Should I have a dog?

Dogs are one of the most popular pets in the world. They have enjoyed this status for a long time, probably from 10,000 to 15,000 years ago when Stone Age cave dwellers lived and hunted with dogs.

If you think you want a dog, you are following a well-established tradition.

why you might want a dog

There are a number of reasons why people think they might want a dog as a pet. The most universal is the desire for the companionship of an animal that will be a loyal friend for many years. Others think it would be nice to have a watchdog around the house, and some people are interested in participating in dog shows, agility trials, or other organized activities.

If you’re considering getting a dog, it’s important to determine if you can properly care for it. Dogs need several things from a pet owner:

Time

Commitment

Attention

In order for your dog to stay healthy, he will need to be fed correctly, exercised sufficiently, brushed regularly, and taken to the vet for regular checkups and vaccinations. If you want your dog to be well-mannered and a joy to be around, you’ll need to make sure he’s fully socialized and trained, which requires spending many hours with him. Dogs also need fixed schedules so they know when they will be fed and when they will be let out.

If you are a very busy person who works long hours and travels a lot, owning a dog may not be for you.

Things to consider before buying a dog

Owning a dog can be one of the most rewarding experiences you can have, but before you even start thinking about what kind of dog you might want, you need to ask yourself some serious questions about how well your lifestyle will accommodate any given dog.

Many people fall in love with a cute puppy at a pet store and bring it home only to face a brutal truth. That cute puppy will have to be taken out to relieve himself first thing in the morning. Every morning. Even on weekend mornings. Even if he is raining or snowing or 100 degrees in the shade. And he will have to go out more than once a day, sometimes several times more than once, especially when he is young.

That’s just the beginning. Here are some other things to seriously consider before you dive into dog ownership:

allergies

A bad allergic reaction to dogs in a family member can result in you having to find a new home for the dog, a sad experience for everyone. Some people are severely allergic and cannot even live in a house where a dog has lived. Others are much less bothered by it and can make adjustments to be able to live comfortably with a pet. An allergy can be to the dog’s saliva, hair, or dander. Not all dogs cause the same allergic reaction. Certain breeds are known to be less allergenic because they shed very little or not at all. These include the Chinese Crested, which is hairless, and breeds, which can vary in size, such as Basenji, Bichon Frize, and Standard Poodle.

What do you want in a dog?

Is your main concern is having a pet at home that is a good companion? Do you want an athletic dog that can go with you when you run? Will you be taking your dog camping and will he need to be big enough to carry his own food? Do you want a dog that can be a credible watchdog and watchdog? Do you want to show the dog? Do you want to participate in agility, obedience or field tests? You’ll want to study the different breeds and then talk to breeders and members of local dog clubs to find out what traits will best fit your expectations.

Can your children adjust?

Children love puppies, but both children and puppies need supervision. Children can play too rough with a puppy and a toddler will not understand that the puppy is tired and needs to rest. A puppy that is hurt or tired from playing is likely to growl and bite, and sometimes bite, to get the child to leave it alone. An older dog can be a serious threat if he is not used to children. There is one rule that should NEVER be broken: Babies and young children should never be left unsupervised with a dog, no matter how much you trust them.

Can your other pets adapt?

If you already have pets, you will need to consider how the dog will adjust to them and how they will adjust to him. If you have cats that have never been around a dog, you may have a long adjustment period or the combination may not work at all. Puppies will usually learn to live with cats if care is taken that the initial encounter is not too traumatic. If you are considering an older dog, try to find out how he has previously reacted to other pets.

How much room do you have for a dog?

This is an important consideration. A large, active dog, such as a retriever or German shepherd, can run and play in a large, fenced-in yard. Often though, the dog won’t play much if you’re not available to be with him, and will just lie on the grass as he would if he were inside his dog bed. Large dogs can be happy even in an apartment if they take a long walk or two every day.

Accommodation

Unless you live in the country and spend a lot of time outdoors with your dog, he won’t be happy as a strictly outdoor dog. Outside should be for playing and exercising. A dog should never be left outdoors in hot climates without shade or water or in cold climates without well-insulated shelter. If your dog spends a lot of time outdoors, he’ll need a fenced-in yard or large kennel.

Can you afford a dog?

Your dog will need to be fed and brushed and provided with toys and treats. You may want to take him to obedience classes. If you’re traveling occasionally for business or going on a trip and can’t take your dog with you, you’ll need to make boarding arrangements or hire a dog sitter to care for your dog in your home.

veterinary care

Your dog will need regular veterinary checkups, which will include vaccinations, deworming, and flea and tick prevention. A medical emergency can cost several hundred dollars. As your dog ages, he may develop chronic health conditions that require regular visits to the vet. Veterinary charges vary from city to city. If you haven’t had a pet before, you may want to call to see what the fees are in your area.

Cleanliness

If you don’t have time to groom your dog, don’t have proper bathing facilities, or require special grooming, you should hire a professional groomer. You will also need brushes and combs for maintenance.

License

Dogs must be licensed. Rates are set by the county or city and vary widely. For licensing information, call your county animal control office. Your vet and local animal shelter will also know where to go to purchase a license.

Exercise and fellowship: do you have time?

Some dogs only need a short walk once or twice a day, while others are made to run all day. Be honest when considering what level of regular exercise will be comfortable for you. If you have a heavy work schedule, walking the dog at night can be more of a burden than a pleasure. An active dog who only exercises on weekends and holidays is likely to be unhappy, not to mention bored and destructive. In addition to exercising, your dog needs time with you. If you have a full work schedule and a busy social life, your dog is likely to feel lonely, bored, and destructive.

Dog size and energy level

Before you even think about getting a young, highly energetic dog like a golden retriever, you should ask yourself if you are strong enough to control and exercise a dog that will want to run and play and could easily knock you over by accident. Don’t buy a pup who will become a 150-pound athlete if his energy level is more in tune with a walk with a toy poodle.

Is your lifestyle stable?

A common reason dogs are turned over to animal shelters is that the owner has had to move and new homes do not allow pets. Or the owner has married, and the new spouse does not like dogs. Is he likely to move often? Is your family life stable? Does your job require you to travel frequently or for long periods of time?

Puppy or older dog?

Most people automatically think of puppies when they think of getting a dog. While puppies are cute and fun, there are benefits to having a senior dog. It is much easier to train an older dog. Puppies do not physically have the ability to hold urine for a long period of time and must be removed frequently. You won’t have to wait for an older dog to get older to see how big he’ll get or what kind of temperament he’ll have, and if you get your dog from an animal shelter or rescue organization, you’ll probably be saving his life.

The first steps

If after reading all this, you still want a dog, congratulations! You’re probably itching to make the first move and want to head to the pet store, breeder, shelter, or rescue organization, but don’t rush to find a dog just yet. It is important that you take the time to read as much as you can about selecting, introducing, and keeping a dog. Browse through the other articles on our website. Check out books from the public library or visit a bookstore.

Consider what kind of dog you want. Do you want a purebred dog or a mix? Do you want a male or a female? Do you want a puppy or an older dog? Talk to other dog owners you know. Where did you get your dogs from and what was your experience? Where do you want to look for the perfect choice?

Once you decide to get a dog, choose a time to bring it home when you and your family have time to give it lots of attention; Bringing him home at the start of a long weekend or vacation, when you’ll have more time to spend at home with him, will definitely make the transition to his new home easier for him and his new family. Prepare for his arrival. You will need to know what to expect and how to care for it when it first comes into your life.

If you have carefully chosen your new canine friend and properly groomed him, bringing him home can be one of the happiest experiences of your life. He will become part of your family and will love you without reservation. Return his love, and he really will be your best friend.

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