What are the Advantages and the Disadvantages of Owning a Dog? What are the Pros and Cons of Dog Ownership?



What are the pros of getting a dog?

What are the advantages of owning a dog?

What are the benefits of having a dog in your life?



1  As a dog owner you can enjoy a sense of accomplishment

Many people take a lot of satisfaction from providing a dog, or a number of dogs, the opportunity to have a very good life.


This is why rescue dogs are so popular these days. Through rescuing a dog, you offer a once unwanted pooch the chance to have a fulfilling life.



2  You get companionship

If you’re going out to the beach, for a hike, or simply for a breath of fresh air in the vicinity, a dog can provide you with all the companionship you may need.


What’s more, while at home, a dog can provide you with all the companionship you might need, too.


It’s a great feeling to get back from work and be greeted by your dog.


Or, if you’re housebound, a dog can be of excellent benefit simply through companionship.



3  You get unconditional love from a dog

While love from a human companion can seemingly come and go (depending on the weather), love from a dog companion remains in unconditional fashion, regardless of the weather and regardless of anything else.


Irrespective of your faults, a dog will find the love in you.


Senator George Graham Vest of Kentucky said it best in his “Tribute to the Dog”:

“The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is his dog.

A man’s dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness….

When all other friends desert, he remains.

When riches take wings and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey through the heavens.”




What about the disadvantages of owning a dog?

What are the cons of dog ownership?


1  Dog ownership is a costly business

You have to consider the cost of purchase or the cost of dog adoption.


There are a variety of one-off costs such as the crate (if you need a crate), and a variety of other doggy-type essentials.


However, the most expensive dog-related costs are those that are recurring.



Every dog needs to eat meat, and every dog needs to have a diet that is mostly meat.

That meat can be prepackaged/ frozen or it can be homemade.

Buying meat for a dog is costly!

If you know you’ll struggle to afford the meat, but you’re still dead-set on having a dog, opt for a smaller-sized breed.


Vet bills

All dogs need veterinary care from time to time.

But there are also the one-off type of costs that can occur. And if they do occur, they need specialist care.

It costs around $1,200 to have knee surgery on a dog.

It can cost as much as $15,000 to get your dog cancer treatment.

Some dog owners have taken out loans to cover the cost of their pet’s veterinary bills.

As such, it’s good policy to invest in pet insurance.



Have you considered who will look after your dog if you decide to go away on holiday?

Can you trust a neighbor or a family member to look after your dog?

Or do you need to find a professional to do it for you?

If you need a professional, that’s an additional financial cost. And that can be a very expensive financial cost, depending on how regularly it occurs.



You can groom your dog yourself, of course, or you can have your dog groomed by a professional pet groomer.

It’s not just the hair that needs to be groomed, it’s also the nails. And the nails can be a bit tricky to clip.

Then there’s the teeth cleaning.

There’s also the ear cleaning.



2  Companionship

Companionship is an advantage about having a dog, but it’s also a disadvantage of dog ownership.


If you’ve got a full-time job and you can’t get back home during the day (or night) and there’s no one else to look in on your dog while you’re at work, it’s probably advisable not to get a dog.


Dogs, just like people, appreciate and need companionship.



3  Time consuming

Though most dogs are not particularly time consuming in terms of the amount of time you have to spend together with them, there will be times when they do require a lot of your time.



There’s the twice-a-day feeding program.

It’s not a matter of adding some kibble to a bowl for your dog to eat – there’s more to it than that.


Walking/ Exercising

There’s the twice- (or more) per-day walking schedule.

Not all dogs need to be walked for miles, though some breeds do benefit from longer walks than other breeds.



There’s the toileting.

It’s best not to force your dog to “hold it” for too long on a regular basis.

A dog that is regularly forced to hold onto their pee can develop bladder stones.


Grooming requirements

As mentioned, there’s the hair to groom, the teeth to clean, the toenails to clip, the ears to be cleaned.

Longer hair can get matted, so it likely needs to be brushed and combed daily.

Dogs that are shedding need to be brushed often (not to mention the amount of cleaning that needs to be done when a dog is shedding).

Some breeds need to have their hair trimmed quite often, too.



