There are many joys in owning a dog, they are loving, loyal creatures with the purest hearts that can even help improve your health. But should you own one?
Here are some things you might want to consider if you go all warm and fuzzy every time you see a little pup:
- Do you have time for a dog? If you work a full-time job or work away often a dog might not be for you. Dogs should not be left alone for more than four hours a day. They need to be stimulated socially and physically, they need toilet breaks, feeding, watering, and they want their owners around. Don’t forget, dogs have a very strong bond with their owners and may become anxious and insecure if they are left often and for long periods.
- Are you financially stable? You will need to pay for veterinary care, insurance, food, toys, bowls, collars, leashes and lots of cleaning supplies for your pup and your house! Without a fair amount of disposable income unexpected vet bills may take you into the red!
- You think puppies are super cute and really, really want one! Now, as much as I enjoy your enthusiasm, these lovely little puppies can grow into giants that come bounding through your living room and knock over your lamps! So think about the commitment that you are making, they are not going to stay small enough to carry in your bag forever, they will get bigger, there will be accidents and they will cost you money. As much as they are cute to cuddle and get you likes on your Instagram feed this is a serious decision that is going to alter your life and the life of the pup you decide to share your home with.
- You or someone in your household has severe pet allergies. As lovely as dogs are; don’t put your health at risk. It’s not fair on you, your flatmate or the lovely dog that you have bought and may end up having to rehome. If you do not have allergies but your flatmate does, rather than risking their health, volunteer at a local shelter, dog sit for a friend or start a dog walking company.
- If you are in rented accommodation make sure that it is okay with your landlord to have pets. You don’t want to risk them finding out and leaving you and your pet without a home or you having to take your dog to an animal shelter as they are not allowed to live with you.
- Your kids want a dog. They may have been begging you for years, and they may now be responsible preteens, but only an adult can be responsible for a pet. It is up to you to make sur e that your dog is fed, watered, exercised and well looked after. Of course you can get the kids involved! Take the kids with you when walking the dog, go play at the beach together, let them help train the dog, but do not expect that a child (even a super responsible, caring, ‘grown-up for their age’ one) can solely raise a dog, or any pet for that matter.
- IT’S A HUGE COMMITMENT! I can not stress this enough! A dog lives, on average, around 12 years, and in some cases longer, this means that you need to be there to look after your dog for all that time. Yes, you can put them in kennels whilst you are on holiday, or ask a friend or family member to look after them, or even better – take them with you! But if you are someone that envisions going travelling in a couple of years, or moves around a lot for work, then having a dog is not for you. Make sure that you are at the right place in your life to settle down and commit yourself to your little fury friend.