Monday, January 17, 2011

Things to consider BEFORE you get a dog

I cannot imagine my life without a dog in it. They are wonderful companions and teach us a lot about life. Too often though, people get a dog on a whim not really considering how much work they really are.

So for all you dog owners out there who know someone who is thinking about getting a dog, please share this information with them.  Thank you.

Do you have enough time for a dog?

How much time do you realistically have for a dog? When you own a dog you will need to make time for the following:
  • Walks (every day, time and frequency will depend on your dog)
  • Training (your dog should know his/her basic commands)
  • Mental Stimulation (new places to go, dogs to meet, surroundings and smells)
  • Love/affection
  • Feeding
  • Cleaning up after
  • Trips to the vet (planned and possible emergency)
  • Trips to the groomer (frequency will depend on breed)
  • Trips to the kennel (if/when you travel and cannot bring him)
  • Trips to the dog park (socializing is extremely important)

Do you have enough money to have a dog?

Having a dog can be very expensive. Here is a list of the most common costs that
are associated with having a dog:
  • Food, Treats, Bowls,
  • Leash, Collar
  • Bones, Chews
  • Grooming equipment (brush, comb, nail clippers, shampoo, wipes)
  • Poop bags
  • Dog bed
  • Toys
  • Vet appointments (possible emergency visits to the vet)
  • Dog crate (if required)
  • Boarding (if required)
  • Groomer (frequency will depend on the breed)

Will a dog enhance your lifestyle?

Do you have an suitable lifestyle for a dog? Dogs are pack animals and love to be with their humans. Of course we cannot be with them all of the time, but you should consider the following:

  • Do you travel a lot for work?
  • Do you like to go to the gym or shopping right after work?
  • Do you like meeting friends for drinks after work?
  • Are most of your vacations abroad?
  • Are you a workaholic?
  • Do you spend many of your evenings out of the house?
  • Are you single and dating often?
  • Are you obsessed with cleanliness?
  • Do you or are you planning on having kids?
  • Will a dog enhance or hinder your lifestyle?

Do you have enough space for a dog?

You have to take where you live into consideration when deciding to get a dog. Dogs require space to live, walk and play.
  • Do you have room for a dog and all the things that the dog will have?
  • Do you have a back yard?
  • If no back yard, are you willing to walk your dog to green space every day? Several times a day?
  • Are you close to a park or green space where your dog can play?
  • Will barking be an issue where you live? (i.e. do you live in an apartment?)

How should you choose the right dog?

Once you have decided that you are ready for a dog, there are many things to consider when choosing one:
  • Breed (mixed or purebred)
  • Energy (you should have ideally have more energy than your dog)
  • Age (do want a puppy or an older dog)
  • Sex (do you have a preference?)
  • Size (you need to know how big they will be full grown)
  • Grooming needs (this varies a lot depending on breed)
  • Temperament (do you or will you have children)
  • Special needs (special health issues or grooming needs)
  • Where do you go to find the right dog? (you must do your research)
The bottom line is to have to be honest with yourself. Sharing your life with a dog is a precious and wonderful experience but you owe it to them to make sure you are ready for the responsibility that comes along with it.

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