Agnes’ Hoomom is here, to chat today about how your life changes when you get a dog. Unless you always have dogs in your family, life does tend to change when you get a dog (more so than with most other pets). I firmly believe that pets are just as important as any other member of the family, and can make as big or a bigger difference in our life as any person. I’m highlighting the biggest ways that your life can change with a dog and what to expect!
1) You’ve Gotta Be Home
So, I am one of those terrible dog owners that has a full time job and can’t come home at lunch- if my dad isn’t at home to take her out a few times/hang out with her, she is kennelled. (She is kennelled at night from about 9pm to 530am, and she does well- puppies can sleep for 18+ hours a day.) So, while I don’t have any issue with kennelling her, I make sure that I am home as soon as possible after work- she gets a walk and play right when I get home, because she needs a potty break and I want her to get as much play in as she can!
I would argue that if you don’t enjoy being home a lot of the time, a dog might not be the best fit- very few of us can take a dog with us everywhere we go, so you are most likely leaving them home when you go out. As long as you are home to let them out in a reasonable amount of time, you can certainly go out, but I wouldn’t recommend always heading out- that means your doggo is just home on their own. You can also look into doggie daycares and dog walkers but that can get expensive very quickly!
2) You Need a Financial Buffer
Dogs, and pets in general, can be quite expensive. When you add up food, treat, toys, grooming supplies, classes bedding, play areas/fencing, medication, and whatever else pops up, it can get expensive pretty freaking fast. Thankfully, my brother and friends were very realistic with me about what costs can spring up and what to plan for, but I would always have $3-500 set aside at least in case something springs up. I’ll be honest when I say that most surgeries (including spaying and neutering) will cost more than $500, but it’s better than nothing. What seems like a “regular” vet visit can suddenly go from costing you $70 to $250 with absolutely no notice, and in a lot of places you have to do tick and/or heartworm and/or flea medication that aren’t cheap (six months for me of tick and heartworm meds runs me about $200 CAD). Even treats for puppy class cost me somewhere in the neighbourhood of $50/month because of how fast you go through them. Budget extra, and be glad when you don’t need it!
3) They Will Scratch/ Eat/ Bite/ Destroy Things
No matter what breed they are, unless they are toothless and nail-less, they will eventually destroy something. They will rip apart toys, they will eat shoes, they will pee on your carpet, they will chew on baseboards, and much, much more. Unless you have them constantly kennelled, it will eventually happen, unfortunately. You can keep them on a leash with you all of the time, but eventually you will need to let them off of the leash and let them explore (or it can have consequences later on). In order to combat it, I would recommend buying toys that keep them occupied for a longer stretch of time and are durable enough to last heavy chewing and rough play, buy things like bitter apple and cherry spray to deter them from chewing things, and just taking the time to play with them so that they aren’t bored enough to be destructive. Also, try to move/ put anything away that you would be heartbroken if it didn’t make it! (My shoes live in a Rubbermaid bin to prevent this.)
4) Your Schedule and Rhythm Will Change
This kind of ties into needing to be home, but is it’s own separate point- dogs have their own schedule. You can try to fit it into your own schedule, but much like children, when you want to relax and read a book or watch TV, your dog might choose that moment to be a crazy nutso who wants to play with you and get the worst case of the zoomies that you have ever seen in your life. Or you might be ready to head out for a walk and get some exercise in and they want to do is sleep. You have to learn how to adapt and work with their schedule; if you only want a pet who will fit your schedule, you might want to consider a fish or hamster. (That’s not a flippant suggested, they are wonderful pets who happen to allow for a very flexible schedule!) Dogs are very much their own creatures and have their own rhythms , and they may not look like ours So, you may have to change the rhythm of your day to accommodate play, naps, walks, and whatever else your pupper needs.
Do you have pet? If you do, did your life change?