A dog is a wonderful friend. There’s nothing else quite like his excited greeting when you come home, his wagging tail, those doggy eyes, and that paw lifted up to get your attention. If you’re feeling down, he’ll come and cheer you up. If you’re feeling mean, he’ll instantly forgive you. He’ll always love you, and will never judge you.
All he asks in return is food, shelter and kindness.
And that’s the main point. Being a dog lover isn’t a good enough reason to get a dog. That faithful hound will be with you for many years, so it’s a big time commitment.
Over that time you’ll need to feed and walk him, look after him when he’s old or unwell, and make sure he doesn’t get lonely or neglected. Do you have the time, the space, and the money to keep him happy?
It's all about keeping the dog happy - like this huge armful of Labrador Retriever!
Things For Dog Owners To Consider
These are some of the fundamental questions you should ask yourself before becoming a dog owner:
- Can you afford it? Food and vet bills will have to be covered in your budget. Your dog needs a balanced, nutritious diet, and at some point or other he’s going to need a trip to the vet. And then there are kennel or dog-sitter bills, and perhaps grooming and clipping bills too.
- Do you have the space? Dogs need to spend lots of time outdoors. An apartment with no garden access will not suit many types of dog - although some are far less needy than others in this respect.
- Do you like your home to be spotless? Most dog will shed hair, and bring in mud, water, and general messiness. He’ll be a bit smelly, too, especially when he’s wet. Dogs are not ideal for the overly house-proud!
- Are you away from home for most of the working week? A home-alone dog is a sad beast, and some breeds will get cabin fever after just a few hours. You can arrange for house-sitters and dog-walkers to fill in when you’re not around, but you need to ask yourself – will having a dog really fit your busy lifestyle?
Is he happy? You can't tell just by looking at his face, as this perfectly happy Pug demonstrates!
- Have you spent time with dogs before? A cute puppy is one thing, someone else’s dog is another; but owning an adult dog of your own is a whole different ball game.
- Does anyone in your household have a serious pet allergy? Some allergies are worse than others. But for someone who has a violent asthmatic response to dogs, the choice is clear – either don’t get a dog, or look at hypoallergenic dog breeds.
- Does the rest of your household think it’s a good idea? Talk about your dog-owning plans with everyone it might affect. Some may be scared of dogs, some may be allergic, others may be worried about mess, noise, and neighbors… so always talk it through at length.
- Do you have other pets? An existing dog, or a cat, may have something to say on the matter! Sometimes they’ll all get on famously, and even a cat may have a positive – or neutral, at least – response to a puppy. A full grown canine arrival is a lot for a cat to handle, though.