Owning a dog is a big decision that you shouldn’t make lightly. Dogs can make great additions to families, offering unconditional love and constant companionship. But dogs also require plenty of care. They’re social and need attention, training, and exercise. They’ll need to be fed on a regular schedule and will also need to go outside to relieve themselves regularly.
Many families balance owning a dog and working full-time, but it isn’t always easy. If you’re thinking of adding a dog to your home, you’ll need to make sure that you’re really able to take on the commitment that your new pet will require.
Balancing Work Obligations with a Dog
Although the gig economy has gained popularity and more and more workers seek out gig work, you’re far from alone if you’re still working a full-time job that keeps you away from the home during the day. While some dogs can do just fine at home alone for the workday, others, particularly senior dogs and puppies will need to be let out at least once during the day. If your dog is highly social and he’s home alone frequently, he may get bored or lonely, and that can result in destructive behaviors, like chewing or barking. Some dog owners manage to get home during their lunch hour to let their dogs out and play with them, but this may not work given your schedule and the distance from home to work.
There are ways to ensure that your dog’s needs are met even when your full-time job keeps you out of the home for long hours, though. Hiring a pet sitter or dog walker to come into your home during the day can give your dog a chance to get outside and enjoy some playtime and attention. Some dog owners opt to enroll their dogs in doggy daycare programs so that the dogs have care and companionship all day while they’re at work.
How Working From Home Fits in With Your Dog
Working from home or being self-employed might seem like the perfect solution. After all, what better way to ensure your dog’s needs are met than to be home with him all day, every day? But working from home and being self-employed brings challenges that can make this difficult.
When you’re self-employed, you’re responsible for additional responsibilities that go beyond the work of a typical employee. You’ll need to not only focus on your work, but also constantly seek out new business, send out invoices, and monitor your finances and income.
While getting up to care for your dog throughout the day is a great way to enjoy some short breaks from your work, having a dog while working from home can be a distraction. You’ll need to find a way to ensure that your dog is quiet when you’re on business calls, and when your pet knows that you’re at home, he might try to demand your attention even though you’re working. Working from home isn’t always a solution to make sure that your dog’s needs are met.
Finding the Right Dog
It’s absolutely possible to own a dog when you work full-time, but for this to be a success, you need to find the right dog for your family. Puppies are adorable, but if you’re already limited on time, then caring for a puppy may be out of the question at the moment. An older dog who is already trained may be more suitable.
Think about the dog’s activity level, too. Herding breeds require frequent, intense exercise, and meeting those exercise needs requires lots of time every day. A more sedentary breed requires less exercise, which takes up less of your time, too. Remember, though, that every dog will need to be walked regularly, so make sure you have time in your schedule to make this commitment.
You’ll also want to consider a dog’s health before bringing him home. Some breeds require more intense care than others, such as long-coated breeds that need regular grooming or breeds that are prone to health issues. While fitting in an occasional vet appointment shouldn’t be a problem, dogs that require regular trips to the vet can make for tough scheduling with work and all of your other activities. Most importantly, make sure that you’re really ready for a dog. When you’re balancing a career, life, and school, it can leave you with limited extra time. Dogs won’t always accommodate your schedule, and if you’re rushing home to walk your dog after a long day, spending time with your pet can start to feel more like a chore than the enjoyable activity that it should be. Try to envision just how a dog will fit into your life, and consider whether right now is really the right time to bring home a new pet. If you wait a year or two, life may be calmer and you might be able to dedicate the time and attention that your dog deserves.
Maggie Potter is a muggle from the Pacific Northwest who writes from time to time and covers a variety of topics. When Magnolia’s not writing, you can find her curled up with a good book. You can connect with her on Twitter @MuggleMagnolia