For many people, getting a dog means having a friend for life. However, it’s also a huge reponsibility – so if you’re thinking of making the commitment, it’s important to be sure that you’re fully prepared. Here are some of the most important things to remember.
Having a dog is lots of work
Yes, they’re adorable – but dogs are also energetic animals that need training, exercise, company and affection. So be prepared to give them lots of time, and be aware that you will have to take them into consideration when you make decisions. For example, they can’t be left alone for full days – so if you have a busy work schedule or spend a lot of time away, you’ll have to either find someone to look after them, or bring them with you!
Dogs are one of the most diverse species in the world – with a huge variety of different breeds. You only have to look at a Chihuahua and a Husky to see that! What’s more, each breed is very different – with different characteristics, needs, and vulnerabilities. Understanding which dog will be the right fit for you goes way beyond which looks the cutest – things like their size, how much exercise they need, whether they are solitary or social by nature, and how much training they are likely to need all matter a lot too.
Lots of animal shelters offer keen owners the chance to foster a dog – basically, taking it home and caring for it for a set period of time. As a short-term commitment, it’s a great way to see how having a dog will fit into your life – and you’ll be helping them, too!
Adopting a dog is a great option if you decide to commit to having one long-term. Lots of dogs are abandoned or have to be given up by their original owners, and adopting them means giving them a home they might not otherwise have. Adopting also means you can get an older dog, if you don’t have the time or money for puppy training.
They cost money
It’s very important to feed your dog properly – especially if you get them when they’re young, as diet can have a big impact on their development. Getting food which helps their bones, teeth and muscles is essential – and that costs money. You’ll also need to be prepared to cover vet bills, and potential dog sitters or walkers if you are going to be away.
They’re super rewarding
Having a dog is a huge lifestyle choice, and can bring you friendship, companionship and love. However, none of that is worth it if you are not making them happy and healthy – so make sure that you’re 100% ready before bringing one into your life.