Is A Dog A Good Alternative To A Home Security System?


Lots of families across America think about getting a dog instead of a home security system. Many of them consider a “watchdog” less expensive, just as effective and lots more fun than a home security system.

Is a dog really a good alternative to a home security system? Let’s examine the pros and cons to find out.

What’s more effective at stopping crime, dogs or home security systems?

Most law enforcement experts believe home security systems to be vastly superior to watchdogs.

“I would say your well-installed alarm probably is better than a dog,” says Sgt. John Delaney, a spokesperson for the police department in Springfield, Mass., as quoted in an article published by “There are people out there who break into the house and they steal the dog, too. A lot of dogs, if they are not Dobermans or German Shepherds that go after strangers, more than likely will cower in a corner. The alarm company will never cower away.”

Insurance companies also recognize the effectiveness of home security systems. That’s why most of them offer generous discounts for a monitored home security system. They don’t offer discounts for watchdogs; in fact, many increase home insurance premiums because they fear the dog may bite visitors to the home.

Best home security systems offer you more protection than a dog will. Security systems can alert authorities that help is needed. They can detect threats from smoke and carbon monoxide. Surveillance cameras can be used inside and outside the home, and you can even view what’s happening at your house via your smartphone. Dogs offer you none of those protection options.

Most security experts also agree that it’s harder to defeat a security system than it is to defeat a dog.

What costs more, dogs or home security systems?

According to figures supplied by the American Kennel Club, it is significantly more expensive to own a dog than it is a home security system.

One-time costs for a dog average $2100 and annual care costs for a dog average $2500 (more than $208 a month). Contrast that with costs for home security systems, with one-time costs for installation ranging from $200-$2000, and home alarm system monitoring costs below $50 per month.

Care costs for a dog are double to triple the costs of a home security system.

Are dogs easier to care for than a home security system?

Dog expert Cesar Millan on his blog identifies the top 10 reasons dogs end up in shelters. Most of them are attributed to the amount of care needed by the dog.

Dogs need time with their owners. They need training, grooming, daily feedings and exercise. Dogs come with owner responsibilities and costs that simply aren’t required by home security systems.

Home security systems, when designed and installed properly, are relatively easy to maintain. You have to turn them on to be effective. Daily test signals can be automatically sent to ensure that your alarm system signals are being received at the alarm monitoring center. It’s recommended that you walk test your system once every three months to check for proper operation. You should also have your alarm company conduct an annual preventive maintenance inspection.

There’s little doubt that home security systems require less care than watchdogs.

Dogs make great companions and pets. When it comes to home security however, leave the security work to a home alarm system.