40 Things You Should Never Say to a Dog Owner
Friendly, loving and loyal, dogs are the most popular pets in the U.S., with a whopping 38.4 percent of households having a canine companion.
This means that even if you don’t have a dog, you’re likely to cross paths with one or more of them on a fairly regular basis. And you might have questions or observations you feel inclined to share. But before you do — think about how it might be received (no matter how well-meaning it is).
Here are some things dog owners really don’t want to hear. Again.
Anything That Implies They Look Like a Dog, for Obvious Reasons
However beautiful they think their dog is (and all dog owners do, without exception), they probably don’t want to be told they resemble a furry, four-legged creature with floppy ears and a wet nose.
It’s much better just to tell them how lovely their pooch is.
Your Dog Is Hyper
You might as well just come out and say you think their dog is wild.
News flash: Lots of dogs have lots of energy, and dogs need enough exercise to stay physically healthy and mentally stimulated.
I Hope You Pick Up After Him...
This is just a pretty stupid thing to say. They probably do have more than enough poop bags.
And if they don’t, well that’s their problem — unless you’re planning to offer to help with the disposal?
Why Else Would We Have a Dog, Karen?
The answer is always going to be yes.
So, ask a better question.
Anything That Shouts 'Dogs Are Dangerous, and I Don't Like Them'
And your son always will be terrified of dogs if you keep talking about it and don’t encourage him to find out how good-natured and loving most dogs are.
Maybe a low-key doggy intro would actually be a good thing?
She Only Bites People Who Ask Rude Questions
Some dog owners might be tempted to say “yes” just to get rid of you and your silly question. The truth is, puppies are prone to nibbling anything that goes anywhere near their mouths (including fingers and other body parts), but the risk of getting bitten by a well-trained, properly socialized adult dog is low.
If you have any concerns, just keep your hands to yourself.
It’s 100 percent guaranteed that dog parents want their pets to live forever. So, yes, it is a shame.
It’s also a not-so-welcome reminder of their beloved fur baby’s mortality.
Your Dogs Look Annoying
Just like some breeds are unfairly labeled aggressive or lazy, others are tarred with the “yappy” brush.
What does this even mean? That they bark a lot? Um, that’s known as being sociable.
Did You Get Your Dog As a Cute Accessory?
A dog is for life, not a fashion season.
And if it’s small enough to fit in a handbag, that stops it’s teeny tiny legs from getting tired.
Assuming Gender Is Rude, Even for Dogs
A really nice thing to say...
Unless it’s a girl.
The Answer to This One Is Probably No
Probably not. Your kid can say hello — maybe even get a lick on the hand.
But dog walks are generally about exercise and exploration, not babysitting.
Adopt, Don't Shop. Or Else.
Adopting a shelter dog is a wonderful thing to do. But it’s not for everyone.
Ditch the judgment, and if you feel so strongly about saving shelter dogs, go adopt a few yourself.
Is Your Service Dog Real? Might As Well Ask If Their Wheelchair Is, Too
This is as insensitive as it is stupid. There’s a huge demand for service dogs for people who have visual, hearing or mobility impairment.
Resist the temptation to ask why someone has a service dog because it’s really none of your business.
Is Your Dog Too Cold?
If you see a dog that’s alone and clearly in distress, the right thing to do is alert the authorities.
If you’re at someone’s house and their dog is outdoors, it’s probably because (1) they like it, and (2) their owner knows much better than you what’s right for their own pet.
Your Dog Needs Water
A dog owner knows their pet inside and out. They know when it needs exercise, rest, food and water.
However well-meaning your concern for a dog’s hydration is, it’s probably best just to trust that they’ll get all the water they need.
Leash Your Dog! How Irresponsible
Although some city ordinances require dogs to be on leashes, there’s usually a bit of leeway in certain circumstances. There are many occasions, like hiking or trail running, when an obedient, well-trained dog off its leash is no concern whatsoever.
In any case, it’s up to the dog owner to make leash decisions.
Are You Feeding Them Enough?
What does a hungry dog look like, exactly? Unless you can provide a satisfactory answer to that, keep your opinion to yourself.
There’s always a valid reason why a dog owner isn’t dishing out snacks to their pup.
Are You Sure That Isn't a Horse?
If you’re face-to-face with a Saint Bernard or a Newfoundland, this observation is probably justified, if a little unimaginative.
These breeds are, indeed, huge. But if the dog’s not a giant breed, commenting on its size is no more than canine fat-shaming. Just don’t.
Are You Ever Planning on Training Them?
This is just another way of saying “your dog is annoying me.” So, walk away.
No dog (or their owner) is going to insist that you hang out.
I Bet Those Vet Bills Rack Up
Who are you, a financial advisor? Yes, dogs are expensive if they need medical care.
But let’s face it — what’s not expensive? Every cent a dog owner spends to keep their pet healthy is worth it.
Your Dog Died? At Least You Can Get a Puppy Now
A dog is a part of the family — a beloved friend who’ll never be forgotten. Of course, some people might want to get another dog when the time’s right, but it’s not to replace the old dog.
