Dogs bring a lot of happiness, companionship and love into our lives, but they also come with a lot of responsibility. Are you truly ready to become a responsible dog owner? Here are some points to consider before getting a dog.
The lifespan of dogs is approximately 13 years. If you are seriously considering getting a dog, you should try to imagine your life with a dog in it for well over a decade. Of course nobody can tell how the future will look like exactly, but you may have dreams and goals you intent to achieve. Do you see a dog by your side in your future plans?
Personality-wise it's good to reflect on, if dog ownership is truly what you are looking for. Dogs are pack animals and they should not be left alone for long periods of time. You/your family are your dog's pack and if you would rather spend your spare time without your dog or if you want to have the freedom for spontaneous trips, a life with a dog might not be for you.
However, if you can see yourself spending time with your dog doing things that you both enjoy, a dog might suit you just wonderfully. Dog owners also generally don't mind some dog hair on their clothes, possibly some chewed up shoes or furniture nor do they mind collecting dog poop off the lawn. Also dog owners know that dogs need to go out to do their business several times a day and they all need daily exercise, no matter the weather.
Imagine how your life would look like with a dog in it and ask yourself some questions such as:
- What kind of environment can I offer a dog?
- Do I have a pet safe home?
- Are there dog parks and walking trails nearby where I could go with my dog?
- Do I have access to all the dog services that I might be interested in (vet, grooming, dog classes etc.)?
- Who will train my dog?
- Do I already have other pets? How will my current pet(s) adjust to a life with a dog and will they all get along with each other?
Dogs require rather much time from their owners. Dogs need daily exercise and activities so that they don't get bored. Bored dogs can become destructive because they need to target their energy into something. Both mental and physical stimulation should be provided for a healthy and balanced dog so that they don't end up doing something forbidden and possibly dangerous as they try to come up with activities to entertain themselves with.
In addition to various activies, dog owners also spend time taking care of their dogs by grooming, nail clipping, teeth brushing etc. Puppies require plenty of time and patience during the time they are being trained as well.
Some costs to consider when thinking about getting a dog:
- Nutrition and treats (dog food, dog treats, dog bones...)
- Dog supplies (food bowls, collar, leash, bed, toys, ID-tag, brushes, nail clippers...)
- Deworming medicine
- Veterinary bills (vaccinations, regular health check-ups, spaying/neutering, microchipping etc.)
- Pet insurance
Do you travel a lot for either work or pleasure? Traveling with a dog is of course possible, but it does make it more challenging than if one were to travel without a dog. Consider if you can bring your dog along when you travel or if there is someone who can take care of your pet while you are on the road.
You should not overlook the kind of dog you bring into your life. It's wise to research what kind of dog breed suits you. Never select a breed solely by its look, rather by its temperament and energy level that match your lifestyle. Even if you intent on adopting a mixed breed dog, you can get an idea of the dog's activity level and the kind of life it requires by the breeds that are in the dog. For example, a life with an active and intelligent Border Collie is most likely going to be much more challenging than a life with a more laid back kind of dog.
Think of all the qualities that make for a healthy and happy life for a dog and how well you are able to provide it. Consider through everything from the kind of place your dog would live in and the daily activities you are capable of providing to the costs and time you are devoted to give to a dog. Finally research the kind of dog breed that best suits your lifestyle. Having a dog is going to change your life, but most likely only for the better as long as you are aware what you are getting into.