A Roommate’s Guide for Learning to Live with a Dog

Posted by Allie Layos
Close up portrait of Shiba Inu dog face sitting on green sofa with owner. Best friend concept. Young caucasian male in casual t-shirt playing with his cute pet on couch at home stroking and petting

Living with a dog for the first time takes some adjusting. 

For those who have spent their lives among canine companions, it may seem strange. But if you decide to live with someone who has never had a dog, it is a good idea to let your roommate know what they’re getting into. After all, you will be sharing your fur-child, your best friend, your constant companion.

Here are some lessons a roommate should know about living with a dog:

Don’t leave food out within the dog’s reach.

Even if the dog is one of those rare unicorn dogs that doesn’t show any interest in human food, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Spoiler alert: animals like food.

Don’t leave any food out for your roommate’s dog to get into.

Dalmatian begging

Always ask before feeding the dog anything.

A well-meaning roommate could give the dog a few extra treats, and suddenly, the dog is always going to them for treats and has gained a few pounds.

Roommates should ask what, when, and how much, to feed the dog.

Girl Feeding Young Husky Eskimo Dog. Close Up Head. Summer Season

Make sure to know the emergency phone numbers in case something goes wrong.

It’s an awful nightmare, but it’s even scarier when it isn’t your dog and you don’t know what to do. A veterinarian would rather you be cautious and ask than let too much time go by and something be really wrong.

Make sure important numbers are visible.

Video Showcase

Dog hair will get everywhere.

True, some breeds shed less than others, but it’s a fact of life. Your hair sheds in the shower. The same goes for dogs, except they have a lot more hair.

An easy way to avoid eating dog hair is to wear separate clothing for cooking and for cuddling with the dog. And, of course, dog hair will stick to you, no matter what.

The roommate should know this before they move in!

Woman with Doberman

The dog will always prefer its human.

This is a really difficult lesson to learn for a new roommate, especially if you are someone who adores animals. But, if you’re the right type of person, the dog will learn to trust you too.

Dog on woman's lap

When the roommate and dog are gone, the home will feel eerily empty.

Try to move out first, when the time comes. The quiet of there no longer being a furry friend in the home will make it feel like a cold, hollow place.

Safety is different when you have a dog.

You might suddenly have a gate at the end of the driveway that has to be opened, closed, locked and unlocked each time you come and go. If your hands are full of items to bring to the car, you can’t forget that the dog will either want to come in or go out. Perhaps you should make two trips.

Having a dog living at your house means the roommate needs to look after him or her too.

Black dog waiting for his owner on the gate.

You’ll always have an exercise partner.

Whether it is going for a jog, running or walking around the block, most dogs enjoy an excuse to go outside and enjoy the fresh air with anyone.

Roommates can take advantage of a having four-legged friend to talk to on their walks, hikes, or runs.

Man running with dog

They understand.

Whether you had a bad day, are having problems with a significant other, or just need to bend someone’s ear, the dog will be there for you. The dog might hover when you are upset, staying nearby to try and ease your pain.

Living with a roommate’s dog comes with benefits.

Woman hugging dog

It will open your eyes.

If you live in a climate where the dog can’t roam freely in the yard all of the time, you’ll realize just how much of a commitment sharing your life with a dog is. Counting the hours until you must return home to let the dog out is crucial. Can you imagine being told you can’t use the bathroom for hours on end?

No longer will anyone living at the house be out from 9 a.m. until 11 p.m. All the people in the house, roommates included, will need to plan trips and work days around letting the dog out. It helps to have a backup person who everyone trusts to cover for when the days are too long.

Young golden retriever for a walk with his owner. Dog breed labrador outdoors

You will want to keep the dog.

After a year of bonding, it’s hard to let go of even a roommate’s dog!

In general, if you choose a roommate who has never had a dog before, it can be a wonderful adventure. The dog will have another person giving it attention. You will have someone to help take care of your dog. And your dog will be happy to share itself with another human.

Have you ever shared your dog with a roommate, or been the roommate living with a dog for the first time? Share your experiences below. 

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A Roommate’s Guide for Learning to Live with a Dog