Dog and 12 hour night shift


Hi nursing peeps,

So I've landed my dream nursing job, and am moving into my own apartment this weekend. Only problem is I'm really attached to my chihuahua, however he can't come with cuz he's our family dog. Therefore, I want to adopt a chihuahua of my own. However, I work 12 hour night shifts. Just curious if anyone has any pointers/recommendations of what I should do as I really want a dog cuz they literally are your best friend ;)

Specializes in Adult Cardiac ICU. Has 6 years experience.

Hi Jess,

I'm sort of in a similar position. I rescued my dog when he was a month old and we've become very attached in the last two years. He's technically mine, but my entire family loves him so we usually share the responsibilities of caring for him. When I moved out for school, I purchased a second set of his things, paid the pet deposit to my landlord, and brought my dog with me. I'll be on campus for eight hours at the most, but I find myself coming home in between short breaks and skipping some classes to take care of him. It is definitely more stressful than it seems. I feel guilty hanging out with friends or studying at the library when he's home by himself. To save my grades, he stays with my parents during exam weeks now.

I would say to only adopt a dog if you have a reliable partner or close friend who will be living with you who can help out. I work 12 hour night shifts now, and when I get home, I usually sleep for the majority of the day. Meaning your dog would be missing you during work, and after. I know it's hard to miss your dog but definitely weigh out the responsibility first. You'll be going through a lot of changes and probably will be overwhelmed even without a puppy to house break! Since your current dog is in good hands with your family, I would take advantage of the situation and fully experience independent living. Have fun! You can always make regular visits.

And if things settle down and you truly feel there is enough space in your life for a new dog, then I say go for it.

Congrats on your new job!!

Has 6 years experience.

Dogs are great ...but you're young (presumably), starting a new job with 12 hour shifts and living in an apartment. This may not be the best time in your life to get a new pet as they are a huge lifelong commitment. Who will walk the dog while you're at work? Dogs are social animals- who will keep the dog company while you're gone for long stretches of time? What will you do when you have to move and your new apartment doesn't accept pets or charges extravagant fees for them? Will your significant other be allergic to dogs? "Hate" dogs? What will you do, then? Dogs may also bark a lot- especially when left alone for long periods of time. What will you do when your apartment manager tells you that your dog is a problem and it has to go?

Make sure you think these things through, thoroughly. :saint:


38,333 Posts

Have had a chihuahua since she was a puppy. Placed a litter box with dog litter and she trained to that. When the pet stores stopped carrying the "dog" litter, changed to "Yesterday's News", which is a pellet type litter made from recycled newsprint, and everything is fine.

Ruby Vee, BSN

67 Articles; 14,022 Posts

Specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching. Has 40 years experience.

I've always had dogs, too. They can hold their bladders for LONG periods of time -- once they're big enough/old enough to do so. I just made sure to walk them before I left and immediately upon my return. I didn't go out after work often, but the times that I did, they managed to wait for me to come home and walk them. They were a tremendous amount of company and I don't know what I would have done without them.

Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN

4 Articles; 20,908 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma. Has 43 years experience.

I have always had dogs too. If I was working longer than 12 hours my Mom would come and let her out. I got a doggie door to my house so she could let herself in and out to the fenced in yard and good neighbors to keep an eye on things.

If you get a puppy know that they can't hold ther little bladders that long. I have heard little dogs can be paper or litter trained. I love my dogs and they have always slept with me after an hour or so of play when I got home.

I think it is doable


66 Posts

I speak as a fellow chihuahua owner. Unless you have someone who can spend at least a little time with the dog and take the dog out, or perhaps you can get 2 dogs, twelve hours plus transit time total a really long stretch, and you risk having a neurotic, unhappy, barky dog. Trust me on this: I have two chihuahuas, and while I love the breed, they need a lot of consistency and socialization (beyond puppyhood) to grow up to be nice little members of society. :-) My younger one was a mess when I got her from the shelter, precisely because she had been left alone for so long while her owner worked.

For dog owners who work outside the home, it's Really helpful to have two dogs, as they keep each other company, especially if you're single and have one dog that goes for long stretches without companionship (aside from possibly one contact with a dog walker or no dog walker). I know this does not seem realistic for many, but dogs are social creatures who suffer from isolation, which can then result in behavior problems that will leave you feeling very frustrated. They also need a place to relieve themselves when you're away (strong bladder or not, 12+ hours is way too long); however, the litterbox/pad idea mentioned above can work well with little dogs.

I don't mean to discourage you, but please try to have a support system in place so you can appropriately care for the dog vs. just leaving it on its own during your long shifts. Whatever you do, do not crate your dog for the 12 hours. If you need to confine, use a space in your house or an open, soft-sided pen (really easy to fold up and store!) where the dog has space to run around. You can make it work with some planning. Good luck. :-)


546 Posts

Has 21 years experience.

Everybody has great recommendations so I won't add anything except bring that little pup home w/ you, pronto!

There is nothing better than coming home to a loving pet. No matter how stressful my day has been, my three dogs are a sight for sore eyes (and back, feet, legs). We laugh, snuggle & go for walks. They are the best medicine for whatever nursing situation ails me!


22 Posts

Just deciding to chime in here 2 years later lol. You're probably in a house by now with a hubby and some babies. :) But if not, I would recommend getting an older or senior dog. No, they're not cute, adorable puppies, but they also won't shred your apartment to bits, don't need to be in a crate, and they can hold it for an extraordinary amount of time. Working 12's is great but that wouldn't be fair to a puppy. Plus, a lot of people only want puppies so you'd be saving a dog's life if you rescued a senior! Hope all is well:yes: