Are you thinking about becoming a dog owner? Here’s a checklist of what to think about before you do so.
Environment: Is your home dog friendly?
- Ideally you’ll need a secure garden with free access. If this isn’t possible, then regular trips outside are necessary, preferably to somewhere that has grass.
- When your dog will be home alone, you need to decide whether they’ll be kept inside or outside. If it’s the latter, will your neighbours mind if your dog barks and will there be comfortable shelter?
Time - Do you have enough free time for a dog?
- Many dogs learn to cope with being home alone, but research suggests that these dogs are more likely to develop ‘bad habits’ or stress/anxiety related disorders.
- While some breeds may require or tolerate less exercise than others, it is absolutely vital that every dog is taken out every day to keep them happy. Mental stimulation is essential for your dog.
Cost - Can you afford the upkeep of a dog? Dog ownership is a large financial commitment, including:
- One-off costs: the purchase or adoption of a puppy or adult dog, microchipping and neutering.
- Ongoing costs: food, flea and worm treatment, vet bills, annual vaccinations, insurance, grooming, pet passports if you travel abroad, Kennel Club registration for a pedigree and training sessions.
- Accessory costs: collars, leads, shampoo, brushes, comfortable bedding, feeding bowls, poo bags - the list goes on!
Breed - Be sure to choose a breed with temperament and exercise requirements that fit your lifestyle.
- Base your decision on how much time you have and whether you live in the country or city. Sporting and working breeds, such as gundogs, farm dogs, hounds, etc, require a lot more exercise and stimulation than others. Similarly, a smaller breed is not going to be the pawfect running partner.
- If you have children, choose a breed that’s patient and even tempered.
- Consider your own experience with dogs as some are more responsive or easier to train than others.
- Look back at why a breed was originally bred. For example, a Border Collie was bred to run around the farm all day and Beagles were born to sniff.
- Size matters, so consider how much space your home and car has, along with your handling skills, before committing to a dog. Larger breeds tend to be more expensive to house, feed, insure and care for medically, so be sure to budget for this.
- Grooming - would you prefer a dog with a non shedding coat that requires regular grooming and clipping or do you prefer a shorter, more easy care coat that sheds naturally?
- Research common maladies that can affect certain breeds so you’re aware of what to watch out for during their life.
- Insurance companies often won’t provide cover for specific physical ailments that are common within certain pedigree breeds (eg hip dysplasia in an Alsatian or soft palate surgery in a brachycephalic breed). Crossbred dogs are more likely to receive broader policy cover so this is also something to consider.
If you’d like to learn about dog ownership before getting a dog of your own, why not join BorrowMyDoggy? You can sign up to help take care of local dogs, get to know different breeds and and learn what dog ownership is all about.
Owners Katherine and Peter originally joined BorrowMyDoggy as borrowers to learn about dog ownership before getting a dog of their own. After spending a couple of months helping out local dogs, they got a dog of their own, George the miniature Dachshund, and signed him up to share his puppy love and ensure he received pawsome doggy care.