I know a handful of people who are considering adding a dog to their family right now. I also know that a lot of folks who stop by here regularly have dogs, so this probably won’t apply to you- but maybe it’s something you can share with friends or family who are talking about adding a fur babe to the mix. Christmas is coming and, without fail, people gift their kids/significant other puppies or kittens. Then January, February, & springtime is a super busy time for shelters & pounds. I’m simply asking anyone considering a dog to read this first.
Having a dog is HARD.
Having a dog is expensive.
Having a dog is frustrating, messy, and time consuming.
I am the kind of person who will always have a dog. We took in Lylee before we were married, while I was still living at home with my parents. Prior to Ly, K and I both grew up with dogs. I’ve had three family dogs from birth to present day while K spent his childhood first snuggling Sandy, and then Melody. Adding a dog to our little fam was a no-brainer. Since we grew up with fur-siblings, we were well aware of the headache/handful/heartbreak a dog can be.
Not everyone has that experience, so I wanted to share the not-so-glamorous & disgusting side to dog
ownership parenting. (Please know I would never reverse my decision to adopt dogs! They are the absolute best and I think everyone should know unconditional love expressed through sloppy kisses and nose-nudges…. I just want you to be prepared.)
Dogs are expensive.
We easily spend +$500 on vet bills for our two dogs. Additionally, we drop about $23 per month on food (the cheap kind!)- plus treats. Lylee also has vitamins and anti-anxiety drugs that cost about $20 to $30 a bottle. On top of that, there are toys, bedding, and equipment (crates, travel mats, bowls, leashes & harnesses) that need replaced every few months or years. I bet we spend $1,000 on our dogs annually.
There are initial costs, too. To adopt or purchase the dog might be well over $300. Then you must get them spayed/neutered and up-to-date on all shots. And if they’re a puppy or if they’ve been in a shelter for a while you should sign them up for obedience classes.
It adds up.
Dogs tend to poop. And puke. And have plenty of accidents.
I can’t tell you how many puddles of pee I’ve soaked up. Or piles of poop I’ve scooped from the yard (and occasionally the carpet). And we were blessed with a puker, so I’m scrubbing Enzo’s crate at least once a month. And unlike my co-parent, I was programed with an iron stomach so I’m typically the one to clean up the messes.
When we got home from vacation last week I was greeted by a lovely poop-streak in the living room. Apparently someone had a difficult time outside and came in to use the carpet like toilet paper. (I know it’s gross, but IT HAPPENS with dogs. And I’ve thoroughly cleaned the carpets, fyi.) Also, last week Lylee stepped in poop so I had the privilege of scrubbing her paw with soap and a bucket in the backyard. #blessed
Dogs make messes and get dirty.
Similar to my second point, dogs are living, breathing things that tend to lose hair and collect dirt. Depending on the dog, it might drip slobber or bring home burs. And even if you’ve shelled out the big bucks for flea and tick meds (…which you should), you might find a little nit on your precious bundle of fur. Even with medication, it’s important to check them after walks & outside play.
Bath time is fun in our house. It happens less often than it should and it includes two dogs glaring at me and shivering while I man-handle them into the tub, then drench my own leg while scrubbing their bellies and telling them how good they’re being. Top that off with an unaccounted for full-body shake that leaves our bathroom smelling of wet swap poodle. Good times.
Dogs are time consuming and costly.
We are super lucky because right now our dogsitter lives across the street from us. When we’re gone for a weekend she pops over multiple times per day and when we leave for a week or more she stays with Ly & Enzo. (She’s getting married & moving out soon, though, so we’re going to lose her… *sigh*)
Anyway, what I’m getting at is dogs can’t be left alone for more than a few hours. Also, they tend to enjoy/need walks to stay sane and healthy. Also, they’re one of those rare creatures that actually like to have humans around, so it’s important to devote time to just being with your pup. It’s actually easier said than done- life is busy.
Dogs aren’t invincible.
The absolute worst part of having a dog is that they sometimes get sick. I mean that in a heartbreaking way, not in an inconvenient way. They will never reach an age where they can tell you what’s wrong. Blood tests and x-rays and surgeries are all costly but sometimes that’s the only way to figure out what’s wrong. K and I have already agreed that we would spend anything to keep our two healthy and safe. I know that’s different for everyone, but it’s an important thing to establish before you commit to a dog.
We’re not going to talk about it, but dogs tend to have shorter lifespans than their humans. I’ve said goodbye to so many dogs and it never gets easier, but you’ve got to commit to your dog- from beginning to end.
Ok… moving on…. my dogs are going to live forever. (That’s my mantra.)
All of that to say dogs are a huge commitment and very challenging. And if you’ve never been responsible for a dog, I just want you to know the nitty gritty of it all. But also, owning dogs is wonderful and amazing and rewarding and fun.
And they’re so freaking cute and smushy and perfect and fluffy and delicious ❤︎
Keep in mind I’m not an expert; I just want to inform people on dog ownership. If you have a question I would be happy to answer it- and if I can’t, I’ll find you the answer! And in regards to Christmas- dogs make wonderful, amazing companions, but they’re not a good gift. The dog parents need to be a part of the planning/adoption process 🙂