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Are You Prepared to Have A Dog?

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So, you’re thinking about getting a dog? According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, over 37% of US households have dogs, so why not own a dog yourself?

Well, although a dog might seem like a good idea, it is best to do at least a preliminary checklist to see if you are prepared. Some people get a dog for the wrong reasons and do not really think about what it takes to own a dog, or the type of dog they are getting.

Time and time again, at the drop of a hat a dog is taken home, only to be dropped off at the local animal shelter a week later because the owner decided they weren’t ready to be a dog owner. In fact, nearly half of the dogs in shelters were brought in because their owners decided they were too much for them to handle.

This makes it imperative for anyone considering to take home a dog to fist evaluate their lifestyle and do a little research about the dog they were getting.  This will dramatically increase your chance to enjoy your new pooch all the better as you will be more prepared.

Deciding to add a dog to your family is an important decision and like any important decision, educating yourself is the first big step. So, if you’re reading this article, that means you are headed in the right direction! Throughout this article you will learn the reasons people might get a dog, both good and bad, as well as important things you should think about before making your way down to the pet store.

 

Reasons People Get Dogs

People decide to get a dog for a variety of reasons, some are very good reasons and others…well, not so much. If you are considering bring a four-legged friend into the family, it is important to ask yourself why you are thinking about getting a dog. Is a dog something a furry companion you have been wanting for you since childhood, or are you being pressured by your spouse, and children in your decision. What does getting a dog mean to you? To give you an idea of what a good reason to get a dog is vs. a bad reason, we have made a list of reasons we hear people say they have decided to get a dog.

Good Reasons to Get a Dog:

  1. Companionship

Dogs are social creatures that thrive on love, affection and compassion. If you are lonesome or if you have an existing pet that is in need of a furry companion, getting a dog could be the perfect solution. The rewards of getting a dog as a companion are enormous, as long as you can invest a bit of your time. Companionship for an existing pet can really make those happy tail wag, especially if one of your pets recently passed away. Just make sure your existing pet isn’t too possessive of you and is willing to share your attention.

  1. Socialization

If you are someone who lives along and has trouble meeting new people, a dog could be just what you need to get back out there. Walks in the park, the Dog Park and even dog education classes are great ways a dog can help you turn into quite a social sally.

  1. Regular Exercise

Research shows that we are more likely to stick to an exercise schedule if we have a workout partner, so why not choose a dog? You can go for a walk, run, swim or bike ride with the motivation of a happy pooch.

  1. Your Kids

Dogs are a great way to teach your child responsibility, compassion for another living thing, friendship and socialization.

 

Bad Reasons to Get a Dog:

 

  1. Impulse

Just because the dog is cute, doesn’t mean he or she should go home with you. We often call this, “Doggie in the Window Syndrome” based on the popular 1950’s novelty song written by Bob Merrill.

 

  1. Guard Dog

If the sole purpose of you getting a dog is to intimidate strangers, then a dog is not for you. Chaining up a dog and telling it to attack anyone who tries to get near the house will result in dangerous behavioral problems. It is in a dog’s nature to protect the ones he loves, so if you want a protector, you have to show him love and compassion.

 

  1. A Fashion Statement

Celebrities like Paris Hilton who parades around with a Chihuahua as an accessory to her outfit is a perfect example of using a dog to make a statement in fashion. Likewise, other celebrates use dogs to make people perceive them as more masculine. A perfect example of this is Rap star, Armando Christian Pérez, professionally known as Pitbull, uses the stage name of pitbull and pitbull breed dogs in his videos to make a more masculine appearance.

 

  1. A Surprise Gift

The decision to get a dog should never be made by anyone other than you.

 

  1. Nagging Children

Never go against your better judgment. If you feel your children are not ready to own a dog, don’t let them pressure you.

 

Things to Think About Before Getting a Dog

A dog isn’t just a new toy that you can just get rid of when are tired of playing with it. A dog is a living, breathing thing that will be a life-long commitment. Think of a dog like a new baby, they change everything! Before you get a dog, you need to think about your lifestyle, time, monthly expenses and how a dog will fit into all of that.

Expenses

You know everything costs money, so keep that in mind when you are considering getting a dog. Make sure your monthly budget has enough room for the following:

  • Cost to purchase a dog
  • Dog supplies (dog bed, food bowl, toys)
  • Dog food
  • Veterinary bills
  • Flea, tick and other parasite preventative medications

Lifestyle

Dogs thrive off of love and attention, so you will need to spend more than an hour a day with him. Make sure your lifestyle will fit that of a dog by asking yourself:

  • Do I have the time to walk, feed, groom, play and exercise a dog?
  • Am I home long enough to give the dog the attention he needs?
  • Is my apartment or home big enough for a dog?

 

The most important question to ask yourself when you are unsure whether or not you are prepared to have a dog is; Am I able to make a lifetime commitment to a dog? The average dog lives approximately 12-15 years, so this means that you have to think of dog ownership in the long-term, not just today. If your reason for wanting a dog fell under the good reasons of dog ownership, your expenses will meet the needs of a dog and you answered “yes” to the lifestyle questions, you are likely prepared to have a dog. However, if you feel hesitant in anyway about dog ownership after reading this article, you are probably not prepared to have a dog right now.

Resources: American Veterinary Medical Association, ASPCA, The Kennel Club