Regardless of how intelligent your dog is, you still need to provide it with at least some training.

Sit. Stay. Lie down. Come. No pulling on leash. No jumping up on people. No barking when unnecessary (such as when the mail comes through the letterbox). Don’t chew things that should not be chewed. Don’t ravage (or savage) other dogs.

On and on. There’s a lot to be learned when you’re a pet dog.

And there’s a lot of teaching to be done when you’re a dog owner. 


Visits to the vet

Make the appointment. Drive to the vet’s place. Wait in the waiting room. Vet sees dog. Maybe follow-up appointment/s required. Drive back home. Drive back to work (if you’re at work).

And vets are not always open at weekends, and rarely are they open in the evenings. So, normally, you’d have to take your dog to see the vet on a weekday – on a day and at a time that you’re at work.

It’s all particularly time consuming.

Additionally, a dog’s health problems have a tendency to occur when it’s not at all convenient.

A dog that is sick or injured can’t hang around for you to finish your vacation. They need attention now.



4  Fenced-in yard

No fenced-in yard? That would likely mean that, even for toileting breaks, you’ll have to take your dog out for a walk.

The ideal scenario would be, as a dog owner, there’s an area that your dog can run around several times each day just to stretch its legs.

And the ideal scenario for that to occur is to have a fenced-in yard. Even a small yard will suffice.



5  Get ready for…

Dog ownership calls for patience on your part. It can also mean you have to have a strong stomach.


Dog walking

Have you ever laughed at people that take their dogs for a walk when it’s raining or snowing?

As a new dog owner… welcome to the club.



Revisiting toileting matters…

You’ve been standing outside in the rain for the past 20 minutes.

Your dog has been sniffing around in preparation for having a pee.

But he/ she hasn’t yet done the necessaries.

You can’t stand the rain any longer.

Back inside your home, your dog pees on the floor.



Dogs like to chew things. Dogs, particularly younger dogs, like to chew things they are not supposed to chew.

Shoes suddenly go missing.

Shoes can become the new doggy chew.

Christmas presents nicely wrapped and stored under the Christmas tree can be a source of attraction for younger dogs in particular.



Dogs, like people, become physically sick.

Dogs, unlike most people, become physically sick quite often.

What that means is there can be a lot of cleaning up to do when you have a dog.


Household furnishings and flooring

Dogs love to jump up on seats. And dogs have no qualms about jumping up onto brand-new sofas.

You may have beautiful hardwood flooring throughout your home, but if you’re intent on getting a dog, once you have a dog, chances are, that beautiful hardwood flooring is not going to look so beautiful for much longer.


Vacuum cleaning

When you get a dog, vacuum cleaning can become a new hobby. Very likely, an unwanted hobby.

You’ll spend hours every month vacuuming hair off the carpet, off the upholstery, off the rugs.

If you much prefer that your environment is always near immaculate, chances are that dog ownership isn’t for you.





Dog Ownership is for 10+ Years


It can be extremely rewarding owning a dog. It can be extremely rewarding for you as the owner and also for the dog. 


But, if you do decide that having a dog is the right thing to do, you need to be willing to not only enjoy the pleasures of the experience, but also to handle the responsibilities.


And, as we’ve seen, there are ever so many responsibilities that come with dog ownership. 


It’s a whole lot about making compromises and sacrifices, just as it is if you have kids, really.


If you decide that dog ownership is the right option for you, you’ll likely have 10 to 15 years of commitment ahead of you. That’s 10 to 15 years of dealing with the responsibilities and making lots of sacrifices. 


If you already have a child, you’ll understand that this sort of long-term commitment involves a whole lot of love, a whole lot of providing, a whole lot of teaching, a whole lot of sharing, lots and lots of disciplining, lots of worrying, lots of laughing, quite a bit of crying.


Eventually, after all of that, it will be time to let go. 


There is of course a huge difference.


With a child, your child grows. Your child becomes more independent. 


Slowly, your child lets go.


With a dog, though, throughout his or her life, you’ll be their entire world, more or less.


And when it comes time to let go, it could be sudden, and this type of letting go is always final. 



Photo by Matheus Bertelli from Pexels