The Pros and Cons of Having a Dog

I don’t believe that you can own a dog. I believe that you bring a dog into your family and that you are responsible to act as that dog’s guardian for his or her entire life. I can’t imagine my life without a dog, but I’m also not going to pretend that guardianship is all rainbows and butterflies either because it’s not. Like anything else that’s worthwhile in life, there will be challenges and setbacks that you will need to overcome.

I think that many people aren’t prepared for the commitment, dedication, and expense that comes with dog guardianship. I think that people need to enter into the experience well-informed and understand how much their lives will change. I implore you not to select a dog just because he or she is “cute” because temperament, exercise requirements, and breed traits are far more important considerations (plus, all dogs are cute, right?).

Below I have compiled a list of the pros and cons of having a dog in your life. Please add to my list in the comments.

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Cons
  1. Sometimes, they ruin your stuff. However, if you buy them appropriate toys as outlets for their energy, then they are a lot less likely to turn their attention to your shoes. B’s favourite toys, which he hasn’t been able to destroy, are:
  1. Picking up poop kind of sucks.
  2. Sometimes, they bark at nothing despite your reassurances that it’s nothing (which is hilarious).
  3. They require diligent training (but its fun and allows you to bond!) because no one wants to be around a poorly behaved animal. Just because a dog is small doesn’t make their rude behaviour cute or endearing. Bad manners are never appealing in humans or dogs.
  4. Travel plans are more complicated as you either need a reliable pet sitter or pet friendly accommodations (I prefer the latter).
  5. Sometimes, they make the house pretty dirty (spring time is the worst. Hello, mud!). But hey, kids and husbands make the house dirty, too.
  6. Dogs make it tough to sleep in (but you will be more productive because you will wake up early!).
  7. Vet care can be expensive.
  8. Sometimes, they demand your undivided attention even if you are actually busy doing something else. B has been known to knock my laptop off my lap because he wants to sit with me.
  9. When they get sick (or you lose them), it’s absolutely devastating.
Pros
  1. Dog cuddles are the best EVER.
  2. They offer unconditional love and loyalty.
  3. You will be forced into physical activity regardless of the weather. People often complain about this element of having a dog, but I have some breaking news: physical activity is good for you!
  4. You will get stress relief from simply being around your dog.
  5. They provide relentless comfort when you’re sad. B will lick my face until I laugh!
  6. Dogs are a constant source of happiness and amusement with their crazy and endearing antics.
  7. They teach you life lessons. For real! Like living in the moment, forgiveness, patience, and getting joy out of the simple things in life.
  8. Dogs protect you and would lay down their lives for you.
  9. You will always be greeted by the welcome home doggy dance.
  10. Dogs are constant companions who will follow you everywhere and demand to be a part of your life. They are great little buddies who are always up for an adventure.

I have sometimes thought of the final cause of dogs having such short lives and I am quite satisfied it is in compassion to the human race; for if we suffer so much in losing a dog after an acquaintance of ten or twelve years, what would it be if they were to live double that time?

-Walter Scott

Disclosure: if you buy any of these products from me, or do any of your amazon.com shopping through my store, my sweet boxer, B, will get some treat money. He thanks you in advance for supporting his cookie addiction and I thank you for supporting my blog.

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67 thoughts on “The Pros and Cons of Having a Dog

  1. I would also add patience for life lessons. My family’s two dogs would sleep and lie for hours. But when my sister comes home, they jump up with renewed energy. What do you look for in pet friendly accommodations?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I am going to add patience right now! Thank you for the suggestion.

      We often stay at Comfort Inns because they will allow one dog (and sometimes two) to stay in the room for free (usually there is an extra fee). They also give us ground floor rooms and usually have grassy areas.

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  2. Great post but I would add that not all dogs will protect you or lay down their life for you. Of course, there’s only one way to find out and that’s not advisable. Many will and have done so. There are others who will run and hide or simply provide an alert to others by barking. It is wrong to think that they can and will.

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    1. I’ve always believed that a dog who is strongly bonded to his or her human would try to save the day if push came to shove. I know that dogs will either fight, flight, avoid, or submit and my little guy is usually pretty timid…he goes the avoidance or flight route most often. However, when he actually feels that I may be in danger, something in him clicks and he becomes my little protector. A truly effective attack dog needs training though, which is not a route that we decided to go.

      You’re right though, not all dogs are the same!

