What Should I Consider When Getting a Pet Dog?

Aniza Pourtauborde

Having a dog can be a rewarding experience for you and your family. At the same time, your adorable canine companion could turn out to be a living nightmare. Remember that a dog's life spans over 15 to 20 years, so getting one requires a lifelong commitment. Consider the following factors before you decide:

Bathing is an important part of owning a pet.
Bathing is an important part of owning a pet.

1. Objective. Ask yourself why you would want one. Is it solely to appease your children, or do you love dogs so much that you cannot imagine being without one? Your objective can also help determine the breed you should get. Labradors make gentle family dogs, while Rottweilers are great at guarding your home and family.

Pets require basic supplies, such as a leash, collar and tags.
Pets require basic supplies, such as a leash, collar and tags.

2. Budget. Dogs can be very expensive. Other than food, take into account the cost of regular veterinary checkups, health care, and routine vaccinations. Add other basic expenses, such as leashes, collars, treats, toys, and a comfortable bed. If you are going on vacation and cannot bring your pet, the cost of kenneling your pet during your absence can be exorbitant.

Dogs should have plenty of chew toys to prevent an owner's personal items from being destroyed.
Dogs should have plenty of chew toys to prevent an owner's personal items from being destroyed.

3. Living space. Consider whether you have sufficient space to keep a canine pet. Living in a small apartment means taking your pet out more often to exercise it and allow it to relieve itself. If you live in a house, you may need to fence your backyard to prevent your dog from straying outside. In addition, some breeds require more space to move about than others, so research well beforehand to choose a breed that suits your living space.

It is not uncommon to see pet owners walking their dogs early in the morning.
It is not uncommon to see pet owners walking their dogs early in the morning.

4. Time. Dogs are social creatures that require your attention for their mental, emotional, and physical health. This means that you'll have to dedicate a certain amount of time every day to walking, exercising, training, grooming, and playing with it. Be prepared for early morning walks before you leave for work and evening runs when you return home.

Dog training is something to consider when deciding to get a dog.
Dog training is something to consider when deciding to get a dog.

5. Training and Exercise. Training your canine to obey you takes plenty of patience and understanding. If you lack the time to teach your dog properly, behavioral problems such as disobedience and aggression may result. Since dogs learn through repetition, it is necessary for you to practice consistency in your training methods. Research training techniques thoroughly and ask yourself if you are up to the task.

Pet nail clippers may be used to clip a dog's nails.
Pet nail clippers may be used to clip a dog's nails.

6. Responsibilities. Bear in mind the responsibilities that you will have as an owner. If you do not intend to breed your pet, then spaying or neutering it avoids puppies that you may not have sufficient resources to care for. There are also laws regarding pet identification via a tagged collar or an electronic implant. Other responsibilities include caring for your pet's well-being by providing nutritional food and keeping it well-groomed. Cleaning up after your dog is mandatory to prevent diseases affecting your pet and family.

A dog may require obedience training to prevent destructive chewing habits.
A dog may require obedience training to prevent destructive chewing habits.

7. Grooming. Grooming your pet is essential to maintain its health. Bathing and brushing keeps the fur from becoming tangled and messy. Clipping the claws when they are too long prevents your dog from tearing up your home or digging holes in your cushions. Brushing it's teeth improves its breath while warding off dental problems. Checking your pet for ticks and fleas regularly is also critical. You must carry out these grooming tasks yourself or have enough finances to pay for a professional groomer.

Improper breeding has led to a number of breathing problems in bulldogs.
Improper breeding has led to a number of breathing problems in bulldogs.

8. Lifestyle Changes. Before deciding to keep a dog, ask yourself how it will affect your lifestyle. If you are single and a workaholic or a socialite, you will not have the time necessary to care for your it. Having a pet means that you may have to give up your late nights at work and social gatherings or find someone else to provide it with the attention it needs. Also think about how your life will affect your pet. If you are a restless traveler or a high school student moving far away to college, you will be absent from your dog's life. Unless you are seriously prepared to include a pet in your life, these unsettling times are not the best moments to get a canine companion.

Consider the size of your living space, and the pet's need for exercise, when choosing the dog.
Consider the size of your living space, and the pet's need for exercise, when choosing the dog.

Animal shelters are filled with puppies and dogs abandoned by owners who were initially thrilled at getting a pet, but later balked at the huge amount of responsibility involved in caring for it. A dog is for life. You should give thought to all of the above factors before committing yourself to one.

It's important to remember that dogs need regular exercise and should be walked daily.
It's important to remember that dogs need regular exercise and should be walked daily.

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Discussion Comments

John57

When you buy a dog that is just the beginning of the expense that is involved. It may not seem like much, but even food and vet bills can really add up quickly. Some people even spend quite a bit of money on dog toys and accessories.

For me this is money that is well spent to keep my dog healthy and happy, but if money is tight it can put a strain on your budget.

Dogs bring so much companionship and joy to our lives, that it is not hard to spend money on them, but if you are in a situation where one needs some extra vet care, or ongoing medication, those expenses add up very quickly.

andee

I think one of the most important things to consider when getting a dog is how much time you will have to invest in it. They are very social animals, and if you have a crazy schedule that keeps you away from home most of the time, you need to consider if that is fair for the dog.

We have always had dogs, but we also have flexible work schedules that allow us to come and go throughout the day. One of the advantages of this is that there is usually someone around every few hours or so, so the dogs are not left alone for long periods of time.

anon148171

I'm currently going through a divorce and the Master handling the arbitration balks at the idea that I want to keep my Jack russell and American short hair cat. She seems to think that it's stupid that I say they're cheaper than therapy.

She obviously has never experienced the unconditional love received from a pet. I already know they're great for blood pressure as mine is always around 128 over 68 even with all the stress I'm currently under, dealing with the divorce.

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