I'm Sorry, But Plants Are Way Better Than Dogs—and I Love Both

High-maintenance dogs are not my vibe—for now

small dog posing next to plant

Getty Images / Anna Ostanina 

I’m going to say something that is potentially controversial, and before you come at me, hear me out.

I’m so glad that during lockdown I got a million plants instead of a dog. It seems that at this time in my life, plants are just better. I’m sure that at least one person reading this is about to close out this article, but please, read on. I promise it makes sense. 

taylor fuller's mantle with plants and decor

Taylor Fuller

I love dogs, and at some point in my life, I will be a dog parent. But right now, a dog just doesn’t make sense for me. My lifestyle doesn't allow for it. So, instead, I opt for houseplants, which are still a ton of work. 

One of my favorite plant people, Hilton Carter, author of Wild at Home and Wild Interiors, shared in a BBC story what I think is the best explanation for precisely this argument:

“In a sense, having plants is like having pets—they bring you joy, but they also need love and attention.

“Plants are not a prop... they need light and food. You have to be ready to commit to something that’s living. It’s like if you visit an animal shelter, you don’t bring home every puppy or kitten, you bring one dog not 10 dogs.”

So if I haven't lost you yet, here are five reasons why plants are better than dogs.

You Don’t Have to Care for Plants 24/7

Plants need a lot of care but not around the clock, whereas dog parents have to make plans around their pups, even for something as normal as having dinner away from home. A couple of my friends who have dogs have to be cognizant of time at dinner and often leave early to walk the dog.

Even though I have an entire jungle growing in my flat, I never have to leave a dinner early to go water anything. I water plants when they need it, not everyday. It usually only takes me about 30 minutes to tend to my plants each day whereas if I had a dog it would take longer. 

You Don't Have to Walk Plants

I know this sounds silly to say, but my plants don’t need to be walked. In fact, once you’ve found a spot for them in your home that they love, it’s best to not move them at all. If you had a dog you’d have to go on a couple of walks a day and that is time consuming. 

You Spend Less Money on Plants

Yes, depending on the type of plants you have, collecting and caring for them can be expensive, but the ongoing cost isn’t quite the same of getting a dog.

With plants you’ll have to buy pots, soil, and fertilizer for them throughout the years. This probably costs me around $1,000 total for the entire year for all of my plants, decorative pots, my humidifier, the soil, and the fertilizer I’ve purchased for all of my plants. If you had a dog you’d have to buy food, treats, toys, pet insurance, fees for adopting or purchasing the dog, and much more. It can get expensive quickly. 

You Can Find a Plant Sitter Easier

Taking care of plants can be complicated to someone who isn’t a plant parent themselves, but in my opinion it’s easier, and again, less expensive to have someone care for your plants if you go away on a trip. For people with lots of plants you can group your plants that need to be watered on certain days so whoever is watering your plants can easily follow a schedule. And whoever is watching your plants can just pop into your house for an hour or less to take care of them. If you had a dog, you’d have to either find someone who could watch your dog the entire time you’re away or pay for it to be boarded. Either way, it’s a huge commitment.

You Have Fewer Challenges When Renting a Home

I’m very lucky because I’m, according to my lease, I'm allowed pets in my London flat, but I'd have to get my landlord's permission first. When you have plants, you don’t have to ask permission for them. They’re commonly used for decor purposes and they do add a little something extra to a space. You could fill your whole home with plants and your landlord couldn’t say anything but if you brought home a dog and it wasn’t allowed you could get hit with a bunch of fines and be told to get rid of it (which is just too sad to think about). 

So, I’m sticking with plants for now, but some day down the line, when the time is right, I will definitely end up with a cute little pup.