Life in the city is fun. A lot of fun. There are endless things to do: great restaurants, pubs, live shows at the theater, and concerts in the park. With so much activity, though, sometimes you just want to settle down. For a lot of people, that means asking the question: Should I get a dog?
Big dog, small dog, medium dog, size doesn’t matter when it comes to finding a dog who can be loved and love back unconditionally. Sounds pretty great, doesn’t it? But before you make the leap to doggy companionship in the city, consider a few things before you bring Fido home.
Does Size Matter?
Yes, size definitely plays a crucial role in determining which dog you should bring home! Puppies are adorable. But remember, puppies grow into dogs. So, before you bring a dog home, make sure you’ve done sufficient research into how large specific dog breeds can get. Even if your dog is a mutt, knowing that she’s a mix of a Great Pyrenees and Great Dane, instead of a Chihuahua and pug, will make a big difference in the long run.
Big dogs, while not always high energy, require more space to move around, which means they’re not great for small apartments without yards, Small dogs, on the other hand, take up less space, and even if they’re high energy, have much more room to move around in a small apartment because of their size.
Will She Be Left Alone?
Dogs are social creatures and love being around people or other dogs. If your job requires long hours or a lot of travel, that may have a big impact on whether or not now is a good time for you to get a dog. Do you work from home? If so, this may be a non-issue. If, however, you work 30 minutes away and work 8 to 10 hours a day, that is a long time for your companion to be left home alone, and your dog will miss you.1 Even the best-behaved, house trained dogs need to be let out to do their business. Be sure to take your dog’s needs into consideration, too, before making the leap.
If you spend a lot of time away from home, finding a dog sitter who can come walk and play with your pup during the day is one suitable option. Doggie daycare is another. That said, both of these options cost money… So you should really ask yourself if having a dog to call your own is really worth the cost, especially if you won’t be around!
Are Dogs Noisy?
Even if you think you’ll be able to get home a few times a day to let your dog out for some exercise, it is important to know if your pup barks a lot when you’re not home. Sure, you may never notice that your dog starts barking the minute you leave the apartment, but your neighbors will, and they will not be happy. One of the fastest ways for your neighbors to complain to your landlord is if you’ve got a boisterous Bichon! This is a great time to ask whomever you are adopting the dog from what the dog is like when left alone. Researching specific breeds will also help you answer this question. Certain breeds may be more “talkative” than others.2 Unfortunately, this is one part of owning a dog that, despite your best efforts, you really cannot predict.
How Much Exercise?
One of the best ways to ensure your dog isn’t barking at all hours of the day and night (and doesn’t destroy your apartment in the process) is to take your pup out for a walk or two each day, or to hire a dog walker.3,4 Dog walkers can take Fido on that much-needed walk while you’re at the office. Finding someone reliable and trustworthy is easier than you’d think, too. Additionally, if you live close to a dog park, your new pup can get some socialization with other dogs. If you do decide to go the dog-walker route, just be sure that you are familiar with leash laws in your city. At the end of a good walk, your dog will be content to take a nice nap (hopefully!) until you get home.
Remember, these walks are in addition to potty breaks.
Are There Apartment Rules and City Ordinances?
These rules, established by your apartment building and by the city, are common in many apartment complexes and municipalities. Before you bring a dog home, make sure that animals are welcome in your building. Even if your building is dog-friendly, some complexes have restrictions on the size and weight of the dog you can have.
Make sure you look up your city’s rules around breed-specific legislation, as well. Some cities view certain dog breeds as inherently more dangerous than others. In fact, some breeds are actually banned from certain cities.5 The lesson here: Do your homework.
Is Dog Ownership Expensive?
So, you’ve done your due diligence: You’ve researched the dog breed, city and apartment rules, and your future pup will be angelic. Great! Now some reality: Dogs can be expensive.6 After you’ve adopted them, you may need to spay or neuter them. They might require regular professional grooming, which also adds up. Some apartment complexes charge a pet deposit, or add a monthly pet rent. Add in a dog-walker, food, and vet bills, and all of a sudden your angelic fuzzball is a money pit! Dogs can be worth it, absolutely, but make sure before you bring them home that you can afford them for the long haul.
Are Dogs a Big Commitment?
If you’re still wondering, should I get a dog, keep this in mind.
You love dogs. You grew up with them, and you can’t wait to have one of your own. But dogs are a huge time commitment. The average lifespan for dogs is between 10 and 15 years.7 A lot of people don’t know what they’re doing next week, let alone in 10 or 15 years. So, be sure that you can commit to being a dog owner for the long haul. Because you never know what those years will bring… maybe moves from one apartment to another, growing families, trips, or unexpected life events.
Should I Get a Dog?
This may seem simple, but at the end of the day, ask yourself: Can you can give a dog the time, exercise, financial commitment, and love he needs to thrive? Having a dog is a two-way street. If you love him, he will love you right back. Just make sure that you have the time, patience, and energy to give as a dog owner.
“He’s a good boy!”
There is a reason why people call dogs “Man’s Best Friend.” They’re smart, loyal, and lovable. You will be their whole world, so if you decide that now is the right time, good luck and congratulations! If it isn’t quite time yet, don’t worry: Life happens, and when the timing is right, you’ll know.