July and December are Regret Getting a Dog Months

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This past weekend, you may have noticed a more-than-usual amount of cute dog photos being shared across the web as people celebrated National Puppy Day (March 23rd), a day for celebrating the unconditional love of puppies and for building awareness on the importance of adoption.

The one issue, however, that wasn’t given as much spotlight is the unintended consequences these awareness days can have on the livelihood of dogs. Some of you may have heard of a term called puppy blues, a phase when people start to feel regret after bringing a new puppy home and may no longer want their pet.

This is a natural reaction that many people have especially if they are a first-time dog owner. The majority of dog owners will get past this phase and enjoy many years of happiness with their dogs. Other dog owners, on the other hand, will continue to feel overwhelmed and will eventually find ways to return or give their dog away. Unfortunately, this can happen in the aftermath of an occasion like National Puppy Day.

Many dog adoption and rescue organizations use this day as an opportunity to run special adoption events. They may encourage more people to adopt by offering special promotions, such as offering an “adopt an adult dog for free” day as one pet shelter in Chicago has done. Such promotions can encourage adoption from people who aren’t truly ready to take care of a dog.

We were curious to see if there were specific months during the year when the dog ownership remorse was most prevalent. Turns out there are two specific times of the year.

The no. of Google searches by people who had regrets over getting a dog peaked during the months of July and December. The above chart shows the average % of dog ownership regret searches by month in the past three years. The most-searched keywords include: where can I give my dog away, I adopted a dog and now I regret it, and regret getting a puppy.

Why Do People Regret Getting a Dog?

Dog rescue and adoption organizations generally have processes (e.g. interviews, background checks) in place to make sure the dog and prospective owner are a good match for one another. Unfortunately, no system is perfect and there’s always a chance for a mismatch. Here are some of the most common reasons that can lead to people feeling regret over getting a new dog.

Behavioral and Personality Mismatch

The dog may have certain behavioral or personality traits that wasn’t evident when the owner brought the dog home for the first time. This could include excessive separation anxiety, excessive barking, or simply having too much energy for a dog owner to handle.

The Dog has Health Issues

The dog may have a medical condition that the adopter wasn’t aware of the first time. This may include issues like allergies, diabetes, and hereditary conditions like hip dysplasia. The cost or effort it takes to manage the medical condition could go beyond the adopter’s limit.

The Owner isn’t Financially Ready

A lot of dog owners underestimate the one-time and monthly costs involved in owning a dog. As our dog ownership calculator shows, you could be easily spending more than a few thousand dollars a year to keep your dog in healthy shape.

You definitely need to be financially ready if you plan to own more than a single dog. Make sure to check up with state rules as some states such as California may have limits as to how many dogs you can own without a license.

The Owner is Feeling Puppy Depression

Dog owners can go through a phase called puppy depression. This is an entirely-normal response for first-time puppy owners. The owner may feel this temporarily for several reasons including a loss in freedom, feeling overwhelmed by the new responsibilities, and sleep deprivation.

What to Do When You Feel Remorse over Getting a Dog

First, you need to understand that it’s normal to have these thoughts and while it’s not ideal, there are perfectly valid reasons for returning or re-homing a dog you recently adopted or bought. Here are some steps you may want to consider to get past the dog depression stage.

Get Help from a Professional Trainer

You might be feeling depressed or overwhelmed because your dog is constantly engaging in bad behaviors (e.g. excessive barking, urinating in the wrong places). If you have the means to, we strongly recommend getting help from a professional dog trainer to rectify these behavioral issues. You will feel a huge weight off your shoulders once you have a professional guide you through the training process step-by-step.

Build a Regular Routine

Your life as a dog owner will be made much easier if you can build a reliable and regular routine with your dog. Feed, exercise, and play with your dog at the same time every day. A regular routine is important for dogs as they are creatures of habit.

Be Patient

Remember the last time you switched to a new job? All your co-workers may have been very nice to you yet you may have still felt a lot of stress and anxiety as you gradually adjusted to the new environment. It’s no different for a dog that’s brought to a new home. The dog may need some time before he shows his loving personality to people in the household.


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