Caitlin UltimoPet Lovers / Pet Parenting

Confessions of a Helicopter Dog Parent

My Chiweenies (Chihuahua-Dachshunds), Dodger and Daisy, are my world. And while they may be two of the most pampered pets on the planet, I find as much enjoyment spoiling them as they do.

But, my attention doesn’t just stop at showering them with squeak toys and perpetual cuddles—I have been known to maybe go a tad overboard. Some may call it overbearing, and I’ve come to terms with that label.

“I have worked with people who have forgotten to allow their dogs to be dogs,” says Annie Angell, CPDT-KA and co-owner of My Two Dogs Inc. “Yes they misbehave and get into trouble but they are not perfect–neither are we. We sometimes can make our dogs’ problems worse by micro-managing their behavior and giving them unrealistic expectations.”

And while I may be guilty of being a helicopter pet parent, I’m able to justify every confession on this list–and I’m sure I’m not alone. Here are 14 telltale signs you’re an overbearing (and overly-fantastic) pet parent too.

1. You and Your Vet Are BFFs

1. You and Your Vet Are BFFs

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You have your vet’s number on speed dial and his personal email – and you will send messages to that email at any hour of the day or night if necessary.

2. You Hover

2. You Hover

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On outings to the local dog run, you stay an arm’s length distance from him at all times… just in case.

3. You BYOB

3. You BYOB

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You also bring a water bottle and dish of his own. Those communal bowls are cesspools.

4. You Weather the Weather Together

4. You Weather the Weather Together

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When it rains, you walk with the umbrella over him.

5. You and Your Dog Have ESP

5. You and Your Dog Have ESP

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You both have your own secret way of communicating. You know what his looks, sniffs and barks mean – and if you can deliver what he wants, you do.

6. You Feed Him the Very Best Food

6. You Feed Him the Very Best Food

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His dog food is not only top shelf, but you fortify it with fish oil and vitamin supplements. On the flip side, you consider a 99-cent cup of coffee all the fortifying you need.

7. You Refuse to Board Your Dog

7. You Refuse to Board Your Dog

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Boarding your dog when you go on a trip isn’t even an option. If he can’t come along, Grandma or someone you’d trust with your own life gets the responsibility of sitting. Your little fur baby needs personalized attention at all times.

8. You Leave Lists. Lots of Lists

8. You Leave Lists. Lots of Lists

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If you do decide to go away, your trusted caretaker receives a detailed list of instructions and preferences along with a tote filled with your pup’s favorite food, bed, blankets and play things.

9. You Don’t Go Anywhere Without Your Dog

9. You Don't Go Anywhere Without Your Dog

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If your dog isn’t invited to a BBQ or outdoor party than you see no reason in attending. Hey, your dog is better behaved (and can be better dressed) than most people!

10. You Tuck Him In At Night

10. You Tuck Him In At Night

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His nighttime regimen consists of brushing his teeth, mouth spray and a mango scented cooling wipe down—complete with tuck-in service and a kiss goodnight.

11. Your Dog Hogs the Bed

11. Your Dog Hogs the Bed

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He sleeps in your bed…and at times in your spot. Hearing his little snores reassures you that he’s sleeping soundly, so no matter how twisted your body gets, if he’s comfortable, you’re comfortable.

12. You Always Skip Happy Hour

12. You Always Skip Happy Hour

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Your typical response for missing a happy hour with your coworkers is, “I can’t, I have to get home to my dog.” … and no, you’re not sorry.

13. You Skype With Your Pup

13. You Skype With Your Pup

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You think the web cam is the greatest invention known to man. Thanks to it, you can now keep an eye on him whenever you’re out… which also kind of makes it the worst invention too.

14. You Love Him Unconditionally

Love dog

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He’s more than your best friend–and if you can make him happy, it makes your day.

Feature image: Marcel Jancovic via Shutterstock


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Caitlin Ultimo is a writer & editor. Her work specializes in pet, family & beauty writing.

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