While it’s easy to get carried away with the notion that you’ll get nothing but snuggles and happiness, there will also be toilet accidents, chewed shoes, and moments of misbehavior. Your heart will break when they have to stay the night in the hospital after being treated for eating something crazy, and your wallet will hurt too if you don't budget for those sorts of misadventures.
While it sucks to think about these potential downsides, it’s important not to bury your head in the sand. Not only will it help you make the right decision, knowing exactly what you're signing up for can make you a better pet parent. Here are a few potentially difficult situations to expect and prepare for, if you want to get a dog.
It's Like Having A Small Child In The House
Even after your dog is trained, they can still surprise you and make mistakes. It’s perfectly possible you’ll come home to a chewed up coffee table, the contents of your trash can spread all over the floor or all of their treats mysteriously gone. Dogs can, and will, get themselves in trouble especially if your place isn't dog-proofed. They will maintain the mentality of a three or four-year-old forever, which while being a lot of fun also means they retain the capacity to get into shenanigans when you least expect it.
Training Can Take Longer Than You Think
While you might luck out and adopt a dog who already knows how to sit, stay, and so on — chances are you'll end up with a wild puppy who barks, runs amok, and chews up everything you own. So be prepared to show them the ropes, over and over again. Teaching dogs to live nicely in our homes by our rules takes a lot of work. Dogs aren’t born knowing the rules of human society and they don’t speak our language. It’s a lot of work to kindly, effectively, and consistently teach dogs how to act in our homes.
You Have To Learn Your Dog's Language
As you bond with your dog, you'll quickly start to know what they're thinking, simply by the way they act. It can be alarming, though, if they start to do something unexpected. And it'll be up to you to figure out what they might need. Skipping a meal, not jumping on the couch, being grumpy about taking a walk, needing to go out more — these are all cries for help. If your dog is acting out of the ordinary, monitor the situation, and get ready to go to the vet if need be.
They Will Tire You Out
If you're a fan of sleeping in, get ready to be woken up well before your alarm by a dog who needs to pee/walk/eat ASAP. Dogs can be needy, and they don't care what time it is. And that’s just the beginning. Add in multiple walks per day, multiple feedings per day, frequent bathing, grooming, and nail trims, daily teeth-brushing, and training sessions. Obviously, these aspects can be super fun and are part of what makes owning a dog so wonderful. But it might come as a surprise just how time-consuming they can be.
They Can Test Your Patience
Knocking over the trash can is one thing. But don't be surprised if you wake up in the middle of the night to more mishaps, such as diarrhea all over your floor — which can very easily happen if they eat something they aren't supposed to. Of course, if that happens, you simply take a deep breath and clean up the mess without it being too big of a deal. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that all aspects of pet ownership aren't always easy or glamorous.
You Have To Go Home Early
Before getting a dog, you can choose to stay late at work, go out with friends, or leave on vacation at a moment's notice. It's easy to take for granted how free your schedule really is. All of that changes once you get a dog. You can’t just up and leave for a weekend trip or take a spontaneous vacation without taking your dog with you or finding someone to watch them. It’s obviously not impossible, but it is a consideration that you wouldn’t have to worry about if you didn’t have that responsibility. So make sure that all sounds OK to you, before making the decision to adopt.
Figuring Out What To Feed Them Can Be Tricky
It can feel like there are thousands of options out there. Cans or kibbles or freeze-dried or grain-free or limited ingredient or raw, boutique brands or the old standards? Meaty treats, vegetarian chews or biscuits? What do you choose? Picking the prettiest bag isn't an option, so talking to your veterinarian may be a good idea so they can suggest the correct food based on your dog's age, weight, breed, health conditions, and so on.
Vet Bills Can Add Up Quickly
If you're going to adopt a dog, then you've probably already factored in the expense of a yearly vet visit, shots, and possibly things like spaying or neutering. But don't forget to save up for the unexpected, too. Dogs can require a lot of veterinary visits. This is especially true if your dog has an illness, or if their breed has health issues — such as breathing problems or heart issues. Do your research before getting a dog, and start saving up now so that you won't have to worry about paying for health issues, should they arise.
While these are all very normal aspects of dog ownership, they can be quite surprising if you've never done it before. Once you know the nitty gritty details, however, you can be better prepared, and take all these mishaps, changes, and setbacks in stride.
At the end of the day, the joy of having a dog in your life far outweighs the negatives. Be prepared and have fun!
Original Article By Carolyn Steber on Bustle.com