Do you dream of getting your own dog but can't make the jump because you live by yourself? You aren't alone. According to Deloitte, single-person households are continuing to rise, and this naturally means there are more and more single dog-loving people out there that are refraining from dog ownership due to their living circumstances.
This isn't necessarily a bad thing. Many dog owners underestimate both what it takes to own a dog and the commitment required to ensure the dog lives a happy and fulfilling life. It makes it even harder if you live by yourself and don't have anyone to share the dog ownership responsibilities. That said, people who live by themselves shouldn't feel that it's impossible to own a dog. Here are some points to consider for single households interested in getting their own Fido.
At minimum, you should be spending a couple of hours per day interacting with your dog (even longer if you are getting a puppy). They are highly sociable animals, and things can go south fast if your dog is alone for an extended period of time. Some single dog owners with long working hours are able to get around this by hiring a dog walker or dog sitter, but that can be a huge financial commitment.
Single households should consider low-energy dog breeds such as the shih tzu or the Maltese. In general, these dogs are perfectly content with a brisk walk every day. Some single dog owners are able to reduce their dog's boredom throughout the day by doing some extensive exercise in the morning. This will tire out the dog and will encourage her to take a nap until you return from work in the evening.
Say adios to some of your social events. As a single dog owner, your schedule will have to revolve around your dog, and you will have to think twice before you do something impulsive, such as getting drinks after work.
If you need to attend an after-work event, then try and make some concessions. For example, you might want to go back home at lunch and give your dog some quality walking time, or you might want to ask a trustworthy friend to visit your home and play with your dog for a bit. It's okay to leave your dog alone at home but not too often.
There are a lot of hidden costs that come with dog ownership. Outside of food and toys, dog owners should also be prepared to create an emergency health fund for their dogs. Most dogs have inherent health risks that could cost hundreds or thousands of dollars to treat. Some of these costs can be mitigated through pet insurance.
Do you live in a place that allows pets? If so, do they have restrictions over the types of dogs can be brought in? Reach out to your landlord and make sure you won't fall foul of any property regulations.
If you are the type of person who moves into a new home every year or so, then you may want to also check how pet-friendly your city is. Many dog owners often have to give up their dogs because they aren't able to find a new home that allows for pet ownership.
As you can see, it's no easy task for single households to own a dog. There's no back button when it comes to dog ownership, so make sure you are truly prepared before you decide to bring a furry pal home.
About the Author
John Cho is the owner of a beautiful toy poodle called Cola. John shares his experience of being a single dog owner at MyPetChild.com, where you can learn tips and tricks on dog care and ownership.