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I Want a Dog But My Partner Doesn't

Josie F. Turner
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: March 21, 2024
I Want a Dog But My Partner Doesn't

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At AnimalWised, it is easy to forget not everyone is an animal lover. We spend all day thinking about animals, their care and how we can make their lives better. Not everyone carries them in the same regard. While they may not encourage animal cruelty, some people prefer not to share their domestic lives with a pet. This could be due to many reasons, whether preferential or circumstantial. For single people, this may not be a problem. However, when someone who does not want to live with an animal couples with someone who does, tensions arise.

If you are saying to yourself I want a dog but my partner doesn't, you will likely have serious considerations to make. We try to help you in your dilemma by looking at what options are available when one of you wants a pet and the other doesn't.

You may also be interested in: Keeping a Hedgehog as a Pet
  1. Do you really need a dog?
  2. Do you really need a partner?
  3. Make the case for a dog
  4. Get another pet
  5. Volunteer at a shelter or animal charity

Do you really need a dog?

So we can know what to do if we want a dog, but our partner doesn't, we need to ask some specific questions. Assuming we still want to be with our partner, a dog may not be the best idea. There are many animal shelters across the world which are full of dogs in need of a home. However, this doesn't mean every home needs a dog.

You should ask yourself the question of whether you are able to meet the responsibility of adopting a dog into your family. Firstly, a dog requires financial resources. Even if you adopt the dog for free, you will have to pay for their initial veterinary checkup, vaccinations and necessary accessories. While the financial burden will be reduced after initial costs, you will still have to pay for their upkeep. Also, if your dog becomes sick or injured, veterinary bills can be expensive. If you are unable to meet the financial demands or don't have money for contingency, adopting a dog is irresponsible.

Space is also very important. While some dogs will take up more space than others, those who live in a small space may find it difficult to cohabitate with an animal. For your partner, a dog they didn't want in the first place may seem like a nuisance and cause resentment.

We all have busy lives, but dogs need both your time and a consistent routine. If we work erratic hours, we may not be around to provide adequate walks or even to feed them at the same time every day. One problem many couples have is the fact they do not get to spend enough time with each other. A dog can exacerbate this problem.

If you think stretching your finances, space and time is worth having a dog, your partner will not likely agree. Even if you otherwise get on very well, financial issues are a common cause for argument in couples. If you argue about money already, your partner is likely to resent the dog even more. While you may want a pet, not being able to meet the responsibilities in caring for one can make the decision for you.

Do you really need a partner?

While there is great responsibility in caring for a dog, being in a relationship also has responsibility. A healthy one means the parties involved will be equal parts of the same whole. If you want a dog, but your partner doesn't, it might represent a rare note of discord in an otherwise loving relationship. Whether your partner is a wife, husband, boyfriend, girlfriend or however you identify them, insisting on a dog may not be worth jeopardizing a happy relationship.

However, one partner's desire for a dog may be a good litmus test for the relationship as a whole. If problems between you and your partner already exist (and let's face it, every relationship has its issues), your views on adopting a dog might be the last straw. One partner wanting to adopt a dog without the other may show you have different priorities and values. When you have different values from your partner, you will need to ask if you should still be with them.

We are not saying that adopting a dog is the most important thing you can do. We are saying that if you love dogs and your partner doesn't, it might be a sign you have moved on in different directions. If your partner is a boyfriend or girlfriend and you have only been going out for a short time, this may be not be a hard decision. When you are married to your spouse or you have a long-established life together, it is not so easy.

I Want a Dog But My Partner Doesn't - Do you really need a partner?

Make the case for a dog

You may be both able to meet the responsibilities of having a dog and still very much want to remain with your partner. This makes things complicated. One of your options is to put forward the case for bringing a dog into your lives. This is not the same as berating your spouse or partner into agreeing with you. Doing this will only invalidate their feelings and create resentment between you.

Before you make your case, you need to ask why your partner doesn't want a dog. Did they have a bad experience with them growing up? Do they not want their home to be affected? Perhaps they have an allergy? If the problem is your partner has an allergy, then there is no case to make. If the allergy is severe enough, it can seriously damage their quality of life. It might be disappointing, but it wouldn't be fair to bring a canine into the home.

Finding out why they don't want a dog will involve both asking them directly and contemplating it on your own. Once you have discovered the reasons, you can address them. For example, if they have had bad experiences in the past, you can take them somewhere they can have a positive one (e.g. if you have a friend with a friendly dog). If there are concerns over your property, you can ensure you have the right set-up to ensure it is protected.

What you should not do is force the issue, nor should you use guilt to get your way. This will provide more problems further on in the relationship. Instead, have an open discussion and provide solutions to possible problems. Be attentive to their needs also and find a compromise. If you are both open and honest with each other, then it is the best way of coming to a solution.

It is also important to remember some breeds may be better suited to your partner's needs, although this doesn't negate the fact every dog has an individual personality with their own needs. Also, adopting a mix breed dog is ideal.

Get another pet

Dogs are wonderful pets and you may have your heart set on one. However, it may simply not be feasible to adopt one into your home. Whether due to practical problems or because you simply cannot convince your partner to change their mind, maybe another pet will be a good compromise.

Your desires to have a dog may be satiated with another pet which is also suitable for your partner. Cats, rabbits, hamsters and guinea pigs all can be loving pets which help to fulfill your life. Even exotic animals such as turtles or certain fish might be a great addition to the family. Just ensure you ask the same questions in terms of responsibility and suitability you asked when considering a dog.

I Want a Dog But My Partner Doesn't - Get another pet

Volunteer at a shelter or animal charity

Finally, if having any sort of animal in your home is not suitable, whether due to your partner or whatever reason, volunteering can be an amazing solution. Helping animals in need is mutually beneficial. It helps you to meet the desire to have animals in your life, but it won't encroach in your home life with your partner. You will also be able to help dogs or other animals which are in desperate need of love and attention.

To volunteer, you will need to research what local animal facilities are in your area. There may be shelters or sanctuaries for animals in need where your help is vital. It could involve helping to rehome to animals or you may have more practical tasks such as feeding, brushing and generally caring for them.

When you do decide to volunteer with animals rather than adopting them into your home, you will need to be aware of the turnover. While you will be able to love and care for the dogs or other animals there, you cannot get too attached. Doing so can be heartbreaking once they leave. Instead, you can be happy you are helping to give these animals the lives they deserve, even if your time together is temporary. The happiness you receive in doing this may even have a knock on effect of making you a better partner in your relationship.

If you are still looking for a way to convince your partner to agree to adopting a dog, our video below might be helpful:

If you want to read similar articles to I Want a Dog But My Partner Doesn't, we recommend you visit our What you need to know category.

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I Want a Dog But My Partner Doesn't