When life is stable, dog ownership is fun and easy. But when life throws you curveballs, keeping up with your dog’s needs can suddenly become harder to manage, especially if you live alone.
Read on to learn how to balance the responsibilities of pet ownership through three major life changes.
Finding a new job
Searching for a new job is a full-time job in itself, which means much less time to care for your pet, especially if you’re already working full-time. So how can you get that dream job and keep your pup happy?
- Plan for your pup. First things first, put a plan in place for how to get your pup the attention she deserves when you’re indisposed. If that means hiring a dog walker for the interim, it’s a worthwhile investment so you can keep your dog exercised and tended to while you work to find a new job.
- Get tips on your application materials and interview. Computerized applicant tracking systems have changed the rules of writing resumes and cover letters. Read up on the best strategies for getting your application in front of human eyes and making a strong impression in the interview. The better equipped you are with applying, the more time you can free up for you and your pet.
- Lock down your social media. Companies look online to learn about candidates. Clean up social media pages and use privacy settings to control what employers see. Experian explains how. Once your social media is locked down, consider taking a break. Unless you’re networking, you can take that time you’ve spent on Facebook or Instagram and give it to your pet.
- Take a time out. Taking breaks to spend time with your dog can help keep you from getting overly stressed throughout the job hunting process. Time with your dog will benefit you both, especially since dogs can be such great stress relievers.
Moving is stressful for both you and your dog. If you’re struggling to find pet-friendly housing, it’s even harder. However, that doesn’t mean rehoming is the only option. You and your pet can navigate big moves together when you follow these tips:
- Start the house hunt early. When searching for a pet-friendly rental, you can’t afford to wait until the last minute. Scan online listings to find apartment complexes and rental management companies that allow dogs. If you’re able to, visit the new town and drive around. See whether there are any local dog parks nearby. Private landlords can be more flexible regarding pets, but they don’t always advertise online.
- Declutter before moving. Once the move is certain, start sorting through your stuff. You’ll be exhausted by the time you finish moving, so it’s better to spend the time organizing and decluttering now.
- Certify your dog as a Canine Good Citizen. A Canine Good Citizen award reassures landlords that your pet is well-mannered. Learn more about the Canine Good citizen program at the American Kennel Club.
- Manage your dog’s stress during the move. When a move disrupts your daily routine, dogs may respond with anxiety and misbehavior. Reduce your dog’s stress by maintaining routines during the move and furnishing the new house with familiar items.
Starting a family
First-time parents often worry about how their dog will adapt to a baby. Will the dog be jealous of the baby or a little too interested in the new arrival? Will you have time for your dog with a newborn in the house? With these tips, your whole family can live in harmony:
- Train your dog before the birth. Obedience training before the baby arrives gives dogs the necessary tools to be a well-behaved pet. That way, you’re not worried about a dog jumping on you while you’re holding a newborn or getting in the baby’s face despite your commands.
- Control interactions. No matter how much you trust your pet, there’s always a risk when dogs and babies interact. Supervise interactions to ensure everyone stays safe.
- Enlist help. Ask friends and family who are eager to help to exercise and look after your dog. com recommends doing this a month before the baby’s due date, especially since once labor begins you’ll likely be gone for a few days. However, even once you’re back home, new parents often lack the time and energy a dog requires. Remember that there’s always the option of hiring a dog walker or sitter.
Dogs make major life changes trickier, but rehoming your pet should be a last resort. Rehoming is often traumatic for dogs and not all dogs will find another home. Thankfully, there’s usually an alternative option. Use these tips to find a solution that allows you and your dog to move forward together.
– By Jessica Brody