Owning an animal gives me anxiety

(19 Posts)
Darklava09 Thu 25-Jun-20 23:11:12

I’m really suffering with anxiety in respect of being responsible for a dog.

We have an 11 month old frenchie and I was super anxious before getting him and in all honesty went in a bit blind. Despite me Sharing concerns with OH we went ahead because I was persuaded to do so and we’ve had him since he was 9 weeks.

I have noticed though I wake up most morning and it fills me with dread. I worry constantly about him being poorly despite him not having that many issues. I worry how id afford it despite having insurance because long term I won’t be able to continue to afford it as premiums for frenchies are sky high.

I am exhausted as he is so needy. He sticks to me likely Velcro and follows me around, needs constant supervision as he hunts out things to chew that he shouldn’t, constantly ruining the sofas, makes a lot of mess which needs cleaning and I know it’s part and parcel of dog ownership.

I do all the walking, feeding, playing, caring and research into his allergies and training.

OH literally just picks up the poo and doesn’t seem fazed by any of my worries. I’ve told him once we return back to work he will need walking each morning before we go and I used to do that but I’ll be starting a new job so will be out the house earlier so OH will need to do it but I know he won’t. I literally then constantly worry about the dog when I’m at work, feel sorry for him for being alone, feel guilty for being away from him but at the same time frazzled because no one else seems to care!?

OH persuaded me to have this dog and it falls all on me. I often feel like I don’t give the dog a home that he deserves and even think about rehoming him to a better suited family. We are a young active family and I feel he needs someone who’s there more and can give him more 1-1 time. He’s like a little baby still and needs a lot more attention than I give him.

I just don’t know how to enjoy him and I feel sad about that. He’s very loved and very spoilt but I often just look at him and feel empty.

Words of wisdom... maybe I need to give my head a wobble.

OP’s posts: |
StillMedusa Thu 25-Jun-20 23:25:02

I think to some extent the anxiety is normal... or if it isn't, I'm similar anyway... mines 13m now and our first dog, and I honeslty worry more about her than I did any of my children ..has she eaten enough, was her poo normal, oh no she's been sick is she ill.. etc etc etc.
Mine is also super clingly and massively bonded to me..she loves us all but I am am MUMMY and due to our family shifts(nurses, school workers 5 adults) she is never alone for more than an hour or so ever but she still sobs when I get in from work , which makes me guilt ridden for having a job!

I also do 90% of the walking etc . BUT I know she has a good quality of life even if me not being there 24/7 is not to her liking.

I think you need to REALLY sit your OH down and talk about it. If he wanted the dog..he takes his full responsibility for him and walks him OR he pays for doggy day care when you are both working. Or he is rehomed to someone who can give more attention. But you have to stand up for yourself.. dogs are needy but they are supposed to add to your life not make it miserable.

I love mine deeply, but there are still days when I think WHY did we do this? I'm already panicking about a 3 day trip away to a family wedding next year.. how can we leave her with anyone when she is so clingy to me? But as a family we will find a solution, and that's the key really... you have to be firm .
I think doggy day care would be a good solution for you if you can run to it. If not..an ultimatum; he steps up to his responsibilities or you find a new home...

longtompot Thu 25-Jun-20 23:32:21

It sounds like despite you dh wanting the dog it's down to you to do the day to day with it. I have a dog which my dh didn't want to get, but I do everything for her. He does love her, and he will take her for walks if I can't, but she is my responsibility. Your dh needs to step up and take over the majority of the dogs care. Then you might be able to enjoy it, the dog seems to love you, and who knows, your anxiety levels might reduce. A chat with dh is needed soon.

TiddyTid Thu 25-Jun-20 23:43:32

I'm always anxious about my animals. I had two horses and 2 dogs. In a matter of months I've lost one of each and devastated. Would I swap the anxiety for not having them. Never!!

Darklava09 Thu 25-Jun-20 23:44:12

@StillMedusa honestly you and I sound so alike with our feelings here!

Doggy day care is not an option. I used to pay for a dog walker but as he’s got older he can’t hack the walks and due to his grass allergy it would drive him nutty. We don’t have dog walkers around here that only do round the block they all take them
To a field.

