Since graduating university, Paul has worked as a bookseller, librarian, and educator. Born in the UK, he now lives in Florida.
Is Getting a Dog a Bad Idea for You?
Dogs are one of the most popular pets in the world. They are playful, affectionate, and loyal to their owners, and they can also help protect people and property. However, there are also many disadvantages to caring for a canine companion. They need plenty of regular exercise. Dealing with their poop is unpleasant and time-consuming. Dogs come with odors, hair, fleas, and chew marks, all of which are undesirable. Then there are the veterinary bills, which can be astronomical if they get injured in an accident or fall seriously ill. Accidents aside, regular checkups and medications still cost a pretty penny.
The 15 most important downsides to owning a dog are listed below. Each is discussed in detail in the sections that follow.
The 15 Main Disadvantages of Owning a Dog
- Veterinary Costs
- General Maintenance
- Food Expenses
- Necessary Extras
- Travel Logistics
- Allergies and Phobias
- Early Mornings
Dogs poop, and they do it a lot. If you are a responsible owner and take your dog on regular walks, you will be bagging, picking up, and disposing of feces by hand daily. According to Vet Babble, "It is normal for a dog to defecate anywhere between 1 and 5 times a day." This state of affairs will last as long as you have the dog.
This means you have to remember to bring doggy bags every time you leave the house (or incur the wrath of your displeased neighbors). Moreover, you'll likely deal with indoor accidents occasionally. If your dog gets into something they shouldn't (this tends to be unavoidable), they may have diarrhea or throw up in your house, and you'll be the one cleaning up the mess.
"When a man's best friend is his dog, that dog has a problem."
— Edward Abbey
Dogs require regular exercise to stay physically and mentally healthy. This sounds okay until you have to get up early every morning before work or school to take them for a walk, only to take them out again at the end of a long day as soon as you get home and again before bedtime. You also may have to interrupt or curtail social engagements for the sake of your dog. According to Outdoor Dog Adventures, "The recommended amount of daily exercise for most dogs is 30 minutes to 2 hours, although certain dogs need more."
Depending on breed and individual characteristics, some dogs may require even more activity. If you're away from home for extended periods (e.g., from 8:30 AM to 5:45 PM), you may have to hire a dog walker to take your pal out while you're away. These services are not cheap.
Dogs are social, pack animals, and they look to you for leadership and approval. That means they require lots of attention. They need petting and play on a regular basis. If you don't do this, your dog will be unhappy and may even engage in destructive behavior such as chewing up your furniture and possessions.
Unlike cats, dogs do not do well on their own. If you don't have the bandwidth to provide your dog with plenty of company and companionship, they will likely become depressed and engage in destructive behaviors.
4. Veterinary Costs
Veterinary costs can be huge. Your pet will need some basic procedures, shots, and care in the early stages of their life, and while these won't bankrupt you, they're not exactly cheap. If the dog has an accident, illness, or starts getting old, the cost of care can go up dramatically.
According to Forbes, "Over a 12-year lifespan, adding in various one-time expenses, a large dog can cost upward of $22,000." If you don't have a spare grand or two to dedicate to a pet's food and care each year, getting a dog may not be the best move financially.
5. General Maintenance
The types of maintenance required vary according to the breed of dog, but there is always work to be done. Whether this means brushing them, grooming them, clipping their nails, giving them a bath, or taking them for dental treatments, keeping a dog healthy requires persistence, dedication, and plenty of cash. If your dog happens to have behavioral issues, professional training might also be necessary.
6. Food Expenses
Dog food can work out to be expensive over time, especially for larger breeds. You really can't skimp on nutrition, you want your dog to stay healthy, so you cannot skimp in this area. Most cheaper dog foods are composed largely of fillers like corn that aren't particularly nutritious for canines, and higher-end foods are significantly more expensive.
According to The Spruce Pets, high-quality dog food "typically costs somewhere from $20 to $60 per month ($250 to $700 per year)." This number obviously varies depending on the size of the dog. Larger dogs eat more; smaller dogs eat less.
