Getting a pet dog is never the sort of thing to do on a whim. If you are considering sharing your home with a furry, four footed friend of the canine persuasion, then there are some things you need to know first.
Dogs can be wonderful companions, really enriching your life and spreading love and waggy-tailed happiness all around. In all the excitement and eagerness of getting a dog, there may be elements of pet ownership you have overlooked. Just to make sure you are not barking up the wrong tree, here are some details to digest before committing to the dog life.
Research the Breed
Have you always dreamed of a dog accompanying you on long walks, or did you want a lap dog to watch TV with? You need to select a breed of dog that fits in with your lifestyle. If you are physically active, choose breeds that enjoy running in the outdoors (Labradors and Weimaraners are a good place to start).
If there are young children in the house, there are some breeds that aren’t as tolerant of having their ears tugged, for example. Some terrier breeds can be snappy and are better suited to families with older children. For younger children choose placid, good natured breeds such as spaniels.
Is your house or apartment big or small? Is there a garden for the dog to run around? A Great Dane in a cramped flat is impractical, try a smaller breed instead. Many owners like to get puppies, but make sure you know how big it is going to be when fully grown. Big dogs eat more which means they cost more to feed.
What is the climate like where you live? If it is snowy, a Husky type breed will be happy. However, if you live in a hot climate, choose a short haired dog that can cope with extreme temperatures.
Like humans, dogs all have different personalities. Some breeds are bouncy and full of energy and fun. Others are nervous, calm and quiet – think about which personality type would best suit your home environment, and take your decision making from there.
Consider the Commitment
A dog is a serious commitment requiring your time as well as love. If you work full time, your dog may become lonely. Who is going to take it for walks when you are so busy? If you are set on the idea of dog ownership, think about using a dog care service that can support you when necessary. For regular or occasional walks whilst you are busy, or for care whilst you are on holiday, Dogs Downtown is a comprehensive service in London that covers every canine comfort. For pooches unused to contact with other dogs, services such as Dogs Downtown can be beneficial as they get them familiarised with others and become more socialised.
Vets aren’t Cheap
The costs of dog ownership should not be under-estimated. There will be the regular vaccinations that all dogs need and other medications such as flea and tick treatments to pay out for. If the worst should happen and your beloved pooch falls ill or has an accident, taking it to the vet could be an expensive experience. Specialist pet insurance should be taken out to help in the event of illness or accidents.
Again, research the breed you choose well because some dogs are more susceptible to certain medical conditions than others. Some pedigree breeds are more likely to have breathing issues, others are susceptible to hip problems and arthritis. Not that this should influence any decisions on which breed you ultimately choose, simply that forewarned is forearmed.
They aren’t Perfect
Some dogs chew carpets or furniture, others bark a lot, they cover the place in dog hair, some pee on the carpet and others raid your fridge. Having a dog around the house might not always be the perfection you imagine. Some dogs can be aggressive, possessive and downright difficult – make sure you are prepared for challenging behaviour because there are no guarantees any dog will be sweetness and light 100 per cent of the time. Training a dog can be a rewarding experience and the younger the process begins, the quicker you’ll see results. It’s for this reason many people want puppies (apart from the fact they are awesomely cute, as well!) Just know this, puppies are baby dogs, and as babies they are needy and require A LOT of hard work, time and commitment. If you feel you are up to the job, then embrace puppy training with both hands – it’s a blast.
Dogs aren’t called ‘man’s best friend’ without good reason. If you can honestly weigh up the pros and cons and still come out the other end desperately wanting a dog, issues and all, then you’ll probably give some lucky pup a wonderful furever home.