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Is having a pet good or bad for a marriage?

wiggsajwiggsaj
10 Comments 5 Love Its Name Dropper First Anniversary
member
edited April 2014 in BNOTB
Hey yall!

So I know this forum is about real babies, but I just had a question about fur babies (real babies are so far out of the question that I don't even want to talk about them).

FI and I are engaged and getting married in July. After my best friend's mother passed away, FI and I offered to take up her dog "Odie" because if no one did, he would go to a shelter, which is the last thing my friend's late mother would have wanted. Odie is a sweet little dog (like 3 lbs little) and he is very well behaved. Right now he is staying with my sister until FI and I get our own place, because neither of us can have dogs where we live. When we move in together, he will be moving in with us!! We're totally excited about him.

Here's the predicament. . .

We are going to have a really tight budget for our first year of marriage. Now, Odie is small and does not eat much, so the cost of food is really insignificant. The pet rent is only $30 a month where we're staying, which is not a problem for us. He's young and healthy and has all of his shots, so we wont need to take him into the vet other than if he gets sick or gets hurt, which we have money saved up for. What other added expenses are there? Everyone keeps telling me that dogs are horribly expensive, and given FI and I's budget, it was not wise of us to take up Odie. That's really concerning.

Another thing is, obviously dogs are a big responsibility. Is that going to get in the way of our new marriage? I guess what I'm trying to ask is, do pets get in the way of couples getting used to the married life or do they strengthen the experience?

We've never had a dog before so we have no idea lol. The main reason I'm so concerned is because we absolutely CAN NOT get rid of him, no matter what burden he brings us, because that would be a horrible thing to do to my friend. So what do you guys think?

Re: Is having a pet good or bad for a marriage?

  • We have two cats (15 lbs and 12 lbs.) and both H and I grew up owning dogs and cats on our own and during our childhood. 
    My husband 'adopted' my cats as his own when we moved in together and he loves them both like children (kinda weird but cute too). We buy a 16lb bag of food every three months and for two cats our rent gets bumped up $50 (ouch) We aren't millionaires both of us our still in school but we make enough that even on a super tight budget our cats eat like royalty (treats and wet food are abundant). 
    So, depending on how big the dog gets and if he/she needs groomed is gonna be where your prices goes. My mother and father love their little Pomeranian. He does have to get groomed once a month ($45) but usually that's the biggest expense. The food is about the same price as H and I Pay for two cats.

    All pets are a responsibility.They are living breathing animals who do require attention and the basics. A pet in a home is a forever home; Odie will become a part of your family. He will be your best friend and will probably get you and your s/o outside and moving around together a lot more. I don't think they could ruin a marriage unless your FI doesn't like dogs and you can't talk about finances openly.  Communication is always key!

    I hope that helped a tiny bit. I ramble sometimes, I apologize. I am a big fan of animals and I love big dogs. I had a St. Bernard, Labrador and Golden Retriever as a kid. We are waiting til we buy a house just because a Mastiff can't fit (and I wouldn't want him too) in a 600sqft apartment. 
  • Thanks for the help:) FI loves Odie and always asks if he can lay on his lap while hes driving :)  and he is full grown (Three pounds!! Can you believe it?!) so he wont get any bigger. His fur is short so we'll probably take him to get groomed once every 6 months but for the most part we can give him baths at home. It's good to see that he wont be too expensive!!

    Hey, I love to listen to other nestie's stories, and I ramble a lot too (obviously^). :)

    Thanks again for the help!!
  • We have an 11 year old dog and a puppy. Our 11 year old hasn't cost us barely anything until he needed dental work done this year (and that was still under $600). Puppy will be expensive at first, but he should be pretty healthy too. 

    If the dog is healthy you don't have much to worry about. Call a local vet and ask what vaccines, annual check up, every other year stool for parasites, and heart worm will cost. I think I spent about $200/year on all that. They now have generic/comparable Frontline for fleas and ticks which is around $40 or less for 6 months fora tiny dog. Granted these are prices in my area, they can vary. It's not much of an expense for such a great part of our lives. 

    Yes, dogs can develop conditions that can be pricey. If you keep your pet a healthy weight, feed quality food, and keep up on regular vet care, it should be fine. If not, you need if know what you are willing to do. Personally, I do weigh cost with benefit. Monetarily as well as quality of life. But, it should be a ling time until you have to make those decisions. 

    Our dogs give us endless entertainment, something to talk about, bond over, and love at a small expense. The older one is happy to go out about 4 times a day (he prefers 2-3 times if it's cold or rainy). My in laws watch him when we go in vacation and now we will have a niece, nephew, or grandparent house sit with the two of them. I can't even tell you how pets have affected our marriage, but it is all positive. They are totally worth it. 


