Have you been hit by dog adoption fever? Have you suddenly had an urge to add a dog to your family? Perhaps it was a soulful photo posted in the newspaper by your local shelter that got to you. Or maybe you just feel it’s time for a new companion.
No matter the reason for catching the dog-adoption bug, owning a dog can change your life in many good ways, and you can help a dog have a good life too!
A dog can help an owner get more exercise, feel less alone, laugh more, and express his or her sense of nurture. Most dogs provide plenty of enjoyment that balances out the amount of work they require.
Making the decision to adopt a dog should be well thought-out, though, especially if you’ve never owned a dog before.
Here are some requirements of dog ownership you might want to think through before ever setting foot in a dog adoption centre:
- Should You Get A Dog for the Children? Adopting a dog may be perfect for the family with adolescent children, and maybe not so perfect for the family with young children. Young children require enough work themselves that a dog is sometimes at risk of being neglected by busy owners. Some pre-teens and teens will find caring for a furry pet enjoyable and comforting. Having a good canine friend to talk to can be helpful to some youths. Don’t assume your children or teens will take on the maintenance of the dog, though. The novelty is sure to wear off. Unless there is an adult committed to stepping up to the task of caring for the dog, don’t proceed.
- How Much Exercise Does a Dog Need? Few dogs are satisfied with just playing in their own back yard. Most want to explore other territories. Young dogs want opportunities to run, fetch and play with other dogs too. Visiting a fenced-in dog park is a great idea. Dogs should be leash-walked several times a week too. Most dogs love variety, but even walking the same route is interesting since the scents, sights and sounds will change from day to day. Most dogs can never have too many walks. Monitor the weather to avoid the danger of frostbite or overheating.
- Is Dog Walking Hard? Training a dog to walk on a leash without pulling is one of the main challenges most new owners face. There are many suggestions about how to train your dog to stop pulling. It will be up to you to experiment and find what works best. Your new dog will need plenty of walks in the early days as you bond with each other and it gets established. It will be easier to carry on a walking schedule if there’s already an outdoor-loving person in the family since a dog needs walking in all seasons. If most members of your family are couch potato types, owning a dog may be problematic. An unexercised dog may act up in an effort communicate its needs.
- What Does Crating or Kenneling Mean? Crating or kenneling is optional and sometimes helpful in the early days of owning a dog until it becomes more settled. A crate is a portable enclosure especially designed for a dog. A kennel is a more permanent structure, like a fenced-in area or doghouse. A pet boarding facility is commonly referred to as a kennel too. Crating a dog can be significantly helpful to both the owner and the dog. A dog usually feels safe in the small space of a crate. Crating a dog may be the solution to keep a dog out of mischief when you have to go out. Sometimes dogs feel they need to guard the house and guarding a large open house can be overwhelming, which is sometimes why a dog misbehaves or has an accident. Putting it into a crate or even a smaller room such as a laundry room may make the dog feel more secure. Crating can also help a dog become more independent, especially if it’s prone to following its owner around the house.
- What Is Grooming? The level of grooming you choose for your dog is up to you. If a dog walks on pavement, chances are its claws will file down from hitting the pavement. Otherwise, dog claws should be trimmed before they begin to curl under. Either use the services of a dog groomer or buy a nail trimmer and trim them yourself. Clipping the hair between the dog’s toes will prevent the dog from slipping around on bare floors or gathering snowballs between its toes in the winter. You can shave your dog’s fur yourself and bath him with his favourite smelling dog shampoo or pay a professional groomer to do it. Basic claw trimming is usually under twenty-dollars and may not require an appointment. A full grooming session may take over two hours and require an appointment depending on what you order. A bath, shave, claw trim, and ear cleaning combination will cost between fifty to a hundred dollars.
- What other Expenses Are There? As for other costs, there will be an adoption fee and a fee for spaying or neutering the dog if required. Basic expenses include a leash, dog dishes, food, and perhaps biodegradable refuse bags. Add to that a yearly veterinarian check-up fee, and bills for its vaccination, flea and tick treatment, dog license, and possibly dog obedience classes. Owning a dog can easily cost more than four-hundred dollars a year.
Owning a dog will change your life. You won’t do anything without thinking first about how the dog will fit in.
If you’ve read all the tips above and want to proceed with dog adoption, take a step. Visit a dog adoption centre. Try walking one of their dogs, if possible. Ask questions of the professionals while you’re there.
When you’re ready to choose your pet, research its breed, if possible, so you can anticipate its idiosyncrasies. Ask the adoption centre volunteers to fill you in on what they’ve learned about the dog you’re interested in so you can choose the dog that best fits your lifestyle.
About the Author:
Hi, I’m Lucy Sheppard, founder of Petsinlive– A pets product review website that assists you in making better and well-informed decisions.