The thing is the our dog is so looked after. He’s got multiple beds, fed a really good kibble, lots of toys ect but I just feel so crap for him. I felt a lot better on lockdown knowing that we’re here with him. Prior to that I used to watch him on dog camera blush

My OH mom used to buy and get rid of dogs like changing socks and he said he hates the thought of rehoming him and it’s a touchy subject and I get that I do but at the same time I feel like my mental
Health is suffering. I do feel the same a dog is for life and I honestly would feel awful rehoming. I wouldn’t sell him I’d only ever give him to a rescue but that’s last last resort.
I had a right go at OH and he walked
Him for a few days and that was it... back to square one and it’s stuff like today I got a pool for the dog and obv had to spend 20mins drying him because no one else bloody does!
OH says we need to ride it out as he will get better as he gets older and thinks he will be a dosile dog but I don’t know if I can cope with another 7-8 years of anxiety. I’ll never have another after him I can promise that!

OP’s posts: |
StillMedusa Fri 26-Jun-20 01:13:02

((Hugs)) I get it I really do... mine threw up her dinner tonight. In all likelihood , it's the heat (she had an early morning walk and then I took her out at 9pm when it was much cooler here) but I've been worrying about her ever since...meanwhile she's snoring at my feet grin

But she had some different kibble tonight.. was it that? Is she ill? I worry about her all the time because I feel she ought to have the PERFECT doggy life at all times.
To be fair yours doesn't sound like he is having a miserable existence! (I wouldn't bother drying him in this heat )

I do think though, adolescent puppies are the hardest.. as they get older they seem to just sleep and potter, so fingers crossed it will become easier if you do keep him. If not I'm sure he will be snapped up quickly!

Scattyhattie Fri 26-Jun-20 04:26:23

Maybe this is more a OH problem than the dog as you were expecting him to take main responsibility you've now been thrust into the deep end without all the prep would've done had you chosen to be full caregiver. I suspect your anxiety maybe being heightened by lack of support from OH, he isn't listening to your concerns, helping to resolve any problems or even giving you a break by taking his share of dog walking & training. Presumably its also shown you a side to your OH you weren't expecting.

Puppy blues is very common as they are hard work. I usually adopt adult rescues which don't tend to need so much input as pups and pretty much every one while i adjust to the change comes with anxiety & some regrets then one day all seems much easier.

It sounds like you care for your pup but just feel totally overwhelmed so I think maybe give self bit of time to decide if you do wish to rehome or carry on & what you'd need to make that work. OH doesn't really get to decide if he's not willing to look after pups welfare.
I wouldn't try to rehome yourself there's some great breed rescues that provide long term back up for their dogs in case require new home in future & most tend to use foster homes rather than kennels or sometimes can keep yourself till adopted if more comfortable with that, being a young frenchie should be easily rehomed. Just be sure the anxiety/stress of situation isn't negatively effecting decision, as isn't something can backtrack on if turns out do miss having them around.

If do carry on would look for a home boarder, my dogwalker does offer home visit but maybe not at midday when has most demand. If has separation anxiety then are things can do to improve this www.facebook.com/subthresholdtraining/

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vanillandhoney Fri 26-Jun-20 07:13:13

Puppies are very difficult but I'm concerned about what you're saying about when you go back to work.

Are you really going to leave a young dog home alone all day without even a walk beforehand? Because that's really not acceptable from either of you. If that means you get up an hour earlier everyday then that's what you need to do.

You'll also need to pay for some sort of care during the day - maybe a home boarder or sitter would work out better than a walker? Have you looked into either of those as an option? Yes, they're expensive but dogs need care during the day and if you can't provide it yourself, you'll need to pay for someone else to do it.

However all that being said I agree with PP that you're not the problem here, your OH is. My dog is "mine" - I pay for him, take him to training and feed him but DH absolutely does his share of walking and picking up poo! No way would I tolerate doing 100% of the work involved!

You need to speak to him and if he won't step up and help you out then tell him you can't cope doing it all on your own so you'll need to look into rehoming. It may give him the kick up there backside required wink

Pikachubaby Fri 26-Jun-20 07:21:24

Your husband is letting you down here

He pushed for a dog

Yet it’s you who is 100% responsible

At least you know now not to have kids with this man!

Sostenueto Fri 26-Jun-20 07:23:49

Poor dogsad

Chaotic45 Fri 26-Jun-20 07:33:46

OP this sounds really tricky and I feel for you.