  • Sorry, a little late to the game but I've had a small dog even before I met H. He's 8 yrs old now and he's developed some health issues, so he's become pretty expensive between vet apts, chiro apts, meds, homecooked meals, and grooming (his hair grows). I do love him to death, but I get very emotional and sad when he's in pain. He had an accident which I think set off all these health issues, so I just can't get rid of him. It is my duty to take care of him until the day he passes away.

    But he makes a great addition to the family as we have no plans for kids. The only thing that bugs me about a dog is that we always need to make sure we have a sitter for when we plan on being away longer than 8 hrs or so, so our plans usually need to be made in advance. I also feel guilty that he is so home-bound and we try to get him out a lot, but he never gets inbetween H and I. I think the dog is the way to go if you want the responsibility, but I would for sure have an e-fund for the dog because you never know what could happen.

    wiggsaj
  • Our dog is our family and has made our house a home. We rescued him and he is older and has cost us a pretty penny with some medical conditions. Unfortunately, we had to just put it on a card and pay slowly off but he really is worth every penny. Me and my H are in total love with him and he has made our relationship stronger. We are both in agreement how we will pay his medical bills. I would just be prepared that as they get older, small dogs do get conditions and you may have to put out some money, but I still feel its worth it. :) Good luck!
    "Anyone can be passionate, but it takes real lovers to be silly"
  • I think that getting our pets has only strengthened our relationship.  It puts into reality that you need to work together, even if you choose not to have children in the future.  Getting a dog is expensive, but it's mostly through puppyhood that we felt the burn.  Now that our dog is over a year, he only has to go to the vet once a year for a checkup and vaccines.  He eats a lot too (little piggy).  So just keep in mind you'll need a good stock of food, toys (so he doesn't eat your furniture or shoes), poop bags (harsh reality), and a yearly vet visit. I wouldn't trade our pets for anything though.  They're amazing.
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  • ebchebch
    First Comment
    member
    We waited a year till we got our first dog. With that being said neither of us had a dog or cat that we already owed. I love our dog, and I am glad that we waited at least a year before taking on the responsibility of having to take care of dog.  
  • Our cat sweetens our marriage. We enjoy having her as part of our family.

    In the beginning, my husband grudgingly accepted that I would always want to have a cat. We lost two and it was heartbreaking...one because of a tragic accident and the other to heart failure. Going through that grief and then deciding to take the plunge again brought us closer together. 

    We have had our current cat for two years and so far so good. Our cat's kitten months were so memorable and hilarious. My husband used to be more aloof with our cat but now he is a cuddlebug. I love seeing them lie in bed together. Our cat likes to sit on the back of the couch when my husband is lying down it. 

    I believe that if both spouses are committed to loving a pet, having an animal is wonderful for a marriage. It can be a responsibility to bond over. 
  • I had my furbaby before DH and I met and she has made our lives so much better.  She is little (only 7 lbs) as well and we buy a five pound bag of food, maybe every month and a half.  She has the Wellness Plan at Petsmart which has saved us well over $3000.  She goes every six months to get a completely free (due to the monthly payments) checkup and teeth cleaning.  The plan is only $48 a month (because we have her six-month flea/heart worm medicine coupled in with the plan).  She can also go anytime if there is an emergency.  I would say monthly, it's about $60 with her plan and her food.  Also, like one of the PP said, if Odie requires grooming, that may bump up the price.  My furbaby requires a trim every 3 months or so at $25.  If you can handle about $100 a month with your added pet rent, you won't regret it.

    As far as the potty situation while you guys are at work, set up a puppy potty area just in case he needs to go and then wash/change it out every day.
  • A pet will definitely add to the household in amazing ways. We already had two cats and just got a dog a couple months ago and all three animals bring us a lot of joy. Unless you're completely unprepared for the responsibility of an animal, I don't see how introducing a dog to your relationship will harm it. But I'd sit down and figure out who is responsible for what, so there are no fights later about who is picking up the dog poop and who walked Odie last. Just like any expense, do your research, set a budget and stick to it.

    As mentioned, we just got a dog recently and here are some of the costs we're finding (some expected and some not):
    - Annual vet visits for heartworm and shots
    - Poop bags
    - Bones and treats (depending on the breed, if he's a chewer, you'll need a lot of bones)
    - Grooming (including nail trimming every month or so unless you can manage this yourself)
    - Toys (all dogs need to be entertained and so toys are a must)
    - Dental care
    - Licensing fees
    - Misc: (leash, collar, bed, food dishes - much of this he may already have)

    Good luck!
  • We have 4 cats and a dog. It's actually helped us in our marriage :) The only problem is when we are out of town and need to find a pet sitter.
    Mellie
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