Are You Ready to Own a Dog?
Owning a dog can be a hugely satisfying experience. Man’s best friends can be fantastic companions, and can add another dimension to family life. Many people think of owning a dog and associate it with long walks in the park on a summer’s evening, cuddles on the sofa and acute interaction and game playing. People also think of dogs as useful guards for their property, and as valuable companions for their partners or children.
However, with owning a dog comes a huge responsibility. There are many other things people don’t think so much about before making that commitment and buying or adopting a dog. Illness, vaccinations, diseases, fights with other animals can lead to extortionately high vet bills. Dogs are also extremely energetic and active animals that need to be taken for walks once a day â€“ even when it’s cold and raining. They are also very attached to their owners â€“ this adds a huge burden when you want to go on holiday. Dogs can also be very messy â€“ you’ll suddenly find your house gets dirty quicker; paw prints, molting fir and specs of mud will become part of your home decor. Finally, don’t forget the day-to-day costs of owning a dog; food, treats, vitamins, grooming, medicinesâ€¦ it all adds up. Owning a dog is a fantastic experience, but ensure you have thought about the above, and have prepared the following, before you commit.
Shelter and fencing
Both indoor and outdoor dogs will need a shelter of some description. For outdoor dogs, make sure you have a garden that is fully fenced. They will also need a kennel, which they can sleep in at night, shelter from the heat in the summer and keep dry and warm in the winter. Indoor dogs will need a dedicated area that is shut off from the rest of the house to protect your furniture and other belongings at night. This needs to contain somewhere comfortable for them to sleep, which should be a consistent temperature.
Before you get a dog, ensure that your garden is suitable. Dogs will want to go outside often and will naturally start digging and chewing on plants and shrubs. Therefore, make sure you do not have any poisonous or toxic plants in your garden. Also, make sure you have all the tools needed to clean up after your dog, which will inevitably go to the toilet in your garden; pooper scoopers and shovels will come in extremely handy.
Food and water
Dogs need access to clean water at all times. They will also need a substantial meal at least twice a day, sometimes three times a day. Treats should also be supplied occasionally to reward good behavior. Puppies, older dogs, or dogs with illnesses, weight problems or allergies will need to be fed a special diet so make sure you are aware of his/her individual needs when selecting food.
Make sure you take your dog for regular check-ups at the vets. You can get pet plans to help you cope with vet bills, which you can buy via an online shop. If you don’t have pet insurance, you’ll need to be prepared if the vet says it needs extra treatment. You’ll also need to be prepared to deal â€“ both physically and emotionally â€“ with your dog through illness.
Training is an important part of dog ownership, and you will need to teach it many things. First, house training. You should buy a litter tray and encourage the dog to use it when you notice he/she is about to go to the toilet. You’ll need to be stocked up on deodorizer, carpet cleaner and litter. You can also use puppy training pads. Give your puppy/dog a reward every time he/she successfully goes to the toilet correctly.
You’ll also need to train your dog how to behave, especially around guests and others outside the house. Neighbors may become agitated by excessive barking, and it generally shouldn’t be encouraged to let your dog beg for human food. Also, when out walking, you’ll need to learn to control your dog around other people and other dogs. There are classes available in dog training and behavior that you might want to consider at the start of ownership.
You must be prepared to take your dog for daily walks and to let it roam in the garden when needed. This will require a variety of accessories you’ll need to buy; a dog lead, pooper-scooper and waste bags, and suitable clothing for both yourself and the dog (if your dog is particularly sensitive to weather). You’ll also need to engage in regular play; ball games and similar activities help to stimulate your dog’s physicality and mentality. Dogs should also be given other toys, such as chewy rings, bones and squeaky rubber toys.
Make sure you regularly groom your dog, check for diseases and clip its claws to ensure general comfort. Also, make sure you pay it regular attention as dog’s need interaction.
Pet Guardian Angels of America This work may be shared through the Creative Common License only if attributed to Pet Guardian Angels of America at http://www.pgaa.com