Dogs are our fur babies, our best friends, and our loyal companions. They entertain us, protect us, keep us company, and help us eat any food that we drop under the dining table. Your relationship with your canine companion can be one of the most rewarding in your life. However, a dog is more than just for Christmas. Here are some serious factors that you need to consider before getting a pet dog.
How much is that doggie in the window?
Puppies in pet stores are cute but it can be hard to know where they came from. The Humane Society of the United States estimates that there are at least 10,000 puppy mills or commercial dog breeding facilities in the country. Many of these facilities are unregulated and keep breeding dogs in deplorable conditions. Instead of going to a generic pet store, choose a certified puppy-friendly pet store or buy directly from a responsible breeder. When buying from a breeder, be sure to inspect the living conditions of the dogs in person as images and videos posted online can be misleading.
There are thousands of dogs across America in shelters and rescues that are waiting for their forever home. These dogs are just as loving and loveable as pet store dogs and end up in shelters through no fault of their own. Shelters and rescues can help to match you with the perfect dog for your personality and lifestyle. If you want a specific breed, there are numerous breed-specific rescue groups. Furthermore, adopting a dog from a shelter usually costs you less than buying one from a pet store. In return, you receive the priceless knowledge that you gave a dog the second chance that they deserve.
Long walks on the beach
Your home will greatly impact your dog’s quality of life. A shelter or rescue may interview you about your living environment but a pet store will not. Thus, it is up to you to be responsible for choosing the right dog for your space. Younger dogs, bigger dogs, and high-energy breeds need to have more living space so that they can get the exercise that they need to thrive mentally and physically. Dogs that are not allowed to explore, socialize, and burn off energy can become neurotic or depressed and display behaviors that are often interpreted as ‘being naughty.’
Just like with people, you need to spend quality time to build a strong bond with your dog. If you are frequently traveling or spend a large chunk of your day away at work, reevaluate your decision to get a dog. You should set aside at least half an hour a day to play with your dog or take them for a walk. The time that you spend with them helps them to feel secure and reminds them that they are part of your family. For less mobile people, consider adopting a senior dog that does not need as much exercise.
A bad case of loving you
When you adopt an adult rescue dog, they are usually fully vaccinated. If you get a puppy, you should budget up to $500 for the routine first-year vaccinations. Add to this spay or neuter surgery as well as annual heartworm, flea and tick prevention, and deworming, and you have considerable ongoing costs. Furthermore, your dog can get sick just like you do. A trip to the vet for a simple issue can cost a few hundred dollars while a complex issue such as a broken bone or cancer can run up a bill in the tens of thousands. Be sure to have a plan in place for their medical needs.
You would get insurance for your car and your house, so why not your best friend? Dog insurance can help you to manage your dog’s medical bills. A comprehensive dog insurance policy usually covers new and unexpected emergency vet visits, hospitalization, surgery, and prescription medication. Hereditary and chronic conditions are usually included and so is cancer. Dog insurance may also cover diagnostic treatment such as blood tests, x-rays, and ultrasounds. Best of all, you can get a dog insurance policy for less than $20 a month through some insurers. Do your research before you sign up!
Till death do us part
Your dog will not abandon you as you grow older and you should offer them the same level of commitment. Dogs can typically live for more than ten years and the oldest dog in the Guinness World Records lived to be 29. Consider where you will be for the next decade or so. If you think there might be a possibility that you will move cities or countries, be sure to get a dog that will be able to move with you. Air travel is risky for some breeds of dogs while certain regions have bans on specific dog breeds.
Unconditional love is forever. If you give your canine companion the attention and affection that they deserve, they will return it tenfold. Before you get a dog, be sure to thoroughly understand their lifestyle and medical needs so you can help your new friend live their best life.