Should You Get a Family Dog? Pros and Cons of Having a Dog

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They say that life is always better with a dog. I tend to agree with that statement. Yet, it’s also true that not every home is a good fit for a dog. I know that during COVID, there’s been a lot of people that have jumped into purchasing a pet, and sadly, many regretted the decision.

Before we make a decision that reshapes our life, such as owning a dog, we should always consider the PROs and CONs and make an informed decision. That’s what this article is going to help you figure out.

Our family is also interested in purchasing a dog, at least my kids are, and I wanted to make sure that it’s a good fit for our family. Making sure that a dog is a good fit for your family is important, not only for your family, but also for the new furry companion that you’ll be looking at adding to our home.

I set out to figure out the good and the ugly when it comes to owning a dog, and determine if our family should take the leap and purchase a dog. Not all of these points will fit your situation, but I think this article will give you a good idea if it’s a fit for you, and bring up some conversation starters that you can have with your family.

I’ll begin with the negative aspects of owning a dog. Below are the reasons you need to consider for not owning a dog.

Reasons Not to Get a Dog

A Dog Takes a Lot of Work

Dog ownership takes work. From training them, walking them, and let’s not forget feeding and grooming, dogs are one of the most time-consuming pets that you can own. We all love our pets and want them to be healthy and well, but it’s important to realize before we purchase a dog that it does take a lot of our time.

if you’re like me, and your kids are begging you for a puppy, then they are going to make you all sorts of promises. However, weren’t born yesterday, and we know that the responsibility of bathing, walking, playing, and feeding will eventually come down to us (and when I mean us, I mean you). So, do you have the time to invest in a pet? That’s the question that you’ll need to answer. I do believe that dogs can teach your children responsibility and ownership, but you’ll always be the backup plan.

A dog will need your attention for about 1-2 hours each day. This will shuffle each week, but 1-2 daily is a good average. What attention will your dog need? Well, this is a long list, but mostly it’s the things that are most common.

  • Feeding
  • Walking
  • Playing
  • Grooming
  • Socializing

Dogs are social animals and love to be around people. It’s a shame when a pet is alone for most of its life. These are just a few more things to consider before purchasing a dog for your family. Will you be able to provide the time a dog needs from you?

A Dog Costs a Lot of Money

Apart from the cost of purchasing your dog, which can cost between $500-$3000 depending on the breed. There are also other costs associated with owning a dog.

Below is a chart that will give you a better idea of the extra costs associated with owning a dog.

Expense ItemsPrice Per Year
Food & Treats$500
Bed$65
Toys$100
Leashes and Collars$50
Grooming$300
Veterinary Care for a Healthy Dog$1500
Medications$500
Training $600
Boarding$300

The numbers above are estimates, but they give you a good idea of the expenses of owning a dog in the first year – about $2500 a year, plus the price of the dog.

I’m not giving you these numbers to deter you from owning a puppy, but to make sure that you’re making this decision with your eyes wide open. These numbers are also for a healthy puppy, it’s going to be multiplied if the pup needs to go to the vet. It goes without saying that owning a dog can be expensive.

A Dog Can Create More Stress

When we get a dog for our family, there is an opportunity to create more stress in our already stressful life. There are several ways stress can occur, from the dog upsetting your neighbors because of its continual barking to your family getting into arguments because no one wants to take the dog for a walk in the cold.

Yep! This happens all of the time.

The dog is barking at night and the neighbors are calling you because the dog is too loud. Next thing you know you’re questioning your decision to get a dog, and now have to deal with this new stress in your life. Or you’re sick and tired of arguing with your children about feeding and walking the dog.

Stress happens, and we should never do something because of the potential problems it may cause, but it’s good to be aware that dogs can create this conflict and be ready to deal with it when it occurs. Do you have the stress budget for more potential stress in your life?

A Dog Takes Away Your Freedom

Life is stressful, and you want to get out of town for a couple of days away.

You make all the plans to take a mini-vacation, and you’re really excited about it. You make all the plans, book a hotel and make a reservation at a restaurant, but you miss one important thing. You totally forget to find a place for the dog to stay. Owning a dog takes away the ability to just get up and go. You’ll need to make plans for your dog to a kennel or a friend’s house.

