So you think you want a dog?
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So you think you want a dog?

Dogs
Life As A Pet Parent

Have you been offered a dog or puppy, and it occurs to you that despite not really having considered having a dog before now, you might quite like one? Perhaps you have to let the current owner know quickly, and so you have to make your decision in a hurry. It all seems fairly straightforward; after all, a good percentage of the population keep dogs, so it can’t be too hard, right? Wrong!If you have decided that having a dog in your life would be ok; maybe you know someone who is selling puppies cheaply, or have just Googled and realised how easy it is to find someone who will sell you a dog or puppy for under a couple of hundred pounds, then this article is for you.As a potential future dog owner, you are probably reading this article because you know that you have to do some research, and that you should find out more about the needs of dogs and check that you have everything you need before going out and buying one. Will you find this information in this article? Well, yes and no. In this article, we will touch very briefly upon the basic needs and requirements of dogs and puppies, plus try to give you an insight into the kind of impact that having a dog will have upon your life, and the kind of commitment that it involves.Will this article take you from start to finish, from the formation of the idea to being ready to own a dog? No. But neither will any other article either, and you have to start somewhere! A dog may be the perfect pet for you; but you need to read more than one article, and spend more than one day, to be able to find this out.Read on to learn about the basic care needs and considerations to account for with dogs, plus some pointers on how to decide if the idea is worthy of more research or should be ruled out in short order.

Don’t rush!

Getting a dog is not something that should happen overnight. If you decide that you want a dog, then yes, theoretically you may well be able to go out and buy one and come home with it within just a couple of days. But in terms of giving your new dog or puppy the best start to their new life with you, you should take your time and learn more about dogs and their needs, plus how to choose the right dog. If someone has offered you a dog or puppy and expects a decision right away or wants you to take the dog on the spot, always walk away. Not only will you need to do a significant amount of planning and research before deciding on the right dog and how to care for them, but no responsible dog owner would seek to re-home their dog in a hurry in this way.

How expensive is it to keep a dog?

The cost of buying a dog can vary greatly, going from free to several thousand pounds, but the day-to-day costs of keeping dogs are generally fairly uniform. How much your dog eats will of course depend upon their size, and what you feed your dog can have a significant impact upon how costly feeding is as well. Alongside of food, you will also need to buy a significant amount of other equipment, such as beds and bedding, collars and leads, bowls, coats, toys, a crate, and much more! Depending on the type of dog that you get, you may also need to arrange to have them professionally groomed regularly to keep them in good condition.The cost of routine veterinary care for dogs can work out very expensive too. As a responsible dog owner you should seriously consider having your dog insured, and the cost of insurance can run from £10 to over £50 per month, depending on your dog and your insurance policy. Even if your dog is fully insured, you will still have to pay out of pocket for routine treatments, including spaying or neutering, which can cost a couple of hundred pounds, microchipping, vaccinations at around £50 per year, and regular flea and worming treatments that can total another £100 or so per year.

How much time do you need to devote to a dog?

Dogs are a high-maintenance pet, and not one that can be left alone for long periods of time. If you work an eight hour day, you will need to make provision for your dog’s entertainment and exercise during the working day, as dogs should not be left alone for more than four or five hours at a time. Plus, what will happen to your dog if you go away on holiday? Pet sitters and boarding kennels are viable options to care for your dog while you are gone, but it is important to think about this before going ahead and taking on a dog.Even if you are at home for most of the day, do you like walking, and are you prepared to take your dog out to exercise for at least an hour a day and preferably more? What about if it is cold, or raining or snowing? Another important factor to note is that as a responsible dog owner and to be compliant with the law, you must pick up after your dog. This means getting up close and personal with the poop, bagging it and carrying it with you until you can get to a suitable bin to dispose of it.Training your dog is vitally important, and it would be a mistake to assume that if you get an older dog, this will already have been taken care of. Training is an ongoing lifelong process, and you will need to learn about training and obedience and gain the skills to put this into practice with your own dog.

Dogs are amazing pets and good companions, but they are not for everyone. Simply because they are popular as pets and many people own one doesn’t mean that they are an easy or low maintenance pet, nor that just because a dog can survive without optimum care and training, that they should. If you have read through the above information on the cost in time and money of taking on a dog and are already looking at ways to cut corners, perhaps a dog is not the pet for you.You can always change your mind at a later date or wait until your situation is different to get a dog, but once you have taken one on, reversing that decision and finding your dog a new good home is not so easy!

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