Sheila finds that being a pet parent is a great way to stay healthy and happy.
When you’re contemplating whether you’re built to be a pet parent, it is first essential for you to do your research and so that you can absolutely understand what you’re getting into. This is especially true if you and your partner are also trying-to-conceive and start your own little family.
Previously, I shared my thoughts and enumerated the advantages of adopting a dog particularly for TTC couples in my article, 5 Reasons to Adopt a Dog: For Trying-To-Conceive (TTC) Couples. This time, let me go through the disadvantages of having a dog.
And yes, I’m organizing my thoughts while an adorable little fur ball plays with my toes, as if to discourage me from sharing these drawbacks. I've used great human strength to avoid the pleasant distraction, and here’s what I’ve come up with.
1. The Shedding Fur Will Haunt You Even in Your Sleep
This may be an exaggeration, but then again, that could be your reality. If you are eyeing a furry breed, its adorable fluffy self comes with the problematic shedding of fur. As a pet parent, the furs in your shirt, on the couch, all over your living room, under the bed and even the fur in your bed, is typical. Dogs love to freely lounge in unwelcome places and the couch or the bed will never be completely off limits. Maybe that crazy dog movie showing a wild pooch partying on the bed celebrating world domination behind your back is actually based on true-to-life story. You are then left to deal with the aftermath. To help address the issue, regular grooming of the dog is adequate. A good fur cleaning rake or gadget, that can easily be purchased from your friendly neighborhood pet store or online, would also do the trick.
2. There Will Be Loads of Poop and Pee
Having a dog in the house is similar to having a toddler in the house. And just like taking care of a toddler, a dog especially a pup means loads of poop and pee. This is unavoidable particularly if you will allow the dog to sleep inside the house or until the dog becomes trained. In the first few weeks, the pungent aroma as you approach your living room will no longer be a surprise. The small smelly chunks scattered all over your living room floor will also be a normal spectacle.
Doggie poop is toxic and cannot be used even as a fertilizer. It can also carry lots of bacteria and diseases. If you’re trying to conceive, keeping yourself and your partner healthy is a must hence regularly cleaning and disinfecting your house is critical. Fortunately, this problem is not hopeless and could be solved through proper waste management and disposal—with a good dog waste bag—and behavioral training. Make sure to prepare treats for the trainee!
Dogs are wise. They crawl away into a quiet corner and lick their wounds and do not rejoin the world until they are whole once more.
— Agatha Christie (author, Death on the Nile)
3. Expect Tons of Doggie Drool
Some would find this disgusting, but it's what most pet owners are accustomed to. Dogs are generally sweet creatures. Licking is just one of your dog’s various ways of showing love, but can you even imagine where that doggy mouth has been before slobbering you with kisses? Oh my . .
There is this myth that a dog’s mouth is cleaner than human mouth. That’s what it is, a myth. Do you really believe that anything that could lick its own body and genitals have clean mouths? Then, is this something you and your trying-to-conceive partner should worry about? Why do pet owners still turn out perfectly fine?
According to Dr. William Craig, a former President of the Texas Academy of Veterinary Practice, dogs lick germs off themselves and anything they get their mouths into. Apparently, a dog's mouth is full of bacteria and infection that can jump back and forth from dog to human and vice versa. However, note that most human upper respiratory illnesses are caused by viruses and not bacteria, and most viruses are species-specific. So, all those wet loving from your dog could actually improve your immune system and help you fight off common diseases. Isn't that awesome?! With that worry out of the way, you can just get your pet a good oral care kit to make them more kissable, and you're good to go.
