Pretty much anyone with a dog will gush to you about how awesome he is. I mean, what’s better than having a furry shadow who thinks you’re the greatest thing in the world? So you think, Hey, maybe I should have a dog. Before you run out and get one, make sure you’re prepared for the responsibility. Here are seven signs you shouldn’t get a dog:
1. You’re not home enough to care for one. Jet-setters, take heed. If you’re hopping on a plane every other week for a business trip or to soak up some sun down South, this might not be the right time to bring home a dog.
Same goes for the long hours you’re clocking at the office to please the boss-man, jumping out of the bed before the sun comes up and returning home long after it’s set. If you happen to be swamped for a couple months and need to hire a dog walker or drop your pup off at doggy day care during work hours, those options are definitely out there — but keep in mind that the majority of your dog’s care and socialization still falls to you, and that’s a huge time commitment.
2. You have severe pet allergies, or someone else in your house does. Moderate allergies to pets can sometimes be controlled by working with an allergist and creating pet-free zones (like the bedroom), but if someone in your family has severe, even life-threatening reactions to pet dander, bringing home a dog is not the way to go. Safety first, guys. If you still need your canine fix, volunteer to dog sit for a friend or spend some time helping at the local animal shelter.
3. You really just want a puppy. Obviously, puppies are cute. And your Instagram feed will suddenly become much more interesting than cubicle selfies and pictures of your Sunday brunch cocktails. But soon that tiny, “like”-garnering black-and-brown fluffball will become a 115-pound Bernese Mountain Dog who takes up the entire sofa and could eat you out of house and home. Scientific research has proven that puppies do turn into dogs, so make sure what you really want is a dog.
4. You’re not financially ready. Plenty of dog breeds love having jobs, but not the kind that brings home the bacon. That is your job, human.
Seriously, though, take a look at your finances and really consider whether you have enough disposable income to pay for a dog’s needs. You’ll need to cover the costs of his initial veterinary care and vaccinations, spaying or neutering, food, toys, shampoo, bowls, collars, leashes and cleaning supplies, among other things. And as careful and caring as you are, emergencies happen — and while pet insurance can help, unexpected vet appointments and surgeries aren’t easy on the wallet.
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5. You’re neurotic about your immaculate house full of white furniture. OK, we’re joking just a little bit. But don’t expect to adopt a Golden Retriever and not find his light hair all over your dark-colored living room rug. Getting a dog means committing to more cleaning than you’re used to, and that goes for vacuuming inside and cleaning up outside after he does his business. Especially when your mother-in-law is coming over.
6. You think your kids are going to do all the work. This is a big one. Your little ones are rapidly turning into caring, responsible preteens, and they deserve that dog they’ve been begging for over these past few years. But thinking that your kids can raise a dog without your help (and a lot of it) is unrealistic. Mikkel Becker has some great tips for how to include children in your dog’s training, but ultimately, the dog’s welfare is the obligation of the adult.
7. You’re not in the right place in your life to commit to having a pet for the next dozen years or so. Once you’ve fallen in love with a dog, his short lifespan (compared to ours) is never enough. That’s why you need to make sure that you’re ready to have another living, breathing being depend on you for at least the next decade, and maybe, hopefully, even longer.
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We don’t think your baby-boomer, empty-nester parents want the dog that your college buds thought would be awesome to have at the frat house for all of one semester. Thinking about dropping everything to move across the country and work on a farm for a year? This might not be the right time to get a dog. Raising something even as tiny as a 7-pound Maltese is a much bigger responsibility than you may think. So just make sure you’re ready.
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.