Do you replace your grandparents when they pass away, too? That's what we thought. In this situation, all you need to say is, “I’m sorry.”
Your Dog Goes On the Couch? Is That Sanitary?
Should you be asking such a ridiculous question? You do your thing in your home, and let everyone else do the same.
If a dog owner wants their canine chum to sleep on the couch, on their bed (or even in their bed), that’s entirely up to them.
Pitbulls Are Dangerous. Aren't You Worried About Them Around Your Kids?
While it’s true that some dog breeds may be genetically predisposed to a more protective nature than others, no dog is inherently vicious. If a dog does behave in an aggressive manner, it’s because it’s been taught to be that way by its owner.
In many causes, the dog is also a victim of abuse and/or neglect. In other words, it’s absolutely not their fault.
Putting Clothes on Dogs Is Abusive
Just because you wouldn’t dress up your dog, that doesn’t mean plenty of others don’t get pleasure from it.
Clothes for dogs aren’t cruel, and for very small breeds, a cozy winter coat ensures they don’t get cold when they’re clocking up their daily steps.
Are You a Dog Mom, or a Real Mom?
You can be a dog parent and a human parent at the same time, you know.
If people have enough love for more than one child, they have enough love for a dog and a baby — or several of each, for that matter.
Dogs Don't Actually Understand You
Well, that’s besides the point. A dog doesn’t need to understand human words to get a huge amount of pleasure from the interaction.
And anyway, they do understand lots of commands, so how do you know they don’t actually understand everything we say to them?
Surgery? For a Dog?
A devoted dog owner will do anything to keep their pet healthy. Sure, vet bills can be expensive, but life with their furry family member is priceless.
If it reaches the point where euthanization is the only option, that’s a heartbreaking step to take. Casual questions about money are just super insensitive.
Dog Kisses Are Gross
Not all dog owners appreciate a slobbery smooch from their pet. But many do — and that’s their call.
Licking is in a dog’s nature, and it shouldn’t be an issue if the pooch is well taken care of and the recipient has a healthy immune system. If you don’t like the idea of dogs kissing people, don’t let a dog kiss you. Simple.
I Would Never Have a Dog in My House
People with allergies are obviously an exception, but they usually include a polite explanation. Everyone else, prepare yourself to hear, “Sorry, no dog haters allowed in my house,” right back.
It’s always a good idea to remember the mantra, “love me, love my dog” if you have a dog owner in your life.
Are Dog Sitters Even Necessary?
This may be true. But if you’re not a pet owner, you’ll never understand how difficult it can be to say goodbye to your BFF (best furry friend).
If someone has to leave a party to get back to their pooch, just accept that that’s the right thing for them to do. (And mind your own business.)
Maybe You Should Try a Shock Collar
Unless you’re an experienced dog trainer, this question is likely to be answered with a blank stare. Or maybe even a four-letter word.
Good dog parents know that training a dog takes time, energy and dedication, and punishing a dog after they’ve misbehaved doesn’t always work.
Your Dog Seems Like Your Entire Personality
Everyone has certain things they love doing in their spare time. You might like going to a fancy restaurant or hitting a club.
You wouldn’t appreciate someone questioning that choice, so don’t make a dog owner feel embarrassed about hanging out with their pooch. Different strokes for different folks, remember.
Adopted Dogs Are Unpredictable, Aren't They?
It’s true that many shelter dogs are mixed breeds, and it’s often impossible to know what lies within their bloodline.
But adopting a dog is an amazing thing to do — it’s literally saving a life. Anyone who does it should be praised.
Aw, Your Dog Is Sick? Make Those Last Days Count
Anyone who’s had to schedule their pet’s euthanization isn’t going to enjoy a single minute of the lead up to the heartbreaking occasion.
Telling them to make the most of the time they have left may be well-meaning, but sometimes, you just can’t put on a happy face.
Does She Shed?
This may be the case.
But as owners of heavy-shedding dogs will tell you, more frequent vacuuming is a small price to pay for all the affection and companionship.
Wait, You Have a Dog That Big in an Apartment?
It’s a myth that large dog breeds need large living spaces.
Provided a dog gets the exercise it needs, it can be perfectly comfortable and content in a small apartment.
Can We Talk About Something Else? No Offense
Would you tell someone to stop talking about their kid? Probably not.
Everyone likes to talk about the things that bring them the most joy. There’s enough doom and gloom in the world without putting a limit on the cute puppy chat.
I Can't Believe People Make Instagram Accounts for Their Pets
People have Instagram accounts for their lunches, their shoes, their human kids. Why the hell shouldn’t they have one for their best canine buddy?
There are a lot worse things to look at on social media than adorable pooch pics. But if you really hate it, just keep scrolling.
14?! Wow, That's Like 100 in Dog Years
Not only is this stating the obvious, it’s a heartless reminder that someone’s beloved dog is nearing the end of their life.
For a dog lover, this is the equivalent of saying, “Shouldn’t your grandmother be dead already?”
You Talk to Your Dog Like It's a Person
Yes, but do you really know that for sure? And maybe they're not a person, but they're still our best friend. Check and mate.