I just wanted to comment from the perspective of a dog walker (which is what I am). Could you give things another go- looking for a responsible experienced walker that offers one to one walks? There are so many of us about these days, I'd be very surprised if there wasn't one in your area.

It sounds like your dogs experience of a group walk wasn't great, but this may have been down to the group itself and not your dog. A responsible walker will be very mindful of the number of young dogs that they have in a group, and won't add a dog younger than six months to a group at all. Adding a young dog is hard work and takes a lot of skill to integrate.

An experienced walker may offer one to one walks, often outside the peak lunchtime hours. Although we aren't trainers, we do tend to know our stuff when it comes to dog care and I find a lot of my customers enjoy a chat about their dogs, and someone to bounce any worries off.

You feel this way because you care deeply for your dog, who is of course completely reliant on you. You are their whole world. That's an enormous privilege, but also a burden. I think in time you may find you feel less anxious- once the puppy and adolescent stage is over as you will find there are less changes to cope with and your dog becomes more settled and less fragile.

I can recommend a fantastic Facebook group 'dog training advice and support', have a dig around in the files section for lots of help ideas for any issues you have.

SallyWD Fri 26-Jun-20 07:37:08

I don't know much about dogs but I've always found it cruel when dogs owners work full time and leave the dog alone. I've lived next door to a dog (on more than one occasion) who was left alone and they cried all day. This is why I could never have a dog. They are very dependent and needy animals who need company. I'd feel terrible guilt if I left it alone for hours each day. I have a cat who can be left alone but even then I work part time and would feel bad leaving him if I worked full time. He does prefer to be with us and gets lonely. I think you need to find a solution to this. I don't believe there are no dog walkers near you. We have dozens of options where I live. There are also schemes where local families look after dogs while the owners work. It's a great idea as families with small children get to have the experience of being with a dog but not the full time responsibilities. Your DH definitely needs to do his share. It's very unfair that you have to do everything.

Darklava09 Fri 26-Jun-20 07:46:18

@vanillandhoney obviously I wouldn’t not walk him. I think if you re-read my post I’ve stated that my concern is I’ve stressed that he does need a walk before work and it shouldn’t be left to me to do it! Of course I’ll walk him but my point here being is why is myself that constantly worries about these things when very little consideration is given by anyone else in the home about these needs.
& again it was me who said dog can’t be left alone so ended up paying for a dog walker. Currently it’s difficult as many companies around here only offer group walks which isn’t suitable so I’m struggling to find someone who will just either walk him solo or come and loose him out.
He’s not alone all week either it’s 3 days a week as MIL is here twice a week.

@Pikachubaby we already have kids blush but he isn’t like this with them... luckily

&& poor dog... I don’t see how. He is loved, well fed, cared for, toys, stimulation games, walked and cuddled. My issue is he I care about the welfare of the dog so much and want what’s best. I wouldn’t be here asking and questioning if I didn’t want what’s best.
I saved the dog from a greedy breeder who would of kept him and bred him for his rare colouring!!! This is exactly why I hate asking on here because there is always people who comment such pointless and mean things. So much for “ be kind”

OP’s posts: |
WeAllHaveWings Fri 26-Jun-20 08:02:52

The thing is the our dog is so looked after. He’s got multiple beds, fed a really good kibble, lots of toys etc but I just feel so crap for him.

Yep, that's what a dog needs 🙄

You have bought a fashion accessory dog with a twee breed name and are treating it like a toy. Obviously it needs a good food, but multiple beds and lots of toys are nowhere near top of its list of needs. It is a dog, its basic needs are outdoor exercise regularly throughout the day and stimulation, a job to do/daily training, human company (not left alone all day) and expensive medical care at some point in its life (especially a health disaster breed like a French Bulldog).

You have fallen into the trap many before you have and many after you will, not thought it through or researched and bought a living animal on a whim that is entirely unsuitable to your practical or financial circumstances and once you go back to work will have a dreadful quality of life. I have no doubt you think you care for the animal on a superficial level, I say superficial because you are admitting you aren't able to fulfill its basic needs which is what it should be about.

You are as responsible as your dh for putting this animal in this position and you are now as responsible as your dh to sort it out, I am a dog lover/owner but would divorce my dh before I allowed him to bring an extreme brachycephalic breed like the French Bulldog home. You both need to urgently suss out how its basic needs are going to be met before you go back to work.

