The age-old saying goes – “a dog is for life, not just for Christmas” – and it couldn’t be truer. Owning a dog is a long-term commitment that requires a huge amount of time, care and attention, so it’s not a decision to take lightly.
If you’re unsure whether to get a furry friend, you’re in the right place. Here, we explore what to consider before welcoming a pooch into your family.
First things first, you need to be realistic about how much time you have to look after a dog. They require a significant amount of exercise every day and need time to socialise for their own health and wellbeing.
If you work long hours or won’t be home for significant parts of the day, you need to consider how you’ll provide the exercise and stimulation the dog needs. Will you get a dog walker? Or send them to doggy daycare? Is this a feasible option for you and the dog?
Another thing to consider is how you like to spend time. If you enjoy heading out into the great outdoors (come rain or shine!) then a dog may suit your lifestyle. But if you have lots of hobbies or commitments that would make it hard to look after the dog, it may not be the right time for you.
You should also make sure that everyone in the household really wants to get a dog. If someone is concerned about finding time to look after it or is nervous about dogs, a different animal may suit you better.
You need to make sure you can afford the ongoing costs of dog ownership before you take the plunge and bring one home. There are lots of costs you need to consider according to Battersea, including pet insurance, food, toys, leads and collars, crates, bedding, and vet treatments.
Depending on the age and history of the dog, you may also need to cover the cost of training and obedience classes. Think about your income and whether you could comfortably cover these costs.
Health issues and insurance
As a dog owner, it’s your responsibility to look after the health and welfare of your animal. This means registering them with a local vet, taking them for vaccinations and giving them regular treatments to reduce their risks of parasite infections and fleas.
If you spot any symptoms of illness, whether that’s suspected Cushing’s syndrome, infections, kennel cough or otherwise, it’s important you take them for a check-up as soon as possible.
When considering dog ownership, you need to make sure you’re able to take care of them in the good times and the bad. There are many factors to consider before purchasing a pooch, including your lifestyle, availability and income. Taking the time to think through all the aspects of dog ownership will help you make the right decision for you and your family.