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Should I Get a Dog? 8 Things To Keep In Mind

should i get a dog
Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / Seaq68

Should you get a dog? Adopting a pet is a big decision. Animal companionship can be invaluable, but there are some important considerations. Read on to learn more.

Most people who have had dogs will tell you the joy and companionship they can bring. Dogs are loyal, loving and fun, and can add zest to your life. A dog’s unique character and personality can make it one of the best friends you’ll ever have.

Humans and canines have had a long, productive relationship. There are a huge number of dog breeds and cross-breeds all over the world. Sadly, in addition to those living with human companions, many are without homes. Countless dogs live on the street or in shelters, and some are euthanized when there is no space to house them.

So — when asking yourself, “should I get a dog?” take the time to make an informed decision.

Everyone has seen the public service ads about not getting a dog for Christmas; shelter rates rise significantly after the holidays. Furthermore, getting a dog for good, noble reasons like keeping an elderly relative company can be tempting. However, it’s important to consider what the future may hold and where they’ll end up if their companion is no longer around.

Pets are not toys but individual beings who also have needs and desires. We must try, to our best ability, to meet such needs, and add value to their lives as well. Here are some crucial things to keep in mind before adopting a dog.

1. Time

When asking "Should I get a dog?" you should also ask, "Have I got the time?"
When asking “Should I get a dog?” you should also ask, “Have I got the time?” (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / Lepale)

When thinking about adopting a canine family member, assess the amount of time you have to offer. Dogs, like humans, are social animals and need companionship. It is not enough to simply walk a dog first thing in the morning, go to work for long hours and pop around the block before bedtime.

Dogs long for your company and may pine or feel lonely while you’re away. This doesn’t mean you have to be with your dog 24/7, but consider how it feels to be left alone for long periods. When you bring a dog into your life, you should be ready to give it quality time and interaction.

If you don’t have much time and are always busy and away from home, then the answer to “should I get a dog?” should probably be “no” — or at least, “not yet.” It is unfair to a pet to bring them into your life when they’ll spend a lot of time lonely.

2. Finances

Dogs can be expensive. You need to feed them, pay for insurance to cover vet bills, and have enough money to keep them comfortable with little things like dog beds and treats. You may also find it costly to take your dog on vacations or if you move abroad. You will also need to give your dog stimulation (toys) and possibly adapt your vehicle.

A dog’s diet is also essential. It affects their overall health and can change over the dog’s lifetime, so you must also factor this into the cost of getting a dog.

You might want to make a budget to help you decide if you can afford a dog. There are a number of online calculators to give you a good idea of what you need.

3. Space

Can you share your home with a pet?
Can you share your home with a pet? (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / SarahRichterArt)

If you live in a small flat or don’t have access to outside space, owning a dog may not be suitable for you. Dogs need room to move around and play.

A well-trained and loved dog can be an excellent companion to share your time and space with. It should be able to move around relatively freely. It is also a good idea for dogs to have a safe space if they feel unwell or afraid. This will give them a feeling of security. A dog kennel or cage, with the door kept open, is a good option.

Dogs shouldn’t be kept outside in doghouses 24/7 or chained all day. If you don’t have enough room to house them comfortably inside overnight and away from the elements, getting a dog might not be the best choice.

4. Love

Should you get a dog? A dog's love is unconditional.
Should you get a dog? A dog’s love is unconditional. (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / StockSnap)

One major reason you may want a dog is that you have lots of love to give. So — will the dog you want have a better life after you adopt it? Many people are choosing to give their love to dogs who have abusive or difficult pasts. Shelters are full of dogs who would make amazing companions. Some may need a little more time and encouragement if they have been through a hard time.

A dog’s love is unconditional. Can you offer them that love in return? If the answer is yes, you might be ready to visit your local shelter to look for your new furry friend.

5. Mess

It’s true that dogs and children are alike in some respects. One of these is the ability to make a mess. If you have a hard time with messes or picking up after things, you may be in for a rough ride. It is vital to clean up after dogs and keep their living areas clean and sanitary. If you aren’t if you can handle the mess, consider volunteering at a local pet shelter to an idea of what cleaning up after dogs is really like. You might meet the dog for you while you’re there.

6. Commitment and Future Plans

Can you factor a dog into your future plans?
Can you factor a dog into your future plans? (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / BuonoDelTesoro)

Another key question to consider is what your future holds. If you often change lifestyles and locations, a dog might not suit your life at the moment. Dogs need stability.

But what if you’re thinking of starting a family, moving to a different country, or haven’t thought about your future at all? Countless shelters are filled with dogs that were given up because a new partner doesn’t like them or because of a new baby or life circumstance. Keep in mind it is unfair to an animal to bring it into your life just to give it back if things get inconvenient.

7. Rescue Dogs

A rescue dog can be a perfect buddy.
A rescue dog can be a perfect buddy. (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / Alexas_Fotos)

Have you decided to get a dog? There are many reasons why your first stop should be a dog shelter to take a look at the rescue dogs. It is very rewarding to know you are bringing happiness and opportunity to an abandoned dog, or one rescued from a dangerous or abusive home or who might otherwise be put down. Rescue dogs come in all shapes and sizes, and many long for the love you can give them.

In addition, the staff at animal shelters provide high levels of support and guidance. They want their dogs to find happy forever homes, and often know the dogs well. They can tell you all about their history and personality.

8. Avoid Puppy Farms

Avoid puppy farms and adopt your dog from a shelter.
Avoid puppy farms and adopt your dog from a shelter. (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / dodo71)

Have you sought out or been offered a puppy? Be very careful that you are not adding to the overwhelming number of puppy farms in operation. Key signs may be sellers suggesting meeting in parking lots or service stations. Look for a rescue dog first. There are many dogs in need of loving homes — and shelters often get puppies too.

Dogs from puppy farms can be in poor health or develop health problems later on. Legitimate dog breeders will have their own space and be happy for you to visit more than once. At puppy farms, dogs are continually bred for the sole purpose of making money from the puppies sold. The mothers and puppies are often kept in terrible conditions, and mothers are frequently abandoned or killed when they can no longer breed. Puppies usually aren’t vaccinated and can carry diseases — which is sad for the puppy and quickly cost you more in vet bills.

Be wary of ads for puppies. Look up phone numbers and online reviews. Also make sure to check their documentation, like vaccination certificates. Your local dog shelter may be able to advise you further.

You are now on the road to a loving and long-lasting relationship with your new dog. When you love a dog, you can be sure you’ll get that love back ten times over.

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