4. Beware of Your Dog Dander
According to American Lung Association, “pet dander is composed of tiny, even microscopic, flecks of skin shed by cats, dogs, rodents, birds and other animals with fur or feathers.” These particles, mainly because they are tiny and light weight, could spread and stick anywhere, become airborne for a long time and get inhaled by you or another person. These could trigger or cause various allergic reactions similar to upper and lower respiratory tract infection symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, coughing and wheezing. It could also cause skin reactions like rashes and itching. As a pet owner, regularly cleaning the house might lessen these allergens but if you or a family member are suffering from a medical condition that could be triggered by the dog’s dander, the idea of bringing home a dog is something you should reconsider. This could also cause unnecessary stress which could negatively impact your reproductive health.
5. Having a Pet Comes With Expenses
Assuming responsibility of a dog will entail you to regularly spend cash on dog food, dog shampoo, vaccines, scheduled vet check-up and doggie treats. These are just a dog’s basic needs that a responsible owner should be aware of. There will also be unscheduled vet visits and medicines in cases when your dog is not in perfect health. Other pet parents even choose to spend on doggy bed, outfits and accessories. If you’re trying-to-conceive, especially if you’re already spending resources on medical procedures to assist you with conceiving, reassessing if you could handle the additional cost should be done before deciding if a dog is for you. If you can still handle the extra expense and decide on sharing your life with a fur baby, go ahead and expect your love to be reciprocated. Believe me, every single cent will be worth it.
6. A Dog Could Make You Lose Focus of Your Trying-to-Conceive activities
Trying-to-conceive couples these days could do a lot to encourage conception. These includes healthy diet, proper exercise, monitoring ovulation, timing the baby-making, taking fertility supplements etc., the list goes on. None of these could guarantee pregnancy, but being focused would absolutely help. It would be a slightly different scenario if you also have to joggle pet parent responsibilities together with your other daily tasks. Time needs to be spent taking care of the dog; it needs to be fed, it has to be walked daily and bathe maybe few times a week. Managing your baby-making activities together with your other life concerns whilst taking care of the pet could be overwhelming and stressful.
Furthermore, some couples, exhausted from the stress and difficulty of conceiving, along the way could find themselves just settling with loving the dog and would just consciously decide to stop trying. Thus, a dog in the house could at times turn out to be a distraction. Nonetheless, if you really want something so bad, a likely distraction could turn into a motivation and inspiration. Having a dog could even help by lowering your stress hormones. It's just a matter of priorities and determination to keep your eye on the prize.
These are just some of the disadvantages of having a dog, especially for those trying to conceive. Feel free to share in the comments below if you have more in mind.
Sheila Navio-Pornan (author) from Manila, Philippines on August 27, 2020:
Thanks for sharing this, Rachael!
Rachael Liu on August 26, 2020:
Miniature Schnauzers shed hair even less than humans! Miniature Schnauzers are also hypoallergenic. That means that they produce less dander than other dogs. Like the poodle, Miniature Schnauzers have hair, not fur. Miniature Schnauzers don't like to drool. But the poop and the pee can be solved just by potty training. That can take a week or 2, but for the rest of the dog's life, there is nothing else to worry about except for the expenses. If you are willing to let a piece of love into your heart, but you don't want too much trouble, the Miniature Schnauzer is right for you. It is fit for elders and people who are mostly busy. I hope you take my advice. Thank You!
Samiksha Rani on June 21, 2020:
Excellent i really liked it a lot ☺
GalaxyRat on April 01, 2017:
Happy to help, Sheila. You learn something new everyday!
Sheila Navio-Pornan (author) from Manila, Philippines on March 31, 2017:
Interesting, Trinity/TheFancyRatVet. Now you gave me something new to look up. Thanks.
Sheila Navio-Pornan (author) from Manila, Philippines on March 31, 2017:
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Sally Branche.
GalaxyRat on March 30, 2017:
Well, I dunno if this happens with dogs, but CATS can give your infant (if you're pregnant) something that causes deformities. BTW, this is TheFancyRatVet (under a different name.).
Sally Branche from Only In Texas! on March 24, 2017:
Anyone who can't handle having a dog certainly should not be trying to have a child.