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  3. My fur babies are my heart! My 3 year old pug Stella has been there since my husband and I started dating, and last summer we adopted a pitbull puppy named Jezebel! They are definitely two characters, and I don’t know what I would do without them. Stella is very timid until she hears a noise or someone she doesn’t know shows up and then she’s all bark. Jezebel is still in the behavioral training stage, and is very protective of her mama. But if the person she is currently barking at steps toward her, she jumps into my lap head tucked under my leg. Pets are life-long commitments, not accessories, and it’s heartbreaking that some don’t understand that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They sound adorable! Do they get along? I am getting a kick out of imagining a pug and a pit bull playing together 🙂 We would love to get a second dog but our little guy is a spoiled only child and we aren’t sure how he would react. We wouldn’t want to cause him any stress.

      It breaks my heart when people treat their animals like garbage and just get rid of them. I often say to my husband that many people think of their marriages as disposable, so what hope do our animals have? It’s a by-product of our culture and definitely not a good one!

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      1. Oh yes. Stella acts like she hates Jezebel but we catch them playing all the time lol if they’re not playing, ones asleep on my shoulder, and the other is in my lap sleeping. Stella is too big for her britches 90% of the time! Lol we actually have 10 dogs and two cats, but the other 8 dogs are my husbands hunting dogs. I don’t know how someone can be cruel to an animal. They’re as innocent and trusting as children!

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  4. Love this post. You are spot on about dogs. I currently have 6 in the house. All of them under twenty pounds. Three are my daughters and three are mine. But together we are a pack. My oldest is a Bichon – 13 years old and his hearing and sight are starting to grow dim and it breaks my heart. He’s a rescue and he’s been with us since he was 8 months.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so jealous! Six dogs! My husband is capping me at two, lol. If I could, I would have a house full of dogs 🙂

      It is SO sad to see your animals getting older. It breaks my heart that some people choose to discard them at that point rather than take care of them.

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  5. Great post. I know quite a few people who got puppies this Christmas and the knowledge you provide is very good. Not all people are prepared for a dog and all the things they do. I lost my Nikki 2-years ago now but she constantly begged to go outside when she knew the whether was nice which meant she needed a good walk, she loved us – her pack – but was never good with other people but we trained her to go to my parents room and there she stayed, for a year after she left us there was still her hair everywhere, she needed to be brushed a lot, especially when she was shedding which was most of the time, her teeth needed brushing almost daily, and her nails needed to be clipped often. I think that is just the beginning of stuff you need to do for a dog. Thanks for posting this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Grooming is another great one to add to the list. My dog is a boxer and his short fur is pretty low maintenance, which is why it’s not top of mind for me. He really hates to be brushed and tries to eat the brush, lol. The teeth brushing and nail clipping are weekly events though!

      I think a lot of people want puppies, but forget that the puppies will turn into dogs. People often surrender dogs to shelters at the 18 month mark and then when they are seniors, which is so heartbreaking for me.

      Living things are not throwaways and I can’t fathom how anyone could think they are. It sounds like I’m preaching to the choir though 🙂 Thank you for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Cannot agree with this post more! Really miss my dog while I’m away for university, can’t wait to see my baby! I mean, who else can I force to give me hugs and talk to without a word of complaint :))

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Don’t forget the always exciting middle of the night pukes that most dog owners have had the joy of experiencing. There is nothing that gets me out of bed faster than the sound of the dog gagging! With three pups – it’s a monthly (Atleast) occurrence! But I wouldn’t change it for the world!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The way I look at it, it’s still less work than children, lol 😀

      It’s true though, cleaning up doggy puke and doggy diarrhea is no fun at all (I find the two often come together). But considering what we get in return, I wouldn’t change it for the world either 🙂

      Thank you for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I absolutely love this post! I own 4 Shih Tzus of my own and was thinking of some way I can eventually post about my family of 4 but didn’t know how, but you write so eloquently and with humor as well (yes, picking up poop does suck, especially when you own multiple furry rugrats haha).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Four dogs! I’m so jealous. If my husband would allow it, our home would be full of dogs in every size. Well, my city probably has a by-law against that kind of thing too, lol. I am definitely onboard with a doggy inspired post about your fur babies!

      Thank you for your kind words, much appreciated 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Apologies for replying so late, I’m not sure why I never got the little comment bubble in my notification bar! But stay tuned… 🙂 I finally have more of a direction on what I want to post next on my blog (no dog posts yet though!)

