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The Pros & Cons of Owning a Dog – Routine, Requirements & more

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By Nicole Cosgrove

happy puppy with owner

Owning a dog can be one of the most rewarding experiences in life, but there are some things to having a furry companion that are less than stellar. While dog lovers will swear up and down that they’re worth it, some people may politely—or loudly—disagree. Regardless of what your reasons are for owning or not owning a dog, they’re still the most popular pet to have. Whether you’re adopting your first rescue or getting your first service dog, knowing the truth about owning a dog is important. If you’re on the fence about having a dog, here are some pros and cons that may help you decide.

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Pros of Owning a Dog

There are many great reasons to own a dog, whether you’re living alone or looking for a family pet. Dogs are some of the best, most loving pets to own, with a wide variety of sizes and characteristics. Raising a dog can teach you many things about yourself, as well as dogs in general.

german shepherd dog protecting baby
Photo By: Alyona Mikhailova, Shutterstock

Dogs are Loyal Companions

Dogs are, for the most part, very loyal and affectionate companions. Few things can compare to the bond a dog has with its owner. Owning may be a commitment, but they’ll reward you with endless love. Dogs are great companions for families as well, helping your children grow and (eventually) learn the responsibilities of caring for pets.

Natural Watchdog

Except for a few specific breeds, most dogs have a natural watchdog instinct and well at the very least bark at possible “intruders” on the property. Some breeds have high guardian instincts, so they can help protect your homestead. Dogs can also ward off robbers with loud barking alone, keeping your family safe.

Dogs Create a Routine

Owning a dog means there are scheduled walks and feeding times, vet appointments, puppy school for new pups, grooming salons for the high maintenance breeds, and so on. It may seem like a lot, but within a few weeks, you and your dog will settle into a daily schedule you can look forward to. You and your dog will also have a closer bond with a set routine, which can increase your dog’s confidence.

woman running with dog
Photo Credit: Khakimullin Aleksandr, Shutterstock

Great Exercise Partner

Dogs are natural athletes, so why not take your pooch for a run or hike? Most breeds thrive from outdoor activities like running and hiking, which can encourage you to stay in shape. Some breeds are natural hiking partners, while others have a knack for jogging and swimming. Regardless, dogs are usually excited to spend any time with their owners.


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Cons of Owning a Dog

Unfortunately, living with a dog is not exactly the most glamorous lifestyle. This is especially true if you have a large or messy breed like a Bullmastiff or Boxer. Dogs are not always the best pet for your situation, and some breeds are better off with owners that have no children. While they’re adorable and can be entertaining, there are some downsides to owning a dog.

They’re Expensive

No matter how you look at it, dogs are expensive. Between dog food, dog accessories, training classes, vet bills, grooming, and any emergency situations, dogs can run up a huge tab just in one year. Now, imagine that cost over a ten-year lifespan and consider if owning a dog is worth the investment.

Shedding and Other “Dog” Things

Except for a few breeds, dogs tend to shed everywhere. You’ll spend more time picking fur out of your socks and clothes than you do getting ready for work. Some dogs are also slobbery, gassy and sometimes stinky, so don’t expect your house to be immaculate if you buy a breed with these characteristics.

Dog Shedding
Photo credit: smrm1977, Shutterstock

Dogs Have Lots of Requirements

Dogs need multiple things from you: food, time, attention, exercise, the list goes on. Dogs have requirements that need to be met on a daily and weekly basis. They rely solely on you to provide such things, so you need to ask yourself if you can handle that kind of long-term responsibility.

Short Lifespans

Did you know the Great Dane’s life expectancy is only 6-8 years? Dogs rarely make it past 15 years old, so be ready to handle the loss of your companion. While everyone grieves differently, there is no denying the pain of losing a dog. Some people just don’t see the reason to put themselves through that and opt for visiting friends with dogs instead.

  • Expensive investment
  • Shedding fur and other unpleasant things
  • Dogs have daily needs that require your time
  • Short Lifespan

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The decision of whether or not to get a dog can be tough, but many factors do need to be considered before bringing one home. We made this list of pros and cons to help you decide if a dog is right for you. If you’re still not sure, consider visiting an adoption center or reputable breeder for more information. Sometimes meeting a few dogs in person is all it takes to win over your heart. If you do decide you want to invest in a dog, make sure to do as much research as possible before getting your new best friend.

Need some help to determine the right breed? Try:

Feature Image Credit: Helena Sushitskaya from Pixabay

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