Having a pet dog can bring you a lifetime of fun and happy memories. But before you make the decision to get a dog, there are a few very important steps to take:
DO YOUR RESEARCH: Think about which dog ( if any! ) will suit your family and lifestyle. Certain breeds may be attractive to you because of their appearance or popularity ( ‘Designer Breeds’ ) but do you really know what the needs of this specific breed of dog are, potential health problems or exercise requirements?? Ask your friends about their dogs and find out more about the breeds you like.
DECIDE WHETHER TO ‘SHOP OR ADOPT’: There are so many abandoned and stray dogs which end up in our local shelters and pounds every day. Unfortunately, for the unlucky ones, their fate is not a pleasant one. Before you decide to buy a dog, why not consider giving a rescue dog a second chance at a happy life. Talk to the staff at your local shelter about the dogs they have looking for homes.They also often have puppies, if this is your preference. If you are going to buy a pedigree dog, only go to a reputable breeder. Never buy from shops or through newspaper or online adverts where many breeds are listed, as this could mean that a puppy is from a puppy farm. There is no sense in keeping puppy farms in business! Make sure that you see all the paperwork when you visit the puppy.
BE PREPARED: Owning a dog is a long-term commitment and expense. Dogs can live for up to 15 years or more! There are many costs to consider: food / toys / collar & lead / bowls / bed / vet bills / insurance / training classes and that is just to start with! If you own a dog, you have a responsibility to that dog to be able to provide all the essential items to ensure that dog’s comfort and to be able to afford all the veterinary care it needs, not only when your dog is unwell but to provide regular preventative care (eg) parasite control and vaccinations. Dogs also need your time and attention. Some breeds will need much more mental stimulation and exercise than others or they may become destructive.
The 10 Commandments of Responsible Pet Ownership
- Annual Health Assessment & Vaccinations
- Feed the right food
- Neuter at 6 months
- Microchip Identification
- Pet Health Insurance
- Dental Care is Vital
- Prevent Fleas & Worms & Ticks
- Train your Pet Well
- Exercise for Life
- Have Fun!!!!
So, to quote the famous phrase ‘ A dog is for life, not just for Christmas ‘, maybe think twice and then think again before making the decision to get a dog for you or for somebody else this holiday season.