First Time Dog Owner
What to consider when you wish to adopt a dog
“Mummy, I want a dog.” This sentence will certainly sound familiar to parents whose children have friends or relatives owning a dog. At one point during childhood, the little ones usually fall in love with the neighbour's puppy, the best friend's cuddly family dog or grandma's elderly furry friend. Parents will ultimately find themselves confronted with the question of whether to adopt a dog or not. However, man's best friend for life is not only pet option number one for families but also for childless couples, singles and pensioners. This article is meant to help you decide whether a dog is the right animal for you and your family and will provide you with a list of things you need to be aware of when you decide to adopt a four-legged furry friend.
Before plunging into the details of living a life with a dog, I would recommend for you to take a minute and honestly think about the reason why you want to take in a dog. Are you feeling lonely and are looking for company? Do your children and family urge you to get one? Have you been to a shelter and felt sorry for the dogs there? Or do you simply find them cute?
These are the typical thoughts and feelings that usually start people considering adopting an animal. Although they might indeed constitute a good kick-off for you, they should not be the principal reasons for why you want to become a dog owner. Think beyond your initial idea of what adopting a dog means, consider the difficulties and challenges that being responsible for another being might entail and make sure that your reason for why you wish for a four-legged friend holds ground to these.
Even if you find yourself having sufficiently thought through all your motives, please do not go for a head over heels dog adoption. There are a number of things you might want to consider and be aware of before you ultimately go ahead and find your perfect match.
An essential question that you need to ask yourself is how much time you can really spare for a pet friend. Especially for singles, it is highly important to make sure that there is always someone around who can take care of the dog when you are at work, sick or spending a night in town with friends. A small dog needs less time for a walk than a middle-sized. Besides the size of the dog, you might also consider its age, breed and temperament. If you are for instance abusy person with a strenuous job that rather likes to rest peacefully after work, you might find yourself happier with a dog with a rather lazy than active temperament. Also be aware of the fact that dogs live up to twelve years! Adopting a dog therefore means committing to take care of another being for a big chunk of your life. It is therefore an important decision that you must think through carefully and not make spontaneously.
If you live in a small city apartment with no garden, you would better opt for a smaller dog that is satisfied with a few walks a day. A bigger dog is only recommendable if you have a house with a garden – but be aware of the fact that you still need to walk the dog regularlythen! Your furry friend must have the chance to leave his territory so that he can encounter challenges and new experiences that keep him busy and satisfy his curious and active nature. Unfortunately, dogs suffer from walking on paved streets since their joints and pads are designed for softer and more natural grounds. Therefore make sure that you walk your pet friend in a forest, park or field rather than on any harmful grounds.
Are you a regular traveller? Do you often go on holidays? Do you enjoy spending the weekends in foreign towns and places? If you answer any of these questions with “yes”, you should make sure that you have a relative or close friend who can look after your dog while you are gone. It is not enough for your pet to have a neighbour drop by every once in a while as a dog needs personal care and social interaction with its provider. Even if you are not a regular traveller, you might want to see to it that a person of trust can now and then look after your dog since you and the other family members will not always be around. Most important before adopting is that you make sure that ALL family members agree to the decision.
Please be aware of the fact that a dog might cause unexpected costs for you. Not only do you have to pay for the adoption fees and the dog's everyday need of food and water, but you must also make sure that your dog is given the necessary medical care in order to guarantee its well-being. This might include for instance de-worming and vaccinations. The costs for a vet differ but must by no means be underestimated. Besides medical care, a dog requires a special equipment comprising toys, leashes, baskets, treats and blankets. Hence, a dog is a long-term financial commitment that must be considered carefully.
Now that we have discussed most of the issues that need to be taken into account when considering a dog adoption, you might find it helpful to use the check-list below in order to go through the different items again and see for yourself whether you are prepared for giving home to a four-legged friend.
- Be clear about the reason for why you want to get a dog. Pity and children bugging you about it are not sufficient reasons.
- All family members must agree to the adoption.
- Make sure that you have enough time for a dog. You need to walk and train it, play with it and be its social companion.
- Think about your facilities. A small city flat is only suitable for a little dog while a house with a garden also provides a home for a bigger dog.
- Make sure that you have a relative or close friend that may look after your dog when you are on holidays. If you are a regular traveller, reconsider the choice of pet for you.
- Consider your financial situation. You must be able to provide for visits to the vet, food, treats, toys and other equipment.
- A dog is a long-term companion. You must be prepared to look after him for at least a decade.
Author: Daniela Koentopp
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