7. Necessary Extras
Food and vet bills aren't the only things that cost money—you also need to purchase all sorts of other stuff when you get a dog: toys, treats, collars, shampoo, flea drops . . . all of this stuff costs money and has to fit into your house. Tripping over dog toys and half-chewed bones will become a regular occurrence in your home, and unless your dog is one of the few breeds that don't shed much, surfaces without dog hair on them will become a thing of the past.
"When you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas."
— Jean Harlow
Fleas love dogs. They irritate them immensely and can cost lots of time, money, and effort to get rid of. It's not just the dog that needs to be treated—the fleas and their eggs can survive in your carpet and furniture too. Once you get rid of the fleas, you still have to spend time and money protecting your dog from future outbreaks. Flea and tick medicine costs money, and if the problem becomes severe enough that you need an exterminator, expect to pay at least $300.
9. Travel Logistics
Unlike cats, which are independent and can be left with food and water for a couple of days if you go away for the weekend, dogs don't do well on their own. If you travel, you'll have to pay for a dog sitter or find alternative accommodation for your pet. Whether you hire a pet sitter or go with a doggy daycare or boarding facility, the costs can add up quickly.
At BarkZone, a dog-boarding facility in Portland, Oregon, a standard kennel costs $40 per 24 hours, and a luxury kennel costs $60. This does not include things like walks, play sessions, or dog beds, all of which cost extra.
10. Allergies and Phobias
Like any pet that you bring into your home, dogs can trigger allergies in people. They also frighten some people, which is good if the person in question a potential burglar, but not if they are a friend, a relative, or the mailman.
Dogs love to dig, and digging can seriously mess up your yard or lawn. If you pride yourself on your home's neat landscaping, you may become frustrated with your dog's destructive outdoor antics.
12. Early Mornings
Dogs will wake you up early every morning, even if it is the weekend and you had planned to sleep in or you didn't get to bed until 3 AM. They can snooze at any time of day, of course, so they don't see it as any big deal. If you value sleeping in, you may be frustrated to discover that your canine companion is a die-hard "morning person."
Some do it more than others, but pretty much all dogs bark. That can cause a lot of irritation. Sometimes, it just takes somebody riding past on a bicycle to set them off, while other times, it is a noise that they aren't used to. Sometimes, they just want attention. Whatever the cause, barking is annoying. Many dogs bark when left at home or in the car, and while you won't notice, as you'll be away, your neighbors might have a thing or two to say about it.
I already mentioned poop, but pee can also be an issue. Even after you have gone through the arduous process of house-training your dog, they will still pee wherever they want when they're outside, including right in front of house guests or children. Most dogs also have indoor accidents occasionally, and you'll be the one cleaning them up.
Dogs don't live particularly long. You build up an extremely close attachment to them over the years, and then, one day, they die. This can be particularly distressing for children. Typically, a dog's lifespan is somewhere between 7 and 12 years, depending on the breed.
The months leading up to a dog's death are often difficult as well. Some may lose the ability to control when they urinate or defecate. Others might develop severe joint problems and become unable to navigate stairs and need to be carried.
As a dog's health declines, it falls upon their owner to make difficult decisions about whether or not certain expensive medical procedures should be undergone in an attempt to prolong the animal's life or whether euthanasia would be the most humane and logical option.
"I've seen a look in dogs' eyes, a quickly vanishing look of amazed contempt, and I am convinced that basically dogs think humans are nuts."
— John Steinbeck
The Choice Is Yours
Dog ownership can be one of life's greatest joys, but it can also be a tremendous pain in the butt. Do you think you have the physical, temporal, financial, and emotional capacity to bring a large, dependant animal into your life and care for it for the next decade? If so, you're probably a good candidate for dog ownership.
