Owning a dog is a huge commitment. When my wife and I first brought Claude the French Bulldog into our lives, we used to laugh that it was like having a real baby. Yes, it was that manic and that much hard work.
That’s why I won’t be sugar-coating this article about getting a dog if you work full-time and have a 9 to 5 job. Having a puppy is hard work; not just due to training, but due to the exercise, companionship, and stimulation they need.
People with 9 to 5 jobs can still have dogs. But there will be some caveats so here’s my entirely personal opinion on the topic – with the short answer first followed by the reality of making it work for you and the dog.
Can I get a dog if I work full-time? You can get a dog if you work 9 to 5, but only if you are confident the dog won’t be left alone all day. Many people will take their dog to work, come home at lunch, or have people pop in to see the dog throughout the day.
Juggling dog ownership with working a full-time job
Many people will get a dog when having a full-time job, having seen other 9 to 5 people do it successfully.
What they often fail to realize is that these dog owners with 9 to 5 jobs are probably are getting help behind the scenes. That could be from family members, friends, or people they have hired.
Likewise, although their relationship with their dog may seem rosy on the surface, all might not be as it seems at home.
Before making the jump and purchasing a dog when you work full-time, you should decide whether your work hours allow you to meet their emotional and physical demands.
In this article, let me explain the reality to you, which I hope will help you to reach the best conclusion. I’ve included the pros and cons of owning a dog when working a full-time job on 9 to 5 hours.
How long can a dog be left alone at home?
If you are the owner of a dog and working full-time, at some stage you will likely be forced to leave your dog at home – this is pretty much inevitable. My wife and I have to do this, and we both work from home – it’s a fact of life.
Although possible, hiring someone to look after your dog throughout the day can quickly become expensive, and for most of the general dog-loving population, increasingly unrealistic.
In a similar fashion to this, family members or friends cannot always be expected to look after your dog, especially if they also have busy lives or jobs themselves.
Although tempting, you should not get a dog when you work 9 to 5 if it is going to be solely your family’s responsibility and not your own.
Therefore, one of the first things you should understand before getting a puppy or dog is how long they can be left to their own devices when you are working full-time.
Without implementing the right steps, your new family member could develop severe behavioral issues and go on to destroy areas in your home through stress or anxiety.
Sadly, this occurs quite regularly, and at times, leads to dogs being abandoned or given away through no fault of their own.
Generally, adult dogs should only be left at home for 4 to 6 hours per day. Any longer period than this is cruel and can lead to your dog becoming depressed and chronically bored.
Likewise, it is important to remember that this can vary depending on your dog’s personality or breed. High energy dogs can become notoriously destructive when bored, and unless they possess a calm personality or are highly trained, should not be left by themselves for the same amount of time as lower energy breeds.
Based on that, even getting an adult dog if you work 9 to 5 will be problematic without regular house visits by a friend or family member.
How long can a puppy be left at home?
In general, puppies should be left alone for much shorter periods than their larger and older counterparts. For example, during the first 6 months of their lives, pups will require a lot of attention, care, and exercise to bond with their owners and develop into well-adjusted members of the family.
Without regular mental stimulation, they could quickly become destructive or socially stunted around other dogs and people. That being said, it is important to leave your puppy on its own for short periods from time to time.
Too much attention could also lead to behavioral issues down the line, such as separation anxiety and over protectiveness.
Additionally, most puppies struggle to hold their bladders for long periods.
This mean that getting a puppy when you work full-time is almost impossible as you cannot give the young dog what it needs. Like I said earlier, at this stage in their lives it’s almost like having a baby.
At the most, they should only be left for 2 to 3 hours to reduce the risk of an accident occurring in the home. If possible, they should also be allowed out into the backyard hourly to do their business.
Should you get a dog if you work 9-5 or full-time?
There is nothing inherently wrong with owning a dog when employed full-time if you can make it work. Across the country, many dog owners manage to do this without running into any major troubles, raising happy and healthy dogs who are friendly and well behaved.
However, you should only attempt this if you are confident of your ability to spend most of your evenings (or weekends, depending on your work schedule) with your pooch.
Plus, you need to be able to guantee that the dog won’t be left alone all day by themselves without some visits… you should also invest in a Furbo monitor like this one on Amazon.
You should never bring a dog into your life if you are unwilling to sacrifice some things for them, be it an extra hour of sleep in the morning or time spent socializing with your colleagues or friends.
Does getting a dog affect your career?
Dogs are wonderful company, that goes without saying. They bring an enormous amount of love into their owner’s lives and, in most cases, brighten up their day immensely, especially after a long day at work and you get through the door.
However, on the flip side, they also require a lot of attention, exercise, and training to remain content and obedient.
Before taking the jump and purchasing a dog, you should consider the implications this decision will have on your career. At times, choosing to be a responsible owner instead of spending that extra hour or two honing your craft may have disastrous consequences for your future in the long run.
Likewise, you should ask yourself whether you are in a position to put your dog before your 9 to 5 full-time career. Although it may hurt, deciding against getting a new dog until after you have reached a point in your life where you are financially stable can make all the difference.
Additionally, ask yourself a few important questions when you are tempted to decide to get a dog. For example, what actions you would take if you were offered a job overseas, were fired, or were promoted into a position where you struggled to find time to spend with your dog if working full-time?
Unfortunately, many young people jump straight into dog ownership without realizing the level of commitment it takes to raise them successfully.
How do owners who work full-time care for their dogs?
Although looking after a dog whilst working full-time and 9 to 5 can be difficult, many dog owners manage to find a stable balance between the two.
If you find yourself undeterred and believe you can handle both your job and a new dog, there are several tips you should follow to make their time at home as comfortable as possible.
First and foremost, if you are living alone and it is possible, try and take longer lunch breaks. If you use this time wisely, you should be able to take your pooch for a brief walk which will lessen their boredom and allow them to relieve themselves.
If you are unable to do this, look at hiring a dog walker or ask a friend to come in and check on them.
Additionally, you should make sure that your dog is left alone in a comfortable and spacious area. If you are concerned about them chewing, pick a large room that has less furniture (or remove some) and provide them with plenty of chew toys and other healthy distractions.
Whatever you do, do not lock them into a small room or doggie crate, as this could cause extreme stress and lead to the development of phobias and behavioral problems.
Similarly, if you live alone or are single, you will occasionally have to forego intending social gatherings with your friends and instead spend valuable time with your pooch.
Likewise, once or twice a week, try and dedicate a large chunk of your day solely to your pooch by taking them out for a walk in the countryside.
Alternatively, if you live in a large city with very few green spaces, see if you can find a local doggie park and take your pooch to meet and play with some other canines.
Best dogs for people who work all day
Some dogs cope better than others with owners who work 9 to 5 jobs. Whilst I don’t believe any dog should be left home all day, some websites have put lists together which detail dogs they believe will cope better with full-time working owners.
Some of the dog breed names which regularly come up include:
But I just want to make this clear: personally, I do not agree with this. If you work full-time and 9 to 5, I don’t think you should get a dog.
Being a dog owner is hard but rewarding work. It can take days, or weeks to build a bond with a new puppy or dog and even longer to train them correctly. If they don’t have the right amount of love and attention, dogs can easily develop behavioral issues which can persist for a lifetime.
For this reason, many responsible dog lovers hold off on bringing a dog into their lives until they are ready, choosing, instead, to dedicate their time solely to their career or studies.
There are many dog owners out there who seemingly succeed in juggling a successful full-time work life with owning a dog, much to the amazement of their friends and family.
Not only are their dogs good-natured, but well trained and groomed as well, appearing happy and content with the time they have with their pet parents.
Similarly, these dog owners can appear relaxed and jovial, emotionally unaffected by the demand that life throws at them.
However, sometimes this could be a façade.
Because I don’t know of any dog that would cope with being left alone all day.
If you work a full-time 9 to 5 job, don’t get a dog unless you are guaranteed this won’t happen… for the good of the dog, and your own mental state.
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Image in header via https://pixabay.com/photos/labrador-retriever-window-missing-2418176/