Dogs make wonderful pets, but not every home is ready for a canine companion and not every family is capable of looking after a dog. It is easy to fall in love with a cute dog at the local rescue centre or decide that you really have to have a handbag pooch, celebrity style. But what happens when the fantasy becomes a reality and you discover that owning a dog is not all it’s cracked up to be?
Every year, an awful lot of dogs end up being re-homed or sent to the local pet shelter through no fault of their own. People buy adorable little puppies on a whim and within a few months realise that owning a dog is hard work. The best way to avoid this unhappy scenario is to take the time to find out what dog ownership is all about. Armed with the facts, you can then make an informed decision.
Do Your Research
If you have never had a dog before, talk to other dog owners and find out more about the good bits and the bad bits, as well as what breed might be suitable. Go online and check out doggy resources such as My Pawson – the more you know, the better able you will be to make the right decision.
Are You Home All Day?
Dogs need human company. Unlike cats, dogs don’t enjoy being left on their own for extended periods of time, so if your house is empty all day long while you are at work and your kids are at school, is a dog really the right pet for your family?
Do You Have Time to Exercise a Pet?
Dogs, large or small, need regular exercise for their health and wellbeing. How much exercise will depend on the breed, but in general, larger dogs and utility breeds will need more exercise than small, toy breeds. Be honest – are you going to make time to walk the dog? Don’t heap the responsibility for walking the dog on to the kids. Most children can barely take care of themselves, let alone remember to take the dog out twice or three times per day, so ultimately, as the adult, responsibility for walking the dog will fall on your shoulders – come rain or shine.
Can You Afford to Give a Dog a Home?
Dogs need to eat and from time to time will require veterinary care. These things all cost money and if you can barely afford to feed the kids, buying extra dog food every week is going to hurt your finances. Don’t take on a dog if you are living on the breadline. It is irresponsible and not fair on the dog or your family.
Once you have established that you can give a dog a loving and permanent home, the time has come to find the right canine friend. Don’t rush this stage as finding the right dog is very important. Pedigree or mongrel – it really doesn’t matter as long as you love the dog and he loves you.