Owning and caring for a dog is one of the most rewarding experiences, but when facing the decision of how to go about this it’s important to appreciate just what it involves and the options available to you. With the number of relinquished or abandoned dogs steadily rising, more and more people nowadays are considering adopting a rescue dog. Not only are you providing a good home for a dog in need but also potentially saving their life. This makes adoption a wonderful thing, but make sure you’ve considered the following factors so that wherever your new furbaby comes from you can be the best owner possible!
First and foremost, it’s vital to think about how a dog would fit in with your schedule and home life to check that you have time for the love and attention they demand. If you have kids, is everyone on board with the decision and are happy to help with the responsibilities where possible? We all know it’s hard to resist the pleas of our children for a furry friend, but be sure you’re getting a dog for the right reasons and not just as a result of being backed into a corner. It’s good to plan who would be in charge of regular tasks such as walking and feeding the dog, and that someone would always be around at the relevant times to do these. If you have a hectic routine and would struggle to be regularly available, then it’s probably best to rethink this decision until you have more time to dedicate to a pet. Don’t forget, your dog will need walking come rain or shine so be confident that you would be able to put their needs first!
Dogs have personalities and characters just as we do, so it’s important to choose one that is compatible with you and your lifestyle. Different breeds have different natures, so undertaking research first means you can be sure you’re getting the perfect pet. If you enjoy a nice walk but not hours and hours of playtime, then a dog with high energy levels wouldn’t be well suited to you. As a good rule, aim to choose a dog with an energy level equal to your own so you can be confident you’ll both be compatible and satisfied. If you yourself are older, then why not consider a senior dog to which you may be more sensitive to the needs? Older dogs can often be overlooked in favour of new puppies but they require less exercise and in return provide equal measures of love and affection. If you are set on a puppy then consider all this entails thoroughly. They may be excitable and small at first, but puppies need effective training and socialisation to make sure they develop into good natured and are well behaved adult dogs, which in turn can require extra time and resources – so make sure you’re up for the challenge!
Dogs require various medical treatments throughout their life, and often some unpredicted ones. Be prepared for the costs and care this involves, and work out whether this is affordable for you. Likewise, the regular costs of owning a dog add up and may be more than you think, so why not research thoroughly what these are on average per breed (£16k – 31k depending on the size of the dog), or speak to friends and family members that have a dog so you can be confident this is manageable in your current situation. Initial costs of dog ownership include: the purchase price, neutering, initial vaccination course, microchipping and accessories. Ongoing costs include: food, boosters, insurance, toys, grooming, worming and potentially kennel fees for during holidays.
Dogs may demand a lot in terms of time and commitment, but in return the unconditional love they give is unparalleled and most owners find they gain a new member of the family! Many adopt a dog to make a difference and provide a home for an animal in need, so if you’re confident you can comfortably do this within your means then it could well be the best decision you ever make.