Choosing a Dog as a Pet
Dogs make great pets – there are many different breeds to choose from, in varying sizes, personality types, and even fur types. Dogs can be fun to take care of, but they are also a big commitment. It is important that you understand what you are getting into when you adopt a dog – to make sure that it is properly trained and that it is happy, and that your family is happy too.
How Long do Dogs Live?
Dogs can live for between 10 and 13 years, and sometimes even longer. This means, taking on a dog is a huge commitment. A dog that you adopt for your child could still be with you when your child is ready to leave home and go to college. If you take on a dog while you live in a big house, then you need to be prepared for the possibility that you might move at a later date. Adopting a dog is making a real new addition to your family.
That said, the decisions you make when picking out your dog and how you care for them as a pet, can have a huge impact on their lifespan, as well as their overall quality of life, so let’s look at some of the factors to consider when you decide to adopt a new pup.
Picking the Right Dog for You
Before you adopt a dog, there are a lot of things that you should consider. Firstly, make sure that you will have the time and energy to take care of the pet. Some dogs are easy to take care of, but some of them require long walks and have a huge amount of energy. Some dog breeds are small and easy to domesticate. Some are big and very friendly. Some are big and can be a little prone to aggression if they are not tamed correctly. It is vital that you think it through before you adopt a dog.
Understand the Care The Dog Needs
If you are considering a specific breed of dog, it is well worth talking to a veterinarian before you adopt that dog, to find out how hard it is to care for and what the ongoing costs might be – some dogs are quite hardy and resilient, but some, especially the rarer breeds, are genetically predisposed to certain conditions and could require a lot of care later in life. It is important to make sure that you are aware of the potential costs and risks.
Making Your Home Pet-Friendly
Another consideration is the house that you live in – just like you need to make your home child-friendly before you have a baby, you need to make your home pet-friendly before you adopt a dog. This means moving any potential hazards such as electrical cords (if your kettle has a cord that is hanging down off the counter, for example, that is a scalding hazard), cords at floor level that could be chewed through, curtain cords, etc.
Small toys are also a hazard. It’s also important to check your garden for poisonous plants, and to think about what you keep in your home – sugar-free gum containing xylitol, for example, is toxic to dogs. In addition, chocolate can be dangerous for dogs. This means that adopting a dog could mean making changes to your lifestyle and also educating your family and friends.
Making Time for Training
After you adopt a dog, you will need to train it. If you adopt a puppy, then you will need to spend some time training it, and also comforting it because it will likely cry the first few days that it spends in your home. If you adopt an older dog, then you will still need to train it, and this can be tricky if the dog is older and was badly treated in its first home. It is possible, usually, to get a dog to adapt to your home though. The challenge is making sure that everyone in the household is able to interact safely with the dog – older, bigger dogs and babies don’t always get on at first.
Picking Toys and Treats
One of the most fun parts of having any pet is spoiling it. People love giving out treats to pets, just like they do with kids. It can be so tempting to just hand out snacks whenever the dog does anything good, but this can cause the dog to become overweight, and can also make training it difficult if it expects to be treated constantly. Do surprise the dog with the odd treat here and there, though, as they will love it! They even have automatic-ball throwers for dogs, if you have a hard time throwing things for your pet.
Dogs are amazing pets, and you can get a relationship with your dog that almost feels like a relationship with a human. They are loyal, happy, friendly and warm, and they can quickly become a ‘best friend’ for you. Consider adopting a rescue dog from a shelter if you are able to take on that responsibility and confident that you can train them. This could save that dog’s life, and will give you an even more rewarding experience as a dog owner.