Finding the right dog can be a great addition to any family home. They are loyal companions, teach kids responsibility, and form a bond with all members of the household, but a lot of thought and preparation needs to go into making this decision. More pets than ever are ending up in shelters due to people not doing their research or buying a dog on a whim (e.g. for Christmas). These animals live many years, require a lot of work, attention, time and money. Alongside caring for your children and working, you need to make sure that adding these high maintenance animals to your home is the right thing, both for you and the quality of life of the animal. So, to help you out, here are six things you need to consider before introducing a dog to your family.
The cost of vaccinations and regular vet checks add up, and this is just the upkeep of your dog. It is common for dogs to find themselves in trouble, which can require expensive medical help. It is worth insuring your pet so you can afford the cost of emergency medical attention. Also, it is highly advised to spay/neuter your companion. Not only does it help improve behavior (for example, it stops males from roaming), stops unwanted puppies, and reduces stress (from sexual frustration), but it also removes the risk of a lot of reproductive health issues, which ultimately increases your pet’s lifespan.
The popularity of dogs with wool coats are on the increase. This is partly due to their puppy-like appearance, but also due to the fact these coats barely shed, making them ideal for allergy sufferers or those who like a hair-free environment. However, dogs with long hair require a lot of maintenance. This means daily brushing and monthly baths at home, as well as regular trips to the groomers (every eight weeks). This can be time-consuming and costly. If you are in New York City and want to know more about local grooming services, then read more here.
All dogs require different food. Some breeds are more prone to certain health issues such as obesity, skin disorders, and sensitive stomachs. Some are fussier than others and some have allergies. Making sure your dog is fed the right diet is very important and can get expensive. If the food in your local grocery store or pet shop is cheap, there is definitely a reason for this. You wouldn’t feed your kids fast food and sweets all day, every day, so don’t do this to your dog.
Every dog requires exercise; however, some breeds will require more exercise and mental stimulation than others. Making sure you do a ton of research into the breed you’re buying is extremely important before bringing your new canine companion home. For example, you can’t adopt a German Shepherd pup if you can only provide it with half an hour of exercise a day and plan on leaving him/her alone for hours at a time. This will lead to a very frustrated, bored, and destructive dog, which usually leads to it being given away. So, make sure you have the time to meet the needs of your pet and don’t just get a dog because it’s cute or you’re going for a certain look. Providing the right care and keeping up with his/her needs are more important than your image.
Another reason so many dogs are taken to shelters is due to lack of training. Training is time-consuming and for puppy classes (which is highly advised), it can cost a lot too. Making sure your pup is socialized from a young age with adults, children, other dogs, and other kinds of animals is extremely important for a well-behaved and balanced dog. If the breed you end up with is particularly protective or aloof with unfamiliar people and animals, then early and continuous socialization cannot be stressed enough. Recall, crate training, submission towards food, biting, boundaries in the house, and house training are just some of the things you need to put time into. So, buy books, watch videos, and speak to professionals. It will be worth it for sure, especially with children in the home.
Adopt Don’t Shop
With millions of dogs abandoned and heartbreakingly euthanized every year, there are so many reasons you should consider adoption rather than buying from a breeder. First, it’s a lot cheaper to adopt. For a small donation, your dog will be microchipped, vaccinated, and spayed/neutered. The shelter can match the dog to your lifestyle. Not all rescues have behavioral problems; this is a common misconception. If the dogs in your shelters are crossbreeds, then this shouldn’t put you off. Crossbreeds can be so unique and have been proven to have fewer health issues than a pedigree. Finally, you save a life. Adopting one dog may not change the world, but it changes their world forever. Some people want particular breeds or want to raise their dog from a puppy so completely avoid the thought of adoption, however, there are plenty of breed specific rescues and puppies available for adoption, you just need to take the time to find them.
Avoid Pet Shops
If a shelter dog isn’t an option or you can’t find a good match and resort to buying a puppy, do not go to a pet shop. These pups often come from cruel puppy farms and will have a lifetime of health issues. If you go to a breeder and you are suspicious, report this to your local SPCA. They will be able to save the animals and stop the cruelty. If you try to save them yourself by buying out of pity, you will only fund the cruelty and support the cruel trade. When buying from a breeder, make sure you meet the mother and don’t be afraid to ask plenty of questions.
Having a dog is a truly rewarding experience when done right. This needs to be a decision that everyone agrees on. Just make sure you have plenty of time, money, willpower, patience, and love and you will get the most out of your new furry friend.