        I’m sure your city would be all for you getting one or two more dogs with no problem 0:)

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I once saw a YouTube video that showed a girl returning from school abroad and her dog getting so excited to see her that he actually passed out! The dog wasn’t hurt, thank goodness, and it just goes to show the depth of their love for us 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Great list.
    Rescued my pitt from the ASPCA 8 yrs ago. All the items on your list are true. She’s like one of my kids. I’d take her everywhere if I could but she’s a dog so not possible. I’ve turned down many vacations just because I didn’t want to leave her behind. Especially around the holidays. Even tried to include her in my life insurance policy but that didn’t work lol.
    They bring a certain aspect to life that humans can’t/don’t … like hearing things that I don’t and much more.

    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! We actually turned down a Christmas party invitation because we weren’t allowed to bring our dog. When the host suggested we keep our dog in his garage instead, I simply passed on all of us attending.

      My little man is an important member of the family and not to be stored in a cold garage! I get that not everyone likes dog, but not everyone likes kids either and they are never left behind 😉 Seriously though, our guy is so well behaved that he just lays at our feet, so I can’t understand what the problem is…It’s so true that the love they give us can’t come from any other source.

      Where I live, pit bulls are banned and that breaks my heart. It’s bad owners, not bad dogs, and pits are beautiful animals. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend any strong breed to a new dog guardian, but a responsible, experienced guardian could definitely handle one. Have you face any doggy discrimination? Someone once mistook my boxer for a pit and started backing away. Silliness!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes it’s an issue here too. My girl is a rednose so her facial features are a little less serious as the traditional pit but she’s 50 plus pounds so non pit/dog lovers usually stare clear. But true pit lovers ask to pet her. She’s great with people but a little less so with other dogs. It’s funny that she likes smaller dogs than bigger but it’s probably because she’s pretty dominant… Always in the lead. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  10. My *first born* gave me “HOPE”, i suffered two strokes and a HA, he comforted me, and gave me reason to live, he made me the person i am today, he passed away 11 months ago, and now *second born* is poorly, and i am now giving him “HOPE” also, im tending to him like a child, he will be better soon.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. i can’t wait to have a rat.. err i mean saluki! one day. i am waiting to have enough time to devote to them… actually, i’d probably have 2 salukis and a whippet… or maybe 1 saluki and 2 whippets? … okok that’s far away at this point. i just need to get through school first!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. A very realistic list of pros and cons. As for me, I can’t imagine not having a dog jn my life. They bring so much joy and unconditional love but you’re right. It’s not always roses. My second dog was over protective and aggressive and we had to give him up. Our third dog Harry, who we have now, was a shelter dog and he is just like my third child. I’ve actually written a post on all three of my dogs on my blog because all 3 (even the one I had to rehome) enriched my life.

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  12. I’ve been thinking of adopting a dog for ages, which I think is a good thing because it takes a lot of careful consideration. Your list is bang on, but I have to say that the pros look like they outweigh the cons! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad that you’re putting a lot of thought into it – it’s a big commitment! Dogs are like children who stay toddlers forever, so the work never ends. However, like you said, the pro list definitely outweighs the con list!

      Thank you for reading 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. So true! Every bit of it is true -my daughter just ran downstairs to my office to tell me the old guy, Pluto, pooped in the living room. My husband just got home -and found it -that sucks! Good news -she cleaned it up. Despite his age and bad manners at times -he is the best snugger -and at 12 pounds with most of his teeth missing -he be the first one to attack anyone that tried to harm us. Bad thing is -he thinks my husband is still an intruder after 13 years. oops!
    fiddledeedeebooks.wordpress.com

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    1. I find it heartbreaking that people give up their senior dogs rather than going to the “hassle” of caring for them. Dogs give us their very best every single day and we owe it to them to make a commitment for their entire lives. I’m so glad to hear about your dog’s long life and also glad to hear you have adapted to his quirks! My little guy will defend me against anyone, even my husband, so I feel your pain on that one, lol.

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  14. I love this post. Will look at some of those toys. Tippy can destroy a toy that is supposed to be “durable” in about 2 minutes. I also agree with doing your homework before getting a dog. I must admit that I did not do that and just went for the cute, unique puppy. Even though at times she has been more than I bargained for, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Those are the only toy brands we will use because B is a very destructive chewer. The second he gets a new toy, it’s like, “thanks, mom. I’m going to murder it now.” He has not been able to destroy these toys for months (and some for years!).

      Thank you for reading 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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