Do you remember the saying… a dog is for life and not just for Christmas?
It’s true; you should never buy a dog without some careful thinking beforehand. It’s better to prepare yourself, as while a dog will bring love and happiness into your life, there are still a few things you need to know before opening your doors to this furry bundle of joy.
Here are some of the things we think you need to know.
#1: A dog will eat into your expenses, sometimes quite literally. You need to feed your dog with healthy and nutritious food, forsaking cheap or human alternatives which don’t contain the necessary nutrition your dog needs. You need to dog-proof your home, as your new companion is liable to leave expensive disasters trailing in his wake. And there are all the other things you need to buy – pet bowls, toys, walking aids – as well as vet bills which are often a necessity. Owning a dog won’t necessarily blow your finances, but you will need to budget your money to ensure your dog has everything needed for its care and welfare.
#2: A dog will take up a lot of your time. Exercise is paramount, so you do need to be prepared to take your dog on regular walks throughout the day. Certain breeds require more exercise than others, so factor that into your decision-making. Dogs need lots of companionships too, so don’t leave your dog alone for long, as they will become distressed and depressed. If you do have to work in the day, look for somebody to pet sit for you. Otherwise, reconsider getting a dog if you know you don’t have the time commitment necessary.
#3: A dog has health needs. Unlike humans, dogs don’t have the capacity to care for themselves properly, so you do need to be alert. We have already mentioned feeding and exercising, but it’s also important to monitor your dog’s overall health. Bearing in mind the crazy things they put in their mouths, and bearing in mind their overall lack of hygiene, infection and sickness are common. Bad dog breath, excessive drooling, and changes in behavior are all symptoms that your dog may be unwell, and a visit to the vet may be needed. You can reduce certain health risks by immunizing your dog, cleaning their teeth regularly, and removing health hazards, but again, there will be pressure on both your money and time.
#4: A dog needs behavior training. Don’t expect your dog to do as he is told. With a mind of his own, it may be a while before your dog is properly under your control. You need to structure in dog behavior training into each day, as life in your home will get very chaotic if you don’t. From excessive barking to furniture chewing, it’s important you put into practice a range of techniques to assume dominance over your lovely but nuisance companion.
#5: A dog will change your life. There are the benefits, of course. You will always have a welcoming companion to come home to. Your health will flourish through dog walking. And you will always have somebody to play with. Your life will be changed for the better. However, you won’t have the same freedom you used to. You will have to stop being house proud. And you will need to multitask – nursemaid, feeder, cleaner, entertainer – so forget putting your feet up on a regular basis. Still, the highs of dog ownership do outweigh the lows, but you need to be prepared for both.
So, with those things in mind, are you still prepared to welcome a dog into your home? If so, remember our tidbits of advice, and you and pooch will get along just fine!