Here is what I feel to be the best and worst things about having a dog in your life, or not having one.

Having a dog

The best

  • While this list could be significantly long, here are some of the most significant improvements you’ll notice by having a dog in your life:
  • Unconditional love: Almost goes without saying, you’ll have a being in your life that loves you no matter what. This feels very good.
  • Stress relief: Petting your dog reduces your blood pressure, and focusing on their care and well being forces you to get away from work or other sources of stress for awhile. Your dog shows you how to enjoy the day, the moment at hand – a terrific lesson about enjoying life for what it is. Enjoying the company of your dog is a great way to reduce stress.
  • Entertainment: From going on hikes to watching a pair of dogs play, dogs give you something to do that’s often healthy and usually an inexpensive form of entertainment.
  • Exercise and outdoors: Especially if you live in a condo or townhouse, you need to take your dog out several times per day. Not only does this mean more exercise and fresh air, you meet other dog owning neighbors.
  • Safety: Having a dog in the house is an excellent burglar deterrent.

The worst

Illness and, because their life spans are too short, death. The absolute worry felt when your dog is ill, the panic if it’s sudden, and the enormous grief you feel in the event of their loss. This can also involve some financial stress, as emergencies or long-term illness are generally quite expensive.

This isn’t to say that dogs are not worth having. The benefit of having a dog in your life, for any amount of time, vastly outweighs the stress involved with illness and death.

Not having a dog

The best

Taking a vacation wherever you want with your significant other (if applicable). You do not need to worry about having to find a responsible caregiver for while you are away, or something happening to or because of your dog while you are away.

This isn’t to say vacation isn’t possible! For us it is simply limited to where you can take the dogs.

The worst

The worst part of not having a dog in your life is the lack of companionship – and this makes life feel incomplete and unbalanced. For me, life was much more stressful before I had a dog.

[su_box title=”What do you think?” style=”glass” box_color=”#483D8B” title_color=”#FFFFFF” radius=”3″ class=””]What are the best and worst aspects of having – or not having – dogs in your life?[/su_box]

About Author

Jen deHaan is graphic designer, small business owner, and dog person living in Bay Area, California. Jen enjoys learning about dog training and behavior, and has taken several courses and seminars since 2010. She also contributes articles to leading websites, such as Victoria Stilwell's Positively . It all started with a great dog called Mikey (aka "dude"), loved and lost but remembered forever. Jen also runs a freelance business focusing on graphic, web, and UI design at FoundPixel, and a small business creating hand crafted dog products at Stylish Canine.

  • I agree.

    The worst for me is that it is unlikely that Les and I will ever be able to take a vacation longer than a long weekend together while we have Bruce. We boarded all three once, at a “non traditional” boarding facility, and were told that Bruce is “unboardable.” I trust my sister around him, and to care for all three, but it would be asking a lot of her to ask her to stay at my house for more than a couple of days to care for my dogs.

  • I agree too. The best parts of having a dog are all the reasons you mentioned – stress relief, entertainment, love, someone to exercise with, etc. I will always have a dog as long as it’s possible for me to do so.

    The worst? Yes, definitely the worry and heartbreak when they get sick or when the pass away. Also, like you said, sometimes they can be a huge financial burden and they do cause a lot of stress (some more than others). Another burden is the hair everywhere. The house is never clean. And like you said, worrying about what to do with the dog when traveling. Do we take him? How will he behave? Is he allowed at this place? Can we kennel him? Can I trust this boarding facility? etc.

  • Many great things about having dogs. The worst thing, though, is the constant worry about their health. At least with my dogs, who seem to have been put on the planet to keep my on my toes and challenge me constantly.

  • I think you covered it pretty great. Their lives are just so short, and it’s not fair. Unfortunately there is not much we can do about it, aside from the obvious, exercise and eating healthy to keep them with us for as long as possible, but even still, I wish they could be with us, from beginning to end!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!