Are dogs the new Dinks kid?

by Kristina Tahnyak on June 19, 2013 · 15 comments

Good morning Dinks. Lately I have been seeing posts around the web and watching commercials on TV about people who choose to get a dog instead of having kids.  I don’t have plans to have kids any time soon, but I would personally love to have a dog. I grew up with a family dog and so did my boyfriend Nick. I would love to have a dog in my life again but Nick doesn’t think that it is fair to have a dog in an apartment. I don’t think that a dog replaces a kid but nowadays it seems as if couples are choosing one or the other.

There is a dog food commercial that I saw on TV and the woman was talking about the healthy food that she feeds to her dog.  She feeds her dog organic food because she wants him to live a long and healthy life.  At the end of the commercial she says, after all he’s not our family pet he’s our oldest boy. I am not sure what is but something about that statement just didn’t sit right with me.

So let me ask you a question Dinks – you don’t have kids, but would you get a dog?

I think that having another living thing, aka a dog, in our house will completely change the dynamic of our home. I would like to have someone to take care of, but that same someone has to be able to also function on their own if I decided to go out with friends after work or take a weekend road trip. It would be nice to have a dog with me on my daily walks through the park but the cleaning up after another living thing does not exactly appeal to me.

Having a dog is a commitment and I’m not sure that I am ready for that.

One of the reasons that people choose not to have kids is because kids are a huge time and a huge financial commitment, but on the other hand isn’t a pet also a huge time commitment. Yes it’s true that dogs don’t live as long as kids so ideally they should be cheaper, but at the same time dogs need shots, food, toys, grooming etc. and all of that can add up.

A pet can be a great addition to any home but at the same time it is a big responsibility, and just like my fear of having kids, what if I fail? If you have a dog or a pet how did you decide when you were ready to have a pet and how did you know that you would be good at taking care of another living thing.

Here are some personal finance posts about dogs and pets:

Common Cents Wealth When is the Best Time to Get a Dog?

Conquer Your Debt – How to prepare financially for adopting a pet.

Mint Life – Which is Cheaper: Cats or Dogs?

L Bee and the Money Tree – How much does a puppy cost?

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jake @ Common Cents Wealth June 19, 2013 at 10:35 am

My wife and I got a dog about 2 years ago and we still don’t have any kids. Dogs are great when you want some commitment, but you’re not ready for a baby. We love our dog and feel like she is totally part of the family, but she would not be a substitute for having a kid.

2 Steve June 19, 2013 at 10:48 am

We have a dog and a cat. *I* have 8 snakes and work with raptors as a volunteer. I’d like to do falconry someday. I’m kicking around the idea of opening a specialty pet shop in the future.

It’s not really about kids/no kids with us; I’m a biologist and the wife is an animal lover, so we’d have pets regardless. Not having kids just provides greater opportunity to do what we love, which happens to includes animals. I don’t think I could seriously consider falconry if I had small children because it’s a really big time commitment.

3 MM June 19, 2013 at 1:59 pm

We have 2 dogs and love them and consider them a part of our family. I remember feeling that same hesitation that you articulated above– the night before picking up our 2nd dog from the shelter I thought “life will never be the same again” and it hasn’t! But in the most amazing way. I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t see my animals as a burden at all and could not imagine my life without them.

4 David @my2centopinion June 19, 2013 at 10:07 pm

I have kids and no dog. I have heard this going around though. It doesn’t seem like a bad idea, helps you get a feel for being responsible for a life. They have very different challenges though. Dogs do become part of the family, and I know that’s how I felt about my childhood dog. They just have different needs.

5 bula June 20, 2013 at 12:09 pm

We took home a dog home from the shelter 8 years ago, picked up another one a year later and now have a third from last year. Our second passed away a year ago- as DINKS we were able to treat him for lymphoma and extended his life by two years. Um, yes, we treat them as our kids. Our kids that we can leave a home if needed or leave at the dog farm for our extended trips. Our kids that we can take breaks from but still love as much as we want. We admit we’ve spent some money on them (enough that my in-laws suggested we adopt a kid with the money spent)- they are well insured- but they give us so much joy. Although we have to pick up their feces, they don’t talk back and we don’t have to worry about not doing a good at raising a human.

6 Christine @ ThePursuitofGreen June 21, 2013 at 12:08 am

My hubby aren’t planning to get a dog until we have kids. Don’t want to be responsible for another life until we have to. Both have different challenges, so we figure if we’re going to be tied down by one, might as well do both.

7 Crystal June 21, 2013 at 5:06 pm

We adopted our Dachshund a month after we got married in 2005 (she’s 15 now). Then we adopted our Pug in 2009 (he’s 9 or 10 now). Overall, I don’t see them as kids (way, way easier). But they are our dogs – sweet little things that sit next to us to keep us company and then annoy the crap out of us when they want something. I think they are filling our we-are-dog-people needs, but children are a whole different world, lol. We aren’t there yet.

8 Susanne June 28, 2013 at 10:59 am

I felt the same way until our little chose to come into our life! We had been putting off getting a dog since we didn’t want to deal with the cost and the worry if she’d get along with my mom’s dogs since we traveled often to see her. Before we knew, our dog was in our yard, and our attempts to find her owner failed, so we ended up keeping her. She’s the perfect little companion. She’s a little min-pin, and she travels with us everywhere (as long as we’re staying with family or friends, of course!). So maybe if you did get a dog, you could look into getting a smaller dog? They are much easier to handle and MUCH cheaper!!

9 Michael @ The Student Loan Sherpa June 30, 2013 at 4:32 pm

We are dog owners and have no kids. I think dogs are definitely part of the family, but I don’t think the commitment compares to having a kid. I doubt having a dog is anything like having a kid… other than having to clean up after their messes… and them relying upon you for food… and ALL the expenses… in retrospect, maybe it is just like having a kid.

10 Kate July 2, 2013 at 11:58 am

Hey Kristina,

Thanks for linking to Conquer Your Debt in this blog. Your post is great. I was wondering if you would ever be interested in having us guest post? I’d love to chat. Thanks

11 Jen October 3, 2013 at 2:30 pm

A little late to the running, but I just discovered this blog. My Husband and I are DINKS and proud of it. While I loved children growing up, and I have lots of neices and nephews the thought of a child of our own scares the crap out of me. But we did get a dog a year and a half ago. Although he has stolen our heart and become part of our family it hasn’t been without it’s share of frustrations. We used to love date night on friday after a week at work, but now we have to go and walk our dog first since we don’t want to leave him alone all that extra time. Going away for the weekend involves getting a pet friendly room and bringing him, or finding a kennel to put him in. He has had 8.. yes 8 surgeries over the last year and a half due to 2 accidents, a birth defect in his eye, and of course getting him neutered. Luckly, being DINKS, we could afford to pay the over $5000.00 in vet bills this year alone.

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