Should I get a dog?
Getting a dog is a huge decision, and one that many people have been able to consider with the increase in home working. The demand for puppies has been sent soaring by this which has sparked a hefty price hike for those wishing to take the plunge.
Before you bite the bullet, you should consider a few things so that you can be confident in your decision to ensure that it is a life long one. So, Should I get a dog?
There is no doubt that dogs take up a large amount of time, so do ensure that you have time to dedicate to your new family member now, and in the future. Consider day to day basic care needs, for example feeding, walking, training, socialisation, health checks and grooming etc. Your dog will need regular exercise come rain or shine so this must be a non-negotiable.
Training is key to teaching your dog how to behave and live in harmony with your family and in society. This can be a lovely family activity and the time you spend on it really pays off. Teaching new skills takes time as each technique needs to become part of your dogs routine for weeks or even months on end before they truly learn the lesson.
You will also need to spend time on socialising your dog. This may be through puppy classes, walks with friends or simply meeting other dogs out and about. Using a top-quality dog professional offering doggy play-dates may be a good option too. Be aware that organising this takes time and you may have to make sacrifices in your social schedule.
You may choose to incorporate your dog into things like holidays and meetups with friends. This is all a pleasure for dog lovers, but it’s important to understand just how part of your family your dog will become and that they will change your life.
Dogs are a wonderful addition to the family but are costly. Consider the expense for food, insurance, veterinary bills etc.
Research the type of food you want to give your dog and what other ‘kit’ you need and then shop around to get the best price. Using sites such as Time for Paws can help reduce these costs. They offer great prices on toys, treats, food, coats and more. You can also get free delivery for any purchases over £25. Using Facebook dog owners groups can be a useful way to connect with experienced owners in order to glean their top recommendations for food, coat, toys etc.
Consider how you would cover veterinary bills if and when needed. At a minimum you will have to consider annual vaccination and preventative treatments (such as flea and worm medication). Think about how you would cover bills in the event of unexpected treatment being needed? Many choose to safeguard with good quality insurance, others prefer to save. Be aware that insurance premiums rise as the dog gets older and potentially requires more care.
The decision to own a dog really should be a group decision if you do not live alone. Think about who will help with the day to day care of your dog? Who will walk your dog? Play with your dog? Delegate jobs and share the ownership. If you have young children, take time to teach your children how to behave around a dog. Be sure that everyone is on board with this decision and ready to get involved.
Dogs are pack animals, and they require a positive family dynamic to lead fulfilling and happy lives. Dogs are great for mental wellbeing, but to enjoy these positive effects in full force, everyone needs to be onboard and pitch in with walks, training, and playtime. When duties are managed fairly, then you’ll all get the best out of having your own dog!
I have decided to get a dog!
If you have made the decision to take the plunge, think about whether to look for a puppy or offer a home to a rescue dog. Look into breeds that suit your family circumstances and time availability then find a reputable breeder or rescue centre to help you start your journey. Enjoy!