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7 Things Pet People Want You to Know Before You Get a Dog

Your friends who have dogs want you to join the club – there are never enough furry friends in any given clique!

But as much as you might be thinking seriously about bringing home your first canine buddy, pet owners want to take a moment to remind you that beyond the sweet, slobbery kisses is a ton of responsibility and life changes that you may not have considered yet.

1. You’ll enjoy less freedom

There will be fewer sleep-ins, and gone are the days when you can just lounge around and do absolutely nothing – someone has to pee and poop and their digestive system slows for no one, not even your sweat pant-wearing self while you mope around sick or hung over. After work, it’s straight home for you because your buddy’s been inside all day and, by right, needs to chase a squirrel or two before dinner.

2. Travel will require extra organizing and planning

Are you someone who loves to get out of town for the weekend or hop a flight to an exotic locale on a whim?

Yes? Well then you’ll want to make sure you a.) have a willing and reliable dog-sitter at the ready, or b.) are able to take your pooch with you? (Check out our travel section for lots of pet-friendly destination and info).

3. There will be extra cleaning

They don’t have a toilet and you can’t read their mind, so sometimes things will happen on beige carpets; it’s a risk that comes with the territory. But even if they are perfectly housetrained and never have accidents, inevitably you will have paw dirt to sweep, hair to vacuum, and slobber marks to Windex.

4. You’ll need to be an outdoor enthusiast

Are you the kind of person who is just more comfortable hanging out indoors?

If so, dog parenting might not be for you. As mentioned, dogs need to go outside all the time to do their business, but beyond that, they need park time for their exercise and socialization. They can’t run in the gym with you, and they can’t sniff the friends you’ll make for them when you create their #dogsofinstagram account. They need the real thing!

5. You’ll probably become that person

You know the person we’re talking about: the colleague with more desk pics of her Cocker Spaniel than of her husband and baby. The proud friend whose #britishbulldog has more followers than she does. Once your furry friend burrows its way into your heart, they’ll take it over so be prepared to turn into that snap-happy, pet-loving geek you never thought you’d be.

6. You’ll be calling in favors

Are you someone who is uber-independent and proud of it?

               

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We hate to break it to you, but if you’ll soon be getting a dog, now is the time to make yourself available for pet-sitting, babysitting, house painting parties, car-lending/ride-giving and whatever else would help rack up your karma points and make the people in your circle more likely to return a favor. Sooner or later you’ll need to call on them, whether for an emergency dog walk or feed when you’re running late, or to cover for you during an unexpected vet trip. What goes around comes around! And dog parents know to always send plenty around.

7. You’ll sometimes feel guilty

When you truly love someone, you want to give them the best life imaginable, with as many fun moments as you can possibly squeeze in to their little life spans. But when your busy schedule makes it hard to spend as much time being the most present, energetic and entertaining parent ever, you’ll feel that old pang of guilt come over you. Do the best you can and you’ll keep the guilty thoughts at bay!

We want you to know that it’s all worth the love! But before you make a decision that will tether you to your home and your mutt, it’s best to make sure the free bird in you is ready for such a dramatic, albeit rewarding, lifestyle shift.