If any of the above items gave you pause, however, you may need to evaluate whether dog ownership would be a healthy fit for your lifestyle and living situation. Pet ownership should not be rushed into, and every pet deserves a responsible, loving, and caring home. Think carefully about whether this is something you'll be able to provide. If you're not sure, keep doing research, spend time with other people's dogs, and make sure you're totally ready before you decide to adopt.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2017 Paul Goodman
Carrie Lynn Sullivan on August 22, 2020:
I have fifteen reasons why dogs are awesome.
1.Dogs love you unconditionally
2.Dogs are loyal
3.Dogs protect you
4.When you drop something in the floor dogs will eat it saving you cleaning time.
5.Dogs are playmates for children.
6.Dogs are a good way to pickup dates.
7.Dogs lick us in the face so you don't have to buy an alarm clock.
8.Dogs get you out of traffic tickets.
9.Dogs take care of disabled people.
10.Dogs drank out of the toilet so you don't have to leave a water bowl laying around.
11.Dogs dig up moles in the yard.
12.Dogs make you go on a walk even when you don't want to.
13.Dogs are obedient and listen and cats ignore you.
14.Dogs bring you things like shoes.
15.Dogs are house broke and babies are not.
And that's all I have to say about that.
Bella Li on August 10, 2020:
Best article ever I can believe that dogs are good but this proves cats are better, and my cat brings more joy to me than any dog could in the world! Cats are so much better, and this article is the best thing I have read in my life you dog lovers!
Jorge Águilar on August 01, 2020:
I can believe I will never change for anything in this world my 5 Dog stupid coment. I hope humans with learn from Dog to give the love unconditionally to forgive I hope I can rescue more I don’t care
Nigel Steane on August 01, 2020:
Dogs can give u love companionship. Teach u responsibility . Give u a reason for walking. The above article was all negativity
Anne on July 30, 2020:
I put a $500 deposit down on a dog that cost $2700. I can afford a dog and I only work 8 hours a week. I know that dogs are a lot of work. I just travel too much and enjoy my freedom. I have decided not to get the dog and will refer back to this list every time I get sad that I didn't get him. Forfeiting the deposit is a small price to pay for my life and the dogs life to be happy.
Savage wasabi on July 30, 2020:
Just pick up the god damn toy
Astrid K.J. on July 28, 2020:
I good start to my family who love to have a dog.
Getagilo L. on July 28, 2020:
This is brilliant.
F.L. Jakob on July 27, 2020:
Now this is another great reason not to get a pet.
KH on July 24, 2020:
I'm so tired of "excuses" as to why people don't or shouldn't get a dog (or any pet for that matter) Do your homework!! This is a living breathing being! Read to see what's required and what you are willing and able to do before you get a pet. Sure, there are some reasons on your list that require thinking. Do pets a big favor - if you don't think of your dog as a family member don't get one. They are better off without you. Dogs deserve love and better care!
Alison palmer on July 23, 2020:
Why do people slwsys go on the attack,? This article doesn't say don't get a dog it just points out what you have to consider. Wind your necks in. I have a dog and i agree its a heads up
Duke on July 23, 2020:
So... you do not have kids because they poop a lot, vomit on your cloth, don’t let you sleep for years....
So... Yes, as I read in one of the comments, I think this guy is being sarcastic or he is just trying to make money with all the views and comments.
firstname.lastname@example.org on July 22, 2020:
This just confirms everything I've ever believed about dogs. They are, noisy, smelly, filthy, expensive, shit machines. I know I'm in the minority but, I'd love to take a walk in the park and just be able to walk on grass without fear of treading in dog crap, or some dog bounding up to you and jumping up with their smelly wet paws all over you, on your nice clean clothes. I just don't get the dog thing, why anyone would share their home with one of these whinging, whining, barking, turd factories is completely beyond me.
Val Orner on July 20, 2020:
This person should not have wasted his time on such a lousy article. A narcissistic view of the world. My dogs mean the world to me and for whatever efforts or expense I have put forth, they are more than worth it!
Lulu on July 17, 2020:
Worst article i ever read
Pk59 on July 17, 2020:
Worst article ever.. there are downsides to everything but don't spoil it for the many animal lovers out there. You absolute hotter of a human being
Mana on July 13, 2020:
You have forgotten about holidayas and restrictions around travelling with pets like hotels or flying
Joanie Steinmeyer on July 13, 2020:
Don’t have a kid if you think dogs are bad.
Sadie lyn on July 08, 2020:
Hateful people who hate dogs belong on another planet they have no soul ....they have no human kindness they have no Integrity selfish self-centered..
No feeling ..... when we touch them they give us something that helps us physically get better they give more gifts so much better than humans... they love you unconditionally they forgive you sad article you know nothing about dogs!
Lacy Baynes on July 07, 2020:
Who would write an article like this. This person makes dog sound like they are the worst creature to ever be alive. How dare you write an article like this. I'm an animal activist and a rescuer. They make me happy just the way they are. They deserve love.
Janet on July 04, 2020:
Is this person for real....wow
Just do research on breeds....the cost...before purchasing a dog or any animal....
Kimi on June 23, 2020:
In reality all this is true, so you need to be committed to a child that never grows up, sort of speak. Yet the years of enjoyment go by to fast. I have a mix Terri-poo. A terrier’s traits are constant attention, basically a lab dog. If you don’t have the time, nor can take them with you wherever you go, it’s not the best breed for you. They are God sent and mine is a great champion. She has been trainable & easy, she’s like a little person & understands everything I say, the word “treat”, is her favorite lol
Kelly Corbin on June 22, 2020:
Who is this creep? Obviously hates dogs and not someone I would even want around my home or pets! I love dogs more than most people...they are more loyal and loving than people and I would spend my last dollar and dying breath on my furbabies! Delete this creep!
Lala on June 21, 2020:
Honestly it is not true. It's all depend where you put value. Some people spend thousands of $$ on things like clothes or video games and spend several hours shopping or watching tv (i don't say it is bad). So for some people having and spending time and money on a dog is not a big deal. Moreover it is not that expensive. So it all depend on were you want to put your money and time in.
Milll on June 21, 2020:
I have several pets including a dog and I must say that these 15 are not the worst. The worst one is to find an apartment. Many owner who rent apartment doesn't allow pet in their building. When pet are allowed, the price is way higher. So finding a place to leave with a pet (especially with a dog) is one of the most difficult things. Also, even if the owner accept dogs, it might don't like yours ...
oof on June 19, 2020:
i would say so
Terrie on June 12, 2020:
Who is this guy for trying to tell people how they should or should not get a pet. I think he has a serious problem
Yes, I have a dog and he is one spoiled pup
Donna on June 10, 2020:
My dog is 16.5 years
Steve on May 31, 2020:
Eveything he says is true but having a dog will make you more human. It is no coincidence what dog is spelled backwards.
This is bs on May 22, 2020:
Is this guy being sarcastic?
uwu on May 21, 2020:
I have had so many experiences with dogs and none of them liked digging
uni on May 14, 2020:
dudes if you don't like this then don't search it whoever made this you helped me with my essay and don't listen to them there the haters.
WWW on May 07, 2020:
Yep they carry fleas that’s true but the other is false.
Lucy Liu on April 20, 2020:
In my opinion I think songs are great pets but thank you for making this, since I needed to know the downsides of getting a dog before getting a Labrador!
uni on April 13, 2020:
dudes if you don't like this then don't search it whoever made this you helped me with my essay and don't listen to them there the haters.
GET A DOG on April 07, 2020:
Delete this junk dogs are awesome and thats final
Hater on March 29, 2020:
No this is not true and I hate the person who made these dogs are the best and I will own as much as I want and bro deletes this site it's REALLY BAD!!!!!!
Cyrill Jones on March 28, 2020:
All animals carry the coronvirus germ including dogs and cats , it has proved a killer in the past to mankind.
China is the source due to there culture of eating fresh meat on a daily basis they do not freeze food like the Western world. They kill domestic animals and wild animals in there poorly made buildings together .
The coronvirus originated there via bats feeding on the raw unprotected meats.
It only takes time for any animal to pass the coronvirus germ .
One proven case has been found in a domestic dog.
Be careful keep safe .
hhyhuj on February 10, 2020:
dogs are so messy
OverIt on January 06, 2020:
Picking up dog poop almost every day for 14 years sucks! Ready to be dog free! Anyone who disagrees is crazy. Kids can do this on their own by age 3 or less. No comparison
Paul Goodman (author) from Florida, USA on December 07, 2019:
Sadly, there are many people who don't take into account the amount of time and effort needed for exercise before getting a dog. The dog suffers as a result. The same goes for the costs involved. To care for a dog (or most other pets) involves time and money, if they are to have a happy and healthy life. That may seem obvious to some people, but be aware that many people don't realize that.
Be quiet on December 04, 2019:
Why is exercise bad exactly? Humans don’t exercise enough these days and why can’t dogs excruciate I don’t get this, not all people have allergies to dogs too if they do just get allergy shots then easy like that! Not just dogs cost money for food every living pet’s food costs money! Omg.
Anon on October 18, 2019:
Dogs are hard work! Broken my relationship
Patrick on October 11, 2019:
Anyone who owns a dog or cat is crazy. As simple as that. Trouble, dirty, costly and time should be better spent on yourself and health.
no name- Jake Webber on September 08, 2019:
Ok dogs are great animals and these are great reasons not to get one but the last one is plain stupid, yes the dog will die but so do humans and kids need to learn that not all good things last forever
Bob the builder on June 08, 2019:
dogs are great animals and you should not speak so badly about them do you have a dog if you do then you can but if you don't have a dog and you have a cat then stop speaking so bad about dogs they are great animals.
Honest on June 03, 2019:
People are so damn weak that get angry or offended after reading this.
Bflores on May 31, 2019:
Everyone considering getting a dog should read this. I have been involved in Rescue for over 20 years. So many people are not prepared for the commitment it takes, and when they find out, too late, they simply dump the dog in a shelter, or worse, on the side of the road. Those people should never own a dog. But if you are committed to doing the work, (and he didn't even mention the expense and commitment of training classes) then the reward is worth it, for you and the dog.
Wow on May 30, 2019:
This is the worst article I've ever read clearly written by a cat owner. Maybe try owning a dog before you write some nonsense like this again.
Frankorlando on May 30, 2019:
what a pathetic article by a pathetic human being. You don't even understand what a dog is through you. Only human beings could be like dogs this would be a fantastic world, dogs are unconditional love greatest thing that God ever put on this Earth oh, that is the reason why a dog is God spelled backwards.
Belle on May 30, 2019:
So your saying that a dog is alive, good job. you must me so smart........ I don't think those are good reasons not to get a dog, if you think about it babys/kids need and do all the same things......duh
My dog is the best thing i own you didnt change my mind about them.
Kathy k on May 30, 2019:
I have had 12 dogs in my lifetime, 2 lived to 17, one 19 the others from 12 to 15 yrs. They ate a lot less then my sons, 6 of them never went to a vet until they were very old and were extremely healthy. Insurance over the past ten years covers my once in a blue moon vet bills. My dogs were trained by me and never caused a problem. They were members of our family and gave us all so much joy. Dogs who behave badly are not trained properly and just like humans, sometimes become ill. I can think of 50 reasons why owning a dog is a wonderful experience!
Stitch on May 30, 2019:
So if youre very selfish a dog is not for you.
Ali on May 30, 2019:
Lol this article is basically whining that a dog is a living creature that you have to care for. Which is good to know if you thought otherwise, I guess. If you don't want to commit to an animal's care, please stick to a pet rock.
G-lee on May 29, 2019:
Its true but if you look at your dog and love your dog. Its exactly like having a child and you will do what ever it takes to make sure your dog is loved and taken care for just like a child!
Cattown on May 28, 2019:
People have babies and they do and are just as much trouble or more than dogs!!
I'd take the dog and the cat household everytime!!
C on May 28, 2019:
I’d take a dog 10 times over and all it’s hard work then spend any amount of time with the author of this article. Can’t imagine the sod this one must be.
I can understand letting people know the downsides of owning any pet before getting one but there are far more joyous moments dogs can bring and most of these points are blanket statements.
Stay in your cold cave heartless human.
Nietzsche on May 24, 2019:
And people have babies,same thing applies,but
They live alot longer
Jeff on May 24, 2019:
This article is blatantly speciesist and is disgusting material. It makes bland assumptions that are irrelevant to most individuals and promotes many contempt-ridden ideas, shifting the blame from human irresponsibility to innocent animals that have been mistreated and taken advantage of by the speciesist society that this sort of article promotes. These problems are the result of human corruption, misinformation and error, not Canis lupus familiaris.
Randall on May 24, 2019:
Some of these thoughts are exaggerated and there are common sense answers to them all. Owning and taking care of a canine friend is a process and requires attention and patience. Our Shi-Tsu is four years old and has been a blessing from the day we brought him home, a few weeks old. Anyone can write negative review/comments.
Sam on May 24, 2019:
True but totally worth it!!
Travis on April 26, 2019:
Who the f*** are you to tell me not to own a dog? why I shouldn't own a dog.... Sorry I don't think everybody shares your stupid miserable opinion about dogs dogs are freaking awesome I love my dog a lot and she doesn't give me any grief..... So you're just an a hole
Ethan on April 01, 2019:
WOW?! This is the most craziest website ever.
Ailurophile on March 04, 2019:
To those of you who are offended,please consider that this is just a list of the things about DOGS. Bad things with chickens,bad things with cats,here are the bad things with dogs. I love dogs,but a lot of these are true.
XxghostryderXx54 on January 09, 2019:
I like dogs but after I read this I think its all false because my dog doesn´t do any of these things especially when its was a puppy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
that dude on November 30, 2018:
most of what you said in this paper is untrue! Check your facts next time
bella on November 29, 2018:
this is all true
Sarah on November 04, 2018:
That stuff is common sense and yeah they pee and poo you do to like seriously think about all the love and affection you get from it and it can't answer back or argue with you and if you don't want to play or walk your dog you shouldn't get a dog. I look after my dog completely on my own and I love it yes the fleas and the medical stuff but hello get insurance for them it helps and they won't get fleas if you get treatment for them seriously no one should listen to this article if they don't have a dog. If you ask someone if they would tell you to get a dog and they say no and they have one they don't care for the dog right and have ruined there relationship with it but most people would say yes because its the best thing that ever happened to me getting three dogs
Sioux on November 04, 2018:
I have rescued 9 dogs in 28 years. I am done. I have 3 rescue cats and will only have cats from now on. I really miss having a dog but the vets bills, the making sure they went to the bathroom, the attention they needed ALL THE TIME was just too Labor intensive for me. Maybe when I am 70 years old I’ll rescue a very old senior knowing they only have a year or so left. But, dogs are an incredible amount of responsibility. most likely no more for me.
al on October 02, 2018:
james winter on May 03, 2018:
my english staffy is very good but can be bad at times
Dog Owner on April 18, 2018:
I've had a dog for over 10 years now; and my aunts and mother-in-law all had dogs. I have say This is the MOST HONEST and THOROUGH dog owning list I have ever read. The only dog owners who would disagree are owners who leave the dog duties to the other person (usually dumped on the wife/mother). Don't ask your friends. They will lie so not to be looked on as heartless. Ask a female stranger out with the dog and kids at the park. Then you'll get an honest answer; "Don't get a dog!"
anonymous on April 04, 2018:
That's the stupidest thing I ever heard. If you know anything about dogs you would know half of this stuff is false.
Oo7-2.o on September 03, 2017:
! That stuff is so true ¡