A whopping 76% of millennials are pet parents. This is not just couples, more and more people are taking on dogs on their own. In this article, I will give you my honest truth about the pros and cons of owning a dog alone.

My background

I always wanted a dog and waited until I was in a long term relationship to get my beloved hound. When that relationship ended, there was no doubt that I was going to take the dogs. Yes, there were two by then and his total ineptitude with them was a factor in the split. For me, it was difficult to find a rental property with two big dogs and minimal income (I was a postgrad student at the time). Which brings me to my first con…

Financial Implications

As a student, I perhaps feel this more than most. There have been weeks where I have been too broke to do a food shop for myself. But rest assured- the dogs are always fed. They are the priority! The biggest issue with owning a dog on your own is never being able to share those canine costs with anyone. It’s not just food but dog walking/day-care if you don’t work from home or want to go out for the day. And the worst part is those dreaded vet bills. 92% of pets need emergency treatment at some point in their lives. So you need to be prepared to put your rainy-day fund aside for insurance and medical costs.

Making sure your dogs are walked

Another thing you can’t share is the walking duties. Whether you have zero energy, feel ill, or it’s just that night-time toilet break that dogs and humans alike hate, there are going to be times that you wish someone else was there to run out with the pup while you slob around in bed. Oh and if you get an early riser you can wave goodbye to lie-ins- I have a dog that gets up with the sun, so summer days are long…

Why do you get up at 6am even on the weekends I hear you cry… Because contraversially I have learned to love it. I love the routine, I love the enthusiasm that the dogs start the day with and I love sharing this time with them. Walking is actually super beneficial, not just for your dog but for you too! The motivation to get active with a dog is a big positive from me. Some days the last thing I want to do is get home and go for a walk, I am normally frazzled from work and think “if only I could plonk myself in front of the TV”… BUT when I do get home and the hounds are buzzing to see me and drag me out to the park to goof around, it clears my head beautifully. It is one of the biggest stress busters I know.

Encouragement to socialise

An even bigger positive is that dogs can (in non-covid times) bring you together with different people. I have met some close friends either IRL or through social media. It has been so lovely to meet up with other hound owners and see the dogs enjoy socialising with their new BFFs, while you can chat about all their silly ways.

Love: the biggest pro.

You don’t have to share your dog’s adoration! This is such a bonus, and it makes the bond between you and your dog so strong. They are always there for you, and will help you celebrate the best times and get through the worst. Dogs make the greatest heart-break buddies. They are always ready to cheer you up, let you cry in their fur, snuggle you and remind you that your life with them stays the same. Dating actually becomes less of a priority because you have your own little unit and you are happy with that. For me, it’s hard to feel lonely with a happy, worn out dog curled up next to me.

A whole new lifestyle…

My bond with my dogs has definitely overhauled my lifestyle, but I consider this a positive. You will probably start asking the question “can I bring my dog with me?” whenever anyone asks you to do something, because you genuinely want your little buddy to come and share the good times. Friends get used to you meeting up for walks or in beer gardens. Recently, my friend trudged round in the snow with the dogs and I, and it really makes you realise how special the people in your life are. Life is planned around my dogs and their happiness is intertwined with mine.

Owning a dog on your own is a lot of work, there is no way round that. Living close to friends and family that could help would be a huge plus. There are some great resources to help you choose a breed and consider whether you can go about adopting a little friend.  Personally, I couldn’t be without my dogs now and whatever the negatives, I wouldn’t change any of it.

Sarah Worgan
Sarah is currently a doctoral student and she has always been an animal lover. She grew up in the Cotswolds so she loves escaping the town and being outdoors. Several years ago, Sarah adopted two rescue greyhounds who continue to take her on new adventures.

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