Alternative Breeding Method
There is an alternative method of dogs mating that is very successful in producing litters with assistance from a veterinarian. It's called artificial insemination, and your vet can perform this task for you. The vet will collect a sperm sample from the stud, and inject it into the bitch's vulva using a sterile syringe. This method practically eliminates the risk of either dog developing a urinary tract infection or venereal disease such as canine brucellosis.
How to Find the Right Pet for a Senior
While the advantages of pet ownership are undeniable, there are some drawbacks and consequences to be aware of before going out to adopt a furry friend for an aging loved one. Dr. Donnenfeld encourages seniors and caregivers to have a thorough conversation about pet ownership before welcoming a pet into the family.
10 Questions to Ask When Considering a Pet for a Senior
- Is the senior set in their ways?
“If change isn’t your loved one’s cup of tea, then they may not be a good candidate,” say the Andersons. Adopting an animal usually affects a person’s whole daily routine.
- Have they had a pet before?
Amy Sherman, licensed therapist and author of Distress-Free Aging: A Boomer’s Guide to Creating a Fulfilled and Purposeful Life, thinks it’s best if the elderly person is an experienced owner. However, if they are open to a new and rewarding commitment, then first-timers can still make great owners.
- Does the senior have any disabilities or functional limitations?
“Dogs can be wonderful companions who encourage a senior to exercise,” Dr. Donnenfeld says. But dogs can be a challenge for individuals with limited mobility. If taking a dog outside and walking it is too trying, lower-maintenance animals like cats and birds may be preferable.
- Would a therapeutic or emotional support animal be beneficial?
If a person is very infirm or impaired, they may be a candidate for a specially trained therapy dog to help them function both at home and while on outings.
- What age pet would be best?
A puppy or kitten may not be ideal for elderly owners because of the intensive care and training they require. Furthermore, young pets may outlive their owners. It’s important to consider that some animals like birds have especially long life spans. On the other hand, a senior pet may have its own physical limitations and illnesses but they are usually well trained already.
- What temperament would be a good fit for the senior?
It is very important to research different breeds’ characteristics and interact with prospective adoptees to get a feel for their energy levels and personality. “Many older people might think they’d do better with a Jack Russell Terrier because it’s a small breed, but they are very, very, very high energy and require a great deal of effort and commitment,” says Susan Daffron, author of Happy Hound: Develop a Great Relationship with Your Adopted Dog or Puppy. While there are some general truths about specific breeds, every animal is unique.
- Is the pet healthy?
It’s important that any pet be examined by a professional prior to adoption. “You don’t want to compromise an older person’s immune system since some pets carry diseases,” says Dr. Katharine Hillestad, a veterinarian based in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. Unhealthy pets can be difficult for seniors to handle both emotionally and financially.
- One pet or two?
While multiple pets can keep each other company, that may not be a good idea for an older person. “Two animals may bond with each other rather than with their owner,” Dr. Hillestad explains.
- Are finances an issue?
Pets are a significant long-term financial commitment. A small puppy can rack up more than $810 for food, medical care, toys and grooming just in its first year. A low-maintenance animal like a fish is less expensive, coming in at about $235, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Be sure to carefully consider a senior’s current budget before taking home any animal.
- Is there a backup plan in place for the pet?
It isn’t pleasant to think about, but owners must plan for the unexpected for their pets, too. If a senior had to go to the hospital, spend time in a short-term rehabilitation facility, move to a long-term care community or even passes away, what would happen to their animal(s)? Our golden years can be very unpredictable, so it’s important to have a contingency plan in place for our furry and feathered friends before an emergency strikes. Without one, beloved animals may wind up back in a shelter.
You donвЂ™t have to hop out of bed and into the shower right away. But gently cleaning yourself after sex can protect men and women from infections, like of the urinary tract (UTIs). Wash the area around (not inside) your genitals with plain warm water. You can try mild soaps, but if you have sensitive skin or you already have an infection, they might dry out or irritate the area. Men with foreskin should gently pull it back and wash underneath.