Signs You’re Codependent With Your Dog

Signs You’re Codependent With Your Dog
Signs You’re Codependent With Your Dog
woman throwing birthday party for unamused dog codependent with dog
woman throwing birthday party for unamused dog codependent with dog

(Photo credit: svetikd / Getty Images)

Naturally, you love your furry friend, but what happens when the relationship with your canine companion is too much of a good thing? Sometimes, people become attached in unhealthy ways to their fur babies. While your pooch is integral to your life, they shouldn’t be your whole life. You might be codependent if you constantly put your dog’s needs before your own. We will share the telltale signs that you and your pup are too close for comfort.

You might be codependent with your dog if…

You refer to your dog as your “significant other”

Do you introduce your dog as your “significant other,” “boyfriend/girlfriend,” or “partner in crime”? While it’s OK to love your pet, it might be time to reassess your relationship if you view them as on par with a life partner.

You’ve canceled important plans to stay home with your dog

Skipping book club or an exercise class to hang out with your dog is one thing, but canceling big plans to hang out with them is concerning. Have you been a no-show at family get-togethers? RSVPed “no” to friends’ weddings or baby showers because they aren’t dog-friendly? Put your dating life on hold because you’re happy cuddling on the couch with Fido? These are all red flags that you’re too attached. Sometimes your dog should stay at home so you can have a playdate!

You’ve thrown your dog a birthday party

We all love celebrating our pets’ birthdays, but you might be going overboard if you’re throwing your pooch a full-blown party with invitations, decorations, favors, and a cake. Your dog would likely appreciate a quiet night in with you or an extra long walk in the woods more than a big party.

You’ve dressed in matching outfits with your dog

Matching outfits are rarely cute, and that applies to you and your dog. (Can you say fashion faux pas?) While a collar or bandana in the same hue as your clothes can be a fun way to coordinate your style, full-on identical outfits indicate you’ve become too enmeshed.

You’ve had a professional photoshoot for you and your dog

Getting professional photos taken with your pet is a fun way to capture memories, but if you’ve gone all out with matching outfits (see above), props, and multiple backdrops, it might be time to step back. Remember, your dog loves you no matter what you’re wearing, and they’re always photogenic, even in candid shots.

You’ve considered getting a tattoo of your dog’s face

If you’re thinking of inking your love for your dog onto your body for all eternity, it might be time to take a step back and reassess. Would you get your partner’s face tatted on your bicep? (Please say no.)

Your career has stalled because of the amount of time you dedicate to your dog

We don’t blame you for wanting to spend as much time as possible with your furry friend, but if your career has plateaued because you can only work certain jobs or schedules in order to cater to your pup, something’s awry. If your dog’s high exercise or extensive medical needs have you calling in sick to work on the regular, it’s time to delegate some of that care and focus on bringing home the bacon.

All your discretionary income goes to your dog

Do you constantly browse pet stores for new toys, apparel, and treats for your dog? While spoiling your pup is fun, it might be time to re-evaluate your priorities if you spend more money on your dog than on yourself.

You prioritize your dog’s comfort over your own

Do you find yourself sleeping on the edge of the bed so your dog can have the whole thing to themselves? Or are you constantly adjusting your home’s temperature to ensure your pup is comfortable? If your default is bending over backward to make your fur baby content, reprioritizing is in order.

How to handle a codependent relationship with your dog

You should absolutely love your dog and provide the best life you can for them. But chances are, they don’t need you to do as much as you think you do. Your job is to care for them, not smother them. Remember to take care of yourself, too, and maintain a healthy balance in every relationship, including the one with your canine companion. If you’re concerned you might be codependent with your dog, talk to a mental health professional. If you’re concerned your dog has separation anxiety, work with a behaviorist. Wondering if, after all that investment, your pup even loves you back? Read up on the ways dogs show their love.

ChatGPT assisted in the creation of this article.

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