10 things to consider before getting a dog

Getting a dog is a big decision. Big. HUGE. And before making the commitment there are a few things you should consider…

28 Jan 2015 By Eleanor Comments

Dogs take up a lot of time

If you work full-time or are constantly travelling, owning a happy and healthy dog may be difficult. If you’re somebody in this situation you may need to hire a dog walker to ensure that your pet is getting the right amount of exercise.

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Location, location, location!

A dog not only has to suit your lifestyle, they have to suit your location. If you live in a shoebox apartment, a Great Dane probably isn’t going to be the best dog for you. Likewise, if you live on a property with lots of livestock a Chihuahua may end up being injured. It’s vital to ensure that the breed of dog you want is appropriate for your home and local area.

Climate control

We live in Australia, one of the most arid countries in the world. While Huskies and Bernese Mountain Dogs may look like adorable balls of fluff, they can struggle with the Australian heat. If you are planning to keep them outside, you definitely need to be mindful of long-haired dogs with thick coats. The same goes for small dogs with short coats, such as Italian Greyhounds, who will struggle to stay warm in winter and may need special jackets or access to heating.

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Puppies vs dogs

Everybody likes puppies! They’re cute and cuddly and pee on the carpet... Wait, what? It’s true puppies are adorable but it’s important to remember that they’re a little bundle of energy and will need a lot of extra attention, housetraining and obedience classes. Older dogs, on the other hand, already know right from wrong which is great for people who will struggle to find time for puppy training.

Expenses

Even if you are adopting a dog, rather than buying one, dogs are a very expensive pet. Vet bills, food, toys, treats, bedding, boarding and training all add up. Depending on the size of your dog you could be spending around a thousand dollars a year just to make sure your dog is healthy and happy. It is important to realise that owning a dog is a financial commitment as well as an emotional one.

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It’s a family decision

Dogs take up a lot of time and energy so it’s vital that everyone in your family is happy to contribute. If one person in your household is unhappy about the idea of owning a dog then it’s going to affect not only your relationship with that person but the dog’s wellbeing. Before making the big decision to own a pet, check that your family or housemates are all in agreement.

Are you just getting a dog to please the kids?

It’s a fair enough question. Who hasn’t heard the “muuuuum, please can I have a dog. I promise to walk it every day!” speech. Children will go through many social and emotional changes over a dog’s life span. It is unrealistic to pledge a dog as a child’s sole responsibility as childrens’ interest in their pets will drift in and out over the years. It’s time to face facts, you’re going to end up doing a lot of the feeding, walking, bathing… everything. Are you ready for that?

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Should I adopt, go to a pet shop or find a breeder?

There are many different ways to find a dog that’s right for you. Here at Zookie, we always recommend checking out your local pet shelters as there is a wide variety of dogs to be found. Often these animals are simply there because their owners have had a change in circumstance. When buying from pet shops it is vital to check where the puppies came from as they might have been purchased from unscrupulous breeders. If you are after a particular breed of dog, look for registered and trusted dog breeders.

Which dog breed is right for me?

The right dog breed will depend on your lifestyle and home environment. Certain dog breeds have recognisable behavioural or aesthetic traits that may be appealing, but it is important to note that each dog will have their own personality.

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A life-time commitment

Owning a dog is not something to be taken on lightly, it is a 10-15 year commitment.  You have to be prepared to walk, feed and provide health care for your dog for at least a decade. Think about how old you will be in 10 years time? Will you still live in an environment and have a routine that is healthy for a dog?

 

Have you recently got a dog? We'd love to hear your stories.

28 Jan 2015 By Eleanor Comments

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