When you have a dog you’re more tied down and vacations do take more planning and will cost more money if you can’t take the dog with you.

You’ll be looking to spend anywhere from $50 to $60 per night to put your dog into a kennel. This would cost you about $420 a week. If you have your dog in a kennel for several weeks, you’d probably get a discount, but it’s an additional cost to your vacation budget.

Consider the strings that are attached to owning a dog.

You Become Attached

This isn’t so much a CON as it is a reality.

I’m adding this to the CON list because though it’s great that you get attached to your new puppy, it also means that you’ll have to say goodbye sooner than later. Unfortunately, dogs have a limited life span which means you’ll have to go through the feelings of separation and loss, but it’s better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all – at least that’s what they say.

Reasons For Getting a Dog

Next, we’re going to look at the reasons for purchasing a dog for your family. Let’s get into this.

Companionship

According to studies, dogs are great for helping us deal with stress, tackle depression, and ease our loneliness. A dog is an excellent pet for companionship and a dog will probably end up being your child’s best friend in the end.

Studies also show that people with dogs have lower blood pressure and those with dogs are more positive in their day-to-day life.

Children growing up with a dog will always have a friend to play with who will not judge them, become angry, or reject them. A dog is always loving and that love is unconditional.

Dogs are excellent companions in life – for the young and old.

Helps Socially

Having a dog is also great for creating social interaction. It’s easier to meet new people when you can talk about your dog, and friendships built around our pets are wonderful. It gives you an instant point of interest when you’re at a dog park.

Our dogs help us to expand our social circles and give us a good reason to begin conversations with other people.

Teaches Responsibility

Owning a dog has been said to be the best way to teach our children responsibility. I mentioned above that the responsibility of owning a dog most likely will fall on the parents, but owning a dog is still a great opportunity to teach our children the importance of responsibility and township, after all, it’s their dog.

Studies have shown that when a child has a dog and takes ownership of that pup, it helps with their self-esteem and worth. It also builds confidence in their abilities and teaches the child the importance of caring for others.

There are some lessons that can only be taught through experience, and owning a dog is that experience that is needed to teach our children valuable lessons.

They Make Us All Healthier

Another great reason for owning a dog is that it requires us to become more physically active. Our dogs need exercise, and we’ll have to be the ones that take our dogs for that daily walk. Because dogs need consistency, it means that we’ll have a daily exercise program as well. You don’t need a gym membership when you have a dog – just saying.

Owning a dog is a great way to help our children go outside more and enjoy the fresh air, and help them to become more active. Taking our dogs for walks is important, and the hope is that this encourages our children to get off the video games and outside with their pup.

A dog helps with our family's mental wellness

Of course, exercise has so many benefits to our life and health, and owning a dog is a great way to create a daily exercise routine.

Dogs make us healthier because they make us smile more, laugh more, and help us make more memories with our family. I grew up with a dog, and I still have memories today of that dog, and how it impacted my life every day.

Owning a dog is excellent for our family’s mental wellness.

Conclusion

Here is the moment that you’ve been waiting for, should you purchase a dog for your kids? I think deep down inside you want one too.

Yes, it’s true that owning a dog will cause problems, cost money, and take your time. This is a given and cannot be avoided. However, the benefit of owning a dog outweighs all of these negative reasons again and again.

There is an old saying that where there is no ox in the stall of your barn, their crib will always be clean. Yet, there is an advantage from the power and strength of the ox. Owning an ox can cause a hassle, but the advantage of owning an ox far exceeds the disadvantages.

There are far more advantages of owning a dog then disadvantages

The same is true with a dog. If you focus on the disadvantages of owning a dog, then you probably will decide that it’s not worth it. However, there is a lot of benefits that come from owning a dog.

You should always think long and hard before making this important decision, but if it’s within your means, I am confident that your dog will bring more happiness than hassle.

Before I end this article, I think it’s important to discuss everything in this article with your kids. Make sure that are aware of the work involved with owning a dog, and that they are on the same page as you.

If you decide you’re going to get a dog for your family, then I would suggest you surprise them. Their reaction will be worth the price of the dog.

Amy Stevenson

Amy Stevenson

Amy is an advocate adventurer. She loves enjoying each day by taking note of the small things in life. Amy begin as a writer for Better Home Living because of the opportunity to learn, teach and inspire.

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