bernese mountain dog

Things to Consider Before Getting a Big Dog

Big dogs are great.

Those of us who’ve had them know how much fun it can be playing out in the yard with 100+ pounds of energy and power. They can be just as affectionate as small lap dogs and just as cute—sometimes they don’t even realize how big they are. There’s a lot of them to love. But there are things to consider before getting a big dog. Here are a few:


Well, they’re big—meaning they’ll take up more space than a 5-pound Chihuahua. Even if they’re mellow types like great danes, they’ll still need a lot of space because of they’re massive size. That means you’ll need larger crates, larger cars for transport, larger beds, etc.


A big dog will also mean a strong dog. In other words, training will be especially important—because no one wants to be dragged down the street or knocked over by a jumping dog’s enthusiastic greeting. If you are on the petite side and you get a big dog, consider the fact that you’ll most likely be walking a dog that weighs at least as much as you if not more. Even small dogs can drag owners down the street when they feel like pulling.


Don’t be surprised if you’re sitting at the dinner table and turn to see a very large dog’s head gazing longingly at your food from beside the table’s edge. Yes, large dogs can reach a lot more things than smaller dogs, so expect to find the occasional dog slobber in unexpected places. You also want to make sure cabinets are secure to keep your dog from getting into things he’s not supposed to.
bouvier des flandres Bouvier Des Flandres | ©istockphoto/angipants


If you get your dog as a puppy, enjoy carrying him as much as you can because it won’t last long. While you still may be able to cuddle your dog’s head on your lap, lifting will be out of the question. Along those lines, if you go out on long walks, remember that if there’s some kind of emergency, you likely won’t be able to carry your dog back to your car. And because of your dog’s larger size, his joints will also be something you’ll have to pay close attention to—perhaps via supplements—in order to help prevent joint problems later in life.


Another thing to keep in mind is that big dogs may be harder to take places. Many airlines allow in-cabin travel for small dogs and cats, but not larger dogs—which means they’ll have to fly in the cargo hold, or just stay home (which is probably the better option). Some pet-friendly hotels will allow small pets but not larger ones. More locally, taking your 10-pound dog to a friend’s house for a birthday party or to a pet-friendly restaurant’s patio is usually easier than bringing your 110-pound pal along.


Feeding your large dog will cost more—especially if you want to feed quality food, which is a very good idea. Plus, consider the cost of the larger bed (preferably high quality to help protect those joints), the larger crate, etc. And then your dog will need larger, more durable toys for those strong jaws—which will inevitably cost more. Owning a large dog has many rewards, but make sure to consider all the various factors of having a big dog before bringing one home.
neopolitan mastiff Neopolitan Mastiff | ©istockphoto/Okikukai

Jessica Peralta

Jessica Peralta has been a journalist for more than 15 years and an animal lover all her life. She has had dogs, cats, birds, turtles, fish, frogs, and rabbits. Her current children are a German shepherd named Guinness and a black kitten named Riot (and he lives up to that name). It’s because of her love for animals that she focused her journalistic career to the world of holistic animal care and pet nutrition. In between keeping Riot and Guinness out of mischief, she’s constantly learning about all the ways she can make them healthier and happier.
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