With more people owning pets in the UK than ever before, it is estimated that over 26% of the adult population own a dog. That amounts to an astonishing 9.9 million owned in the UK alone. With that in mind, it is important to consider the implications of what you are letting yourself in for when committing to a furry friend.
Dogs are certainly a favourite among animal lovers. Not only mans best friend but a loving, loyal companion for the whole family to cherish. Whether you are looking for a family pet or company for a singleton, each individual dog and breed comes with it’s own list of considerations which would be owners all to often fail to take into account.
Before you take on this life time commitment, it is important you give careful thought to a number of factors.
Which dog is right for me?
Just because you have found a dog that looks cuddly and adorable, that particular breed might not be right for you or your family. Consider the particular behaviours and needs of the dog you are looking at. Do they mix well with children? Are they pack dogs? Do they need a lot of exercise? Do they have certain health issues? Do they get territorial? Do they need a lot of grooming?
It is important that your new addition fits in perfectly and feels happy and content in their new home, so all of these factors need careful consideration.
Do I want the commitment?
Pets require a lot of love and affection. Dogs in particular thrive off companionship a rely on human care for their day to day needs. They need regular walks, to be fed, watered, some need specialist grooming and veterinary visits. They do not like to be left alone for long periods of time and can not easily board a plane with you for your next holiday. Do you work long hours? Do you travel a lot? Do you live alone or can someone walk the dog if you are unable to? Is this a novelty which will wear off or does the whole family understand that this is a commitment for many years to come?
All too often, families realise that their new lovable addition has become no more than an added responsibility which they do not have the time to care for. Many, many animals end up in shelters when their owners are no longer able to care for them or no longer want to. Worse still, at any given time, there are estimated 100,000 dogs and countless cats without homes in the UK, left to fend for themselves on the streets.
Do things properly
If you are serious about owning a dog and giving it a proper loving, caring home, do your research. Find the right animal for the right environment and consider adoption or rehoming instead. By doing this, you are giving your new furry friend a second chance at life. A second chance to be loved and cared for and to show you just how rewarding owning a dog can actually be.
Remember, any responsible owner will tell you that the companionship, love and affection you get from the relationship with your dog, far outweighs the responsibilities that come with it.