Dogs are one of the most popular pets to have; this is because the bond formed between a dog and its owner is incredibly special. Dogs are great companions, and the number of different breeds means that you are sure to find a breed that will fit your lifestyle needs. When you get a pet, there are some things that you should be aware of first, and a dog is no different. So, before you decide to add a new four-legged member to the family, keep reading.
Dogs Are a Huge Commitment
Getting a dog is not a decision to be made lightly. When you get a dog, you are entering into an agreement with that animal; you are promising to take care of it for the rest of its life. You shouldn’t have a dog if you are not prepared for this. While the specifics will vary depending on the breed, you can expect your dog to live upwards of ten years. If you aren’t settled enough in life to ensure that you will be able to provide a home for the dog and care for it for the duration of its life, then you should wait until you are.
Dogs & Kids
Some people get a dog as the first step toward starting a family with their partner. However, the dog acts as a placeholder and is then surplus when a baby arrives. Unfortunately, a lot of people end up giving up their dogs when they have children. If this is likely to happen to you, then you shouldn’t get a dog. However, if you already have or do plan to have children during the life of your dog, then you can find breeds that are more child-friendly because they tend to have better temperaments. It is also important that you teach your children how to behave around dogs.
Researching the Breed
Before you commit to any one breed, you need to do your research. There are trends when it comes to dog breeds, but they should be ignored because you need to pick a breed that suits your needs. Think about your lifestyle; how much time do you have to commit to a dog? Do you have any children or plan to because some dogs are more likely to be aggressive than others, and children are often on the receiving end of this aggression. How much room do you have? During your research, you can also look into the common traits exhibited by the breed and their life expectancy too. For example, Native Pet has a resource on the Australian Shepherd’s life expectancy and the health issues they are likely to experience.
Dogs Are Time Consuming
Dogs, regardless of whether you purchase a puppy or rescue an older dog, represent a significant time commitment. Bringing a dog into your home means that you are agreeing to take responsibility for this living creature. It can take some time for them to settle in and get used to their surroundings. Sometimes, you will need to spend time to toilet train them or train them to do tricks or behave how you want them to. It also means that you simply cannot enjoy the same level of spontaneity as you have before. You can’t go away for a weekend or for drinks after work without making sure that there will be someone there to look after the dog for you.
Owning a Dog is Expensive
Dogs are living beings, and as such, they, like humans, require things, and these things cost money. The first purchase is obviously the dog itself, which depending on whether you adopt the dog or buy from a breeder, can cost anywhere from twenty dollars to a few thousand. After that, you have to purchase food and treats for the dog regularly, which is another monthly cost to consider. They also need a bed and toys, which you shouldn’t have to buy too often, although if you go for the cheaper ones or your dog ends up being particularly destructive might need replacing regularly. Even the healthiest dogs will need the occasional visit to the vet, which costs money; although insurance can help you to save money on your vet’s bills but does in itself constitute an extra cost.
You Will Need to Pet-Proof
Finally, when you get a dog, you will also need to pet-proof your home. Admittedly this is more for puppies, although some dogs do demonstrate destructive or disruptive behaviors long into adulthood. Some plants and foods are toxic to dogs, and so they will need to be removed from your dog’s reach. Other than that, covering expensive furniture or removing other hazards also makes sense. Think of it like babyproofing for dogs.
Getting a dog is a huge commitment, and it isn’t something that you should do on a whim. Make sure that you have thought through all aspects of dog ownership. Do your research to make sure that you have chosen the right breed for your lifestyle and the space that you have in your home. Owning a dog can be amazing; they have been shown to be hugely beneficial to your mental and physical health.