They say that a dog is man’s best friend. Studies have shown that owning a dog can increase your lifespan and petting your dog regularly can actually improve your heart health. However, owning a dog is a huge responsibility that should not be taken lightly. Below are some things you should know before you get a dog.
Adopt, don’t shop
That puppy in the pet store window may look adorable and seem to be calling your name. However, when looking to get a dog, your first port of call should be your local animal shelter. Not only are you saving a dog’s life when you adopt, but you are also more likely to get a healthier dog as many purebred dogs suffer from genetic disorders. Puppy mills or overbreeding can cause major health problems. Add to this the fact that shelter dogs use your adoption fees to help maintain their rescue centers and adopting is the obvious, if not the only choice.
It’s better to sterilize
Whilst having a litter of puppies may seem fun and exciting, many people forget that the puppies will also need to find homes eventually, which often leads to puppies being abandoned at already overcrowded shelters. Not only that, but the vet costs can be extremely high. And even if you don’t intend for it to happen, there is always a chance of making puppies when your dog is socializing at the park. So best be safe and make sure to sterilize your dog as soon as they are old enough. In fact, many shelters will insist on sterilizing your dog before you can take them home, and some may even include the cost in their adoption fees.
Don’t forget about the vet
Before you get a dog, you need to take the costs into consideration. Not only do you need to pay for food and possibly grooming (depending on their coat type) but you will also need to make sure that you can pay for their vet visits. Dogs, like humans, need to be vaccinated against preventable diseases and require regular check-ups to make sure that they are healthy and fit. Whilst some insurance companies do offer pet medical insurance, it is important to make sure that you have the funds to pay for any visits or procedures that may not be covered. Another important aspect is making sure that you find a good and respectable vet who is good with your animals and who is able to make sure that your dog’s vet visits are as pleasant and trauma-free as possible.
Dogs are social creatures
Like most humans, socializing is a big part of a dog’s life. Socializing is important as it allows them to have fun and let loose and play to their natural pack animal instincts. This means that it is imperative that your dog is able to socialize with other dogs – whether by having multiple dogs or taking your dog on regular outings to parks or dog-friendly venues. Lonely dogs can be quite destructive and may even become aggressive, so if you are unable to allow them to socialize, for whatever reason, perhaps you may want to consider looking at getting a different pet that is not as social.