8 Things to Know Before Owning a Dog

By on August 26, 2017

Alexandra Seagal is a prolific and widely-read dog blogger who we’re happy to have communicate these great tips about a very important topic. Owning a pet is fun and rewarding, but if you’re not ready for it, you could be making trouble for animals, shelters, and yourself. The last thing anyone wants is to relinquish a companion animal who then becomes a shelter’s responsibility. Your dog in your home forever is the goal.

You can find more of Alexandra’s work on her website, Animalso.com, the Huffington Post, and other places. Thanks to Ms. Seagal for writing this post for us!

So, you’re considering welcoming your first dog into the home, congratulations! Owning a dog is great, but before you get carried away and adopt a dog; have you done the research?

I know what you’re thinking. Everyone has a dog, how hard can it be! But by that logic, everyone has kids, and they’re hard work, trust me – I’ve got two cheeky little ones running around right now!

Taking on a dog is a big responsibility, it’s expensive, and comes with sacrifices. But if you have what it takes to put in the work, they also fill your life with joy, happiness, and provide you with an Instagram feed of cute dog pictures.

So, without any further ado, let’s get to the list.

1. Choosing The Right Dog

Did you know that there are over three-hundred breeds of dogs in the world? Each of which comes with unique exercise, grooming, and nutritional requirements.

You have two main options when on the lookout for a new pooch. Adopt, or shop. I am an advocate for rescuing wherever there is a good fit, but don’t force it. This decision can’t come lightly. Did you know that seven out of ten dogs are returned to rescue centers because the new owners didn’t think it through?

Check out another resource in the Buy Rope dog breed guide.

2. Pet Insurance

One cost that you might not have considered is pet insurance. While it is an added monthly expense, the costs of not having it can be detrimental. Many owners choose not to take out pet insurance, but this could leave you stuck paying thousands of dollars in medical expenses should the unexpected occur.  Using a free budget template can help owners factor in the monthly cost of pet insurance. Ultimately, it may be a life-saver.

Some breeds are prone to certain medical conditions, and insurance companies make certain exclusions from their policies – or charge a small fortune for insuring them.

Before bringing your dog home, take a look at different pet insurance options and see whether you can afford it.

3. Spay and Neuter

Is your dog already spayed or neutered? A lot of the time rescue centers won’t adopt out a pet until they have undergone this procedure – but, if you’re purchasing a puppy – this will be an added expense when they turn six-months-old.

Photo credit: Aubree Sweeney

Photo credit: Aubree Sweeney

4. Food

How much food do you think a Great Dane puppy eats every day? Ten to twelve cups, that’s how much! Before that scares you off – an adult Chihuahua doesn’t eat more than ¾ of a cup, quite the contrast!

Start by making a budget before taking on a dog, and consider how much you can realistically spend on his food every month so that you can find a dog that won’t eat you out of house and home.

There are poor quality dog foods on the market that contain bulking agents and pesticides; it should go without saying but make sure to steer clear of these and purchase high-quality food especially for growing puppies.

If you’re not sure where to begin with dog food, ask your veterinarian – they have years of experience and will be more than happy to help!

5. Training

Potty training, obedience training, crate training, these are all things that your dog most emphatically must learn if you plan on owning a decent member of dog society.

Make sure that you have time in your schedule to fit in training sessions. And I don’t mean a quick five minutes here and there. When you’re training an animal, you’re on their schedule – and you have to do this while maintaining the patience of a saint!

6. Playtime

As important as training is – play is just as important. Many owners arriving home from being at work all day, will punish their dog for acting out.

Daisy of Big Dogs Huge Paws Rescue - Photo credit: Aubree Sweeney

Daisy of Big Dogs Huge Paws Rescue – Photo credit: Aubree Sweeney

If your dog is exhibiting undesired behavior, this is most often a sign that his life is not enriching enough. It’s an owner’s responsibility to make sure their dog has enough exercise, and mental stimulation to be able to accept training when the time comes.

7. During The Day

Are you part of the Dolly Parton club, working the old 9-5! If so, have you considered where your dog will be during the day?

Certain breeds are better at being left alone than others, but if you get a breed well known for suffering from separation anxiety – doggy daycare is another expense you’ll be adding to the budget!

8. Traveling

Love to travel? We all do! But when you’re a dog owner – you have to think about what will happen to Fido while you’re away for the weekend.

In the beginning, friends will likely jump at the chance to look after him, but be prepared for this excitement to wane, and hey presto – now you get to add dog sitting costs to the trip budget!

Is It For You?

The hard work of owning a dog is not something to be sniffed at, and if you’re not utterly, 100%, without a shadow of a doubt ready for all of this commitment, that’s ok.

There are many other ways for you to get your fur-baby fix, including signing up for a dog walking service to not only get some dog time, but get paid for it too. Win win!

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