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Puppy sitting on grass

6 important things to consider before getting a dog

 

Having a dog in your life is amazing and can bring so many positives.

Fun, play, long leisurely walks, cuddles, a stronger immune system (honestly), and then there’s that complete and utter unconditional love. They really do love you like nobody else.

But with all that fun, fur and energy come equal amounts of responsibility, commitment and effort.

So, if you’re thinking of getting a dog, but aren’t quite sure that it’s right for you, we’ve put together a list of those ‘boring but sensible’ things you might want to consider before making a final decision.

Can I afford it?

Admittedly, it seems wrong talking about money when it comes to getting a dog. I mean, it’s going to be family, isn’t it? 

But the reality is that approximately 200 dogs are abandoned in the UK every day. And, with 69% of new dog owners underestimating the monthly costs it’s a significant factor.

Being realistic about your finances is not only the right thing to do but the kindest too.

Statistics from the PDSA show that the average monthly cost of owