A tremendous amount of love for dogs is not enough to indicate one is ready for dog ownership. Ask yourself, do I have the time to take on a dog, or another dog, if this is not your first dog? Do you have time for daily walks, playing, training, feeding, cleaning up after and so forth? To properly look after a dog requires a considerable amount of time. Do you have the patience for a dog? This can be even more relevant if you are considering adopting a puppy. Dogs don’t instinctively understand what you say, where their food is, or what ‘pee outside’ means. They can, if taught and worked with regularly, but initially, patience is essential. Next, do you have the money to care for a pet? A dog costs much more than the initial adoption fee. There are vaccines, the price of spaying or neutering, annual appointments and vaccines, food, beds, toys, and medical bills when they get sick or injured. The value dogs add to our life will almost always exceed their cost, but it’s important to remember all of the expenses involved.
So you’re ready…what kind of dog should you get?
After you’ve determined that you have the time, patience, money and will to adopt a dog, then comes the task of determining which one is best for you. This should be a serious consideration and deserves a lot of thought. Evaluate your lifestyle to start determining which dog may be best for you. Are you active and want a companion for that? Are you neat and need a dog to match? Do you have a small apartment or a large house and yard? Are there multiple people in your home or do you have children? After these questions, and others, have been asked and addressed, I recommend making a list of attributes you’d like to see in a dog that also coincide with your lifestyle. Things to consider include size, energy level, grooming needs, trainability and temperament. Once you have your lists, visit your local shelter or rescue, or even consider speaking with the staff at Brookside Barkery about which breed of dog would be best for you; or perhaps, what type of dog would you be the best human for.
So you want to be a responsible dog owner…
As I alluded to before, responsible dog ownership entails a myriad of obligations. Not the least of which are the responsibilities you have to your dog. Most of these are centered on providing a safe, caring and healthy environment. This starts with establishing a relationship with your veterinarian. He or she and their staff will help determine which vaccinations your dog may need and get them started out on a healthy life. Other things to discuss with your veterinarian include spaying or neutering your dog, microchipping your dog, heartworm testing and prevention, flea and tick prevention and an appropriate and nutritious diet for all life stages. As dog owners, we are also responsible for providing opportunity for exercise, enrichment and socialization. Speak with your veterinarian about what exercise is best for your dog and find out about dog parks, classes and events in your community, your dog will thank you for it.
We also have responsibility to others…
Once you become comfortable caring for and being around dogs, it’s easy to forget about what you didn’t know about before. Caring for a dog means being responsible for their actions. The biggest thing is keeping your dog on a leash or ensuring well maintained fencing for your yard. Even the sweetest dogs can misbehave when off leash; or they can become scared and run away or bite someone. Some dogs make a lot of noise, and some people don’t like that. If you have a dog who can’t keep his voice down, please consider your neighbors and keep him quiet or inside when appropriate. Lastly, is waste control. It’s gross, but we all have the responsibility to clean up after our pets; especially in other people’s yards, parks or public places.
I love dogs, and I love my dog. If caring for a dog fits with your lifestyle, I’m sure you’ll love your dog too. Please consider all of the responsibilities of caring for a dog. The responsibility to yourself, the dog and to others. You’ll have a lot to get in order to bring your new pup into a healthy, safe environment! Brookside Barkery has everything you’ll need from beds, food, collars and leashes!
Thank you to KC Metro Pet Mag for the great article!