Before you take on the commitment of bringing a dog into your family, you need to think carefully about the advantages and disadvantages. That cute puppy may be part of your life for up to twenty years (depending on the breed) so the decision is not to be made lightly. Some of the points I have listed as disadvantages or cons to dog ownership will not be negatives for some people.
Image by Marie Vonow
A dog provides unconditional love and accepts you just as you are. When you come home, your dog will welcome you. You are never alone at home when you have a dog.
A dog can benefit your physical and mental health
Good for children
Children who grow up with a dog learn responsibility if they help take care of it. They tend to have more empathy for other people.
A dog provides company for a child. An only child has something to play with and talk to.
A dog will bark when someone comes onto its property. Barking may put off a would be intruder. Many people feel safer when they are out walking if they have a dog with them.
Image by Marie Vonow
Dogs can bite
Over 100,000 Australians experience being bitten by a dog each year and nearly half of serious bites happen to children under 10 years of age. A dog can inflict nasty injuries or even kill a small child. Young children sometimes provoke or frighten a dog so the danger of a bite occurring needs to be taken into account before getting a dog.
Dogs need company
A dog shouldn't be left on its own for extensive periods of time. It needs attention and exercise.
Need to be cared for when you are on holiday
Appropriate care needs to be provided for your pet when you go away on holiday. Sometimes a dog will need to stay at a boarding kennel.
Can be destructive
Puppies tend to chew anything left lying around and that includes shoes and electrical cords. Some are quickly trained out of this, but others are persistent.
Destructive habits can be a major problem, especially with dogs that are often alone or get bored. Some dig up the garden and leave craters that can cause a hazard. A dog may tunnel under a fence and escape. This can lead to a hefty fine if your dog is picked up by the dog catcher.
Dogs leave fur all over the place
Even a small dog loses a lot of fur. If you find this annoying, perhaps a dog isn't the right pet for you.
Cost of food
Dog food can be costly, especially if you have a large dog. If you are buying specialised dog food for a health condition the food bill will be higher.
Dogs need regular worming, flea medication and nail clipping. Trips to the vet for check ups and vaccinations have to be budgetted for and any dental work is costly.
As your dog ages, it is likely to incur greater expenses with care for conditions like arthritis being common.
At any age a dog can sustain an injury or illness which results in a hefty vet bill. Whilst you can't put a price on unconditional love, do you have the cash to cover these costs?
Cost of regular care
You may want to get someone to wash and groom your dog for you. Some dogs need to be trimmed which is an added cost.
Difficult to rent if you own a dog
A dog like this needs regular grooming. Image courtesy of Pixabay
Many landlords will not rent out their investment property to someone who has a dog, especially a big dog.
Circumstances can change
Perhaps you don't have any children now but down the track you may start a family. How will your dog adapt to a baby in the house? How will it relate to a toddler if it wasn't brought up with young children?
You may be buying a house now but at a later stage may decide to rent for some reason.
At the current time you may be single but home every night so you can spend time with your canine buddy. What will you do if you get a promotion that means longer hours and perhaps nights away from home?
If you are a senior, what arrangements will you make for the care of your dog if you need to move into residential care?
Everyone needs to think about their current situation and what they anticipate happening in the future before taking on a dog. They need to be realistic about whether they can cover the costs of dog ownership. As well they need to be honest about the things they cannot tolerate and take that into account. A dog is a wonderful pet but doesn't suit everyone.