What to think about before getting a dog
Being a dog owner has many rewards including loyalty, comfort and companionship but the decision to adopt one should not be taken lightly. When you welcome a new pet into your home, you will find that your life is suddenly filled with new responsibilities and costs, so it is important to lay the groundwork first.
The Kennel Club recognises 215 breeds of dog, and there are also countless cross-breeds, so the first consideration is which one will complement your lifestyle and personality. Miniature poodles and toy dogs, like Chihuahuas, don’t need as much exercise so could make the ideal choice for retired people or those who are at home during the day. On the other hand, energetic working dogs such as border collies might be more suitable for active families who can spend long afternoons chasing around the park.
If you are introducing a dog into a home with children you should also think about how they will interact with them, for example, little ones may be frightened of larger, more boisterous dogs. Some breeds, for example playful but gentle Labradors, can make perfect family pets but the best way to determine the compatibility between your children and chosen dog is to book a home visit beforehand.
Over a life-time, the cost of owning a dog can run into thousands of pounds. Food, micro-chipping, toys, vets’ bill and insurance are all expensive and on top of that you may also have to budget for training if you are getting a puppy and grooming for long-haired dogs.
Of course, going on holiday with your pooch is one of the best things about having a pet and the memories of walking along a beach before retreating to a cosy pub will last a life-time. Many attractions, accommodation providers and restaurants are now dog-friendly but it is always worth researching a destination on the Dog People website before you travel. If you are going abroad you will need to obtain a pet passport and details can be found on the Government website.
Boarding kennels are another option if you are planning to travel extensively, however they can be expensive and your loyal companion may suffer separation anxiety while you are gone.
Perhaps more than any other pet, dogs need a serious investment of time, whether it’s a daily walk, training classes or even just playing indoors. Like humans, dogs can become extremely lonely if they are left in the house all day so if you live alone and work long hours it is worth thinking about whether you can invest in a trained dog walker or make sure a friend or neighbour can pop in and take them out for a breath of fresh air.
There is no denying that training and caring for a dog is a huge commitment but if you choose the breed carefully and prepare well you can look forward to years of fun and devotion.
2 December 2015
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