Are You Ready For a Dog?
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 animals – the first to be domesticated hundreds of years ago. Often people will head to the local shelter or scour the ‘For Sale’ pages on a whim and with little thought put 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 like to go on many vacations, how will a dog fit into this? If you spend your weeks working and weekends partaking in leisure activities, have you thought how this would affect your dog? 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? In addition to the everyday expenses such as food, toys, boosters, worm and flea treatment owning a dog is not cheap. If 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.
As well as 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 a wide number of dangers from poisonous plants to cleaning products, sharp edges to broken fencing and pesticides to electric wiring. 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 to puppy proof – again another costly expenditure. Ensure that your garden is escape-proof, your hazardous plants removed, all wiring encased and not on show and that you have a safe environment to bring a dog into.
When you bring a dog home you need to be prepared for destruction; your favourite shoes will more than 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 but it’s one which 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 very 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. 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!