A dog is a fantastic pet to have. It’s the most popular pet in the world and also the one which has been in our homes for much longer than any other animal – the first to be domesticated hundreds of years ago. O ten people will head to the local shelter or scour the ‘For Sale pages on a whim, with little thought behind the decision.
A dog is a commitment.
Depending on the breed, a dog could be with you for up to 20 years and be your responsibility for the entirety of this time. If you’re a person, couple or family who likes to go on many vacations, how will a dog fit into this lifestyle?
If you spend your weeks working and weekends partaking in leisure activities, have you thought about how this would affect your dog? Who would look after the dog? Could you take them with you?
If times are tough and a budget is strict, what would happen if your dog became ill or injured and required medical treatment – which could cost thousands of pounds: Could you afford this? You can get insurance for dogs which I would recommend, but this does not always cover all the costs for long-term illnesses or things like dental work or may have a cap on certain illnesses.
In addition to the everyday expenses such as food, toys, boosters, and worm and flea treatment, owning a dog is not cheap. I your breed is one with a longer coat, you can add grooming costs on top of this, which can cost up to £40 a time.
Ask yourself, consider if your home is ready for a dog. Having a puppy is very similar to having a baby or small child in many ways.
The home is the setting for many dangers, from poisonous plants to cleaning products, sharp edges, broken fencing and pesticides, and electric wiring.
It is important to try and see everything through a dog’s eyes. After all, a puppy is inquisitive; if there is something accessible that is dangerous, you can be sure your pup will find this.
Before you bring any dog home, you need puppy proof- another costly expenditure. If your garden is escape-proof, your hazardous plants are removed or put into pots so they can be moved up high and out of the dog’s reach. Electrical wiring needs to be encased and not on show.
You must have a safe environment to bring a dog into to reduce injuries.
Prepare for destruction
When you bring a dog home, you must be prepared for destruction; your favourite shoes will likely be chewed, you may have to hear barking and howling at night, and clear up urine and mess on your floors.
Puppies are adept at chewing the furniture and running around your feet excitedly as you try to rectify the damages. This stage is a short and temporary one. Still, it results in many dogs being returned to shelters or rehomed simply because owners were expecting a pup from the Andrex adverts and ended up with their own Marley & Me – a much more likely eventuality!
Make sure that you have the time, money, resources and patience permitted for owning a dog; that you research your breed, look into pet insurances and local veterinary practices and understand the level of responsibility and commitment involved in being a dog owner. Why not talk to other dog owners of the bread you are planning on getting for any advice
Only then will you understand the reality of having a dog, and then you’ll be able to enjoy all the benefits of having a close bond with your furry new friend!
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