owners, and much more. Pair that with proper dog training and socialization, and the exposure to the above mentioned risks are minimal.
8. Terrible feelings of loss after being attached to the dog
Probably the biggest tragedy of being a dog owner is that dogs only live 10-15 years on average. Many people cite this reason more so than any other as to why they don’t want to get a dog – they're afraid of going through the experience of a loss. It’s practically a guarantee that one day you’ll say goodbye to your closest friend.
But as painful as this is, it doesn’t change the fact that a dog can give you 10-15 years of daily fun, laughter, love, and positive experiences and unforgettable memories, among the many other benefits of dog ownership. And that’s far better than not having a dog at all.
9. Dogs can lead to diseases and infections
As all living things, dogs are not immune to diseases and infections. While most canine illnesses cannot be transferred onto people, some still can – they're called zoonotic diseases. Therefore, by living around dogs, we effectively have one more risk source being around that can infect us with something. This is just yet another reason why it's crucial to take proper care of your dog’s hygiene and health.
But if that sounds too troublesome, then we might as well isolate ourselves from everyone – the fact that both dogs and people can transfer diseases and infections isn’t a sound enough reason to deprive ourselves from the future best friend’s presence in our lives. Moreover, by same token, dogs can also protect us from other diseases, particularly kids. Children and adults who live around dogs develop stronger immunity against many bacteria.