If you can't meet its basic needs, responsible rehoming through a charity is this young dogs best chance at a decent life.

Wolfiefan Fri 26-Jun-20 08:09:48

I was very anxious when I got my first pup. She had separation anxiety and allergies that meant she would chew and lick at her feet if left alone.
Honestly the cure was time. I don’t work. We spent time walking and cuddling and playing and training (soooooo much training) and relaxing together. Sorted her allergies. She’s happy and relaxed and so am I.
But then I wanted a dog and was fully committed to providing the best life I could for her.
If you can’t afford the dog in the long term and you don’t have the time for it then you have little choice but to rehome. But through a decent rescue. Breed specific one?
Or you make DH step up. Or pay for daycare.
But you need to change something.

vanillandhoney Fri 26-Jun-20 08:40:40

But even with a morning walk, you still shouldn't be leaving a young dog on its own all day - whether it's one day a week, three days a week or five days a week. It's not fair on the dog. They need company, stimulation and exercise. If a dog walker can't provide that for whatever reason then you're going to need to look into alternative methods of care for your dog - sitters, boarding, daycare or looking to see if anyone on BorrowMyDoggy or similar will help you out.

I imagine most walkers will do solo walks but many will charge a premium for them as it means they lose money by taking them on. If you walk groups you can easily earn £40-50 for an hours walk, whereas a solo will only net you 1/5 of that. I'm a walker and I do offer solo walks but many walkers in my area do not as it's just not profitable for them to do so.

One of you will just have to get up early in the morning to walk the dog and if it's not sustainable for you to do it and DH won't help, you'll need to rehome your dog for its sake because you won't be providing your dog with what it needs.

Darklava09 Fri 26-Jun-20 10:41:49

@vanillandhoney this is why I am concerned and I do worry about those things but OH isn’t as concerned about it as me. Obviously I do think about the dogs needs and feelings and worry about him more than my own kids.

We have 5-6 reputable dog walking services and they advertise solo but each time I’ve enquired they always say they can only
Have time for group walks. It’s a bit unfair of them really.

But I do agree it needs to work and be sustainable and if not I’ll look into rehoming because I of course want what’s best for
Him. And before anyone jumps
Onto me I’d only use either a breed specific rescue or a local rescue ran by someone I know. I wouldn’t dream of selling him or placing him on local sites.
I just only want what’s best for
Him which is why I worry about it all the time. sad

OP’s posts: |
vanillandhoney Fri 26-Jun-20 11:37:21

Like I said OP I really don't think you're the problem here. You sound like you're doing a great job - however you're only one person and can't be expected to do 100% of the care on top of working a full-time job and caring for children etc.

Your DH really needs to step up here - he wanted a dog but won't do any of the necessary care required. Dogs need a fairly hefty amount of input from their owners - walks, training, toileting, feeding, care when you're not around - it's not easy and I certainly wouldn't want to do it with zero support from my partner, so hats off to you for managing it for so long thanks

pigsDOfly Fri 26-Jun-20 16:33:33

I also worry about my dog so can understand what you mean OP.

She's 9 years old now and every time she's unwell - tummy problems from time to time - I do get very anxious.

Your problem though, is your husband.

When someone is persuaded to take on a dog against their better judgement it's up to the person doing the persuading to accept that they are going to have to take on the greater part of the care and responsibility, and I think you need to make it clear to your husband that that's what you expect him to do.

Unfortunately, your husband sounds like one of these people who likes the idea of having a dog but doesn't really understand what's involved. He actually sounds rather like his mother, in that she clearly felt that way too.

I would keep trying to find either a dog walker that will do individual walks or better still find a day care that will work with you over his allergies.

It will get better as dog gets older and settles down into a calm adult dog but meanwhile your husband needs to do his share. You can't have it all falling onto your shoulders.

Frankly, if your husband isn't willing to step up to his responsibilities with the dog and it's affecting your mental health it's really not at all unreasonable to look at rehoming the dog.

Dogs are a big responsibility and sometimes it can just feel too much. You need to have a very serious chat with you husband about how you feel and how he's going to have to do his part.

And ignore all the 'poor dog' type posts.

You sounds like someone who is trying to do her best but is feeling very overwhelmed.

Sometimes when I read some responses to some threads I wonder if the poster are actually reading the same thread as me.

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