The Pros and Cons of Owning a Dog: Do the Benefits Outweigh the Downsides?
Owning a dog comes with plenty of upsides. Research shows that owning a dog can lift your spirits, boost your happiness, and lower stress levels. They’re also brilliant companions who offer friendship, loyalty, and unconditional love. A dog is a perfect companion for many people. Still, not everyone feels ready to take on the responsibilities involved in keeping a dog happy and healthy for its entire life. There are pros and cons to everything, including owning a dog. Consider these points before deciding whether you’re ready to adopt a dog as your new pet.
The Pros of Owning a Dog
If you’re ready for the responsibility of keeping a dog happy and healthy for 10-15 years, there are many pros to owning a dog. Here are some of the most significant benefits of dog ownership:
- Dogs are excellent for children: The American Veterinary Medical Association says that having a dog in the home can have many positive effects on children, including improved social skills, emotional development, and the ability to manage their feelings. Family dogs are also well-known in the dog community as great companions to small children, including Bichon Frise, Boston Terrier, Beagle, and Bordoodle puppies.
- Increased physical activity – Dogs are excellent walking partners, especially with a large breed. Having a dog in the house encourages owners to get out and be more active. In fact, scientific studies have been done to measure the physical activity of dog owners, with dog ownership showing a positive effect on a person’s willingness to partake in activities.
- Improved mental health – The mental health benefits of owning a dog are significant. Research shows that individuals who own dogs have lower levels of stress and feelings of loneliness and better self-esteem and confidence than those who don’t own dogs.
- All-around better health – The benefits of owning a dog go beyond mental and emotional health. Owning a dog can also improve your physical health by encouraging you to lead a more active lifestyle.
The Cons of Owning a Dog
The advantages of dog ownership are well-documented, but there are also some cons to consider before deciding whether or not you want to add a dog to your family. Here are some of the most significant drawbacks of dog ownership:
- Expenses – Although the initial costs of adopting a dog are relatively low, there are still plenty of expenses involved in keeping a dog happy and healthy for its lifetime. You can expect to pay for food, veterinary care, grooming services, and toys.
- Time commitment – Owning a dog is a long-term responsibility. You can’t just adopt a dog for a few months and then give it away when you’re no longer interested. You need to adjust your life to accommodate your dog. Dogs need exercise, training, and plenty of attention.
- Lack of privacy – Owning a dog means living with a creature who doesn’t have any concept of privacy. Dogs aren’t great at feeling shame or keeping secrets, so don’t expect to have much private life with a dog in the house.
Is There a Middle Ground?
If you’re still on the fence about whether or not you want to own a dog, there are plenty of ways you can still reap the benefits of caring for dogs without all the responsibilities of full-time owners. Some of these include:
- Volunteering at a Doggy Daycare – This is a fantastic option for people who want to spend time with dogs but have a hectic schedule. Dog daycare lets you spend time with a group of already vaccinated and socialized dogs.
- Dog Walking – If you want to spend time with dogs but don’t have the space to keep a dog, you can try dog walking. Dog walking is a great way to earn extra cash while spending time with dogs.
- Dog training – If you’re interested in training a dog but have no interest in keeping it, dog training is a great option. There are plenty of places you can volunteer to help train dogs who need help learning basic obedience skills.
- Volunteering at an Animal Shelter – You can volunteer at a local shelter. Volunteers are needed at most shelters, and you can get as involved as you want.
Owning a dog is a serious commitment. Dogs require significant attention, and that doesn’t just apply during their puppy years. Dogs will stay with you for the rest of their lives, so making the right choice when adopting a dog is essential. If you’re ready to make that commitment and prepared to provide the care and attention dogs need, owning a dog can bring significant benefits to your life.