Should I Get a Dog?

Owning a dog is a great experience for the adults and children alike. It can teach responsibility and the relationship between you and your dog can be very rewarding.  But not everyone has the time necessary to give a dog the attention and care it requires.  Owning a dog can be time-consuming and will place constraints on your schedule as well as your wallet.

Here are some factors to consider before getting a dog:

  1. Does everyone in the family or household want a dog?
  2. Will someone be able to feed the dog regularly and take him for walks?
  3. Is there someone to care for your dog if you need to go away?
  4. You will need to have time to housebreak your dog.
  5. A dog's lifespan can be as long as 20 years.
  6. You will also need to consider whether or not you can afford a dog. Costs will include accessories such as food, bowls, beds, toys, collar, leash, treats, and also the more expensive part of pet ownership such as vaccinations, heartworm prevention, flea treatments, regular vet visits and unexpected veterinarian visits due to injury or sickness.  Boarding is also a consideration if you go away and don't have a family member or friend who can care for your dog while you are gone.
  7. You will have to decide what size dog is most suitable for your living arrangements.  If you rent, contact the landlord before you get a dog to be sure they are allowed in your building.
  8. Keep in mind that large dogs need more space, more exercise and more food. Because they are bigger they will cost more money in every way from vet bills to buying them food to boarding them.
  9. Small dog vs. Large dog: The presence of a big dog may deter potential attackers or intruders by acting like a guard dog, but they may also frighten and knock down young children. Small dogs usually don't fit in with very young children, because can be rough or clumsy and can hurt the animal. As a result, a small breed may become "snappy".  "Lap Dogs" are more suited to adults and older children, and are ideal for small apartments.
  10. Never buy a puppy or dog as a present for someone else without first making sure the person wants to take on the responsibilities of having a dog.  Many dogs are abandoned because the recipient of a "gift" didn't really want a dog.  Also, never get a child a puppy without first making sure it is ok with the child's parents.
  11. Dogs are great companions, however, if no one is going to be home all day, a dog probably is not a good pet choice. Dogs are social creatures and, if left alone all day, may resort to destructive behavior.  See "Separation Anxiety"

Dogs can demand as much time as a child, so take all things into consideration when deciding if a dog is the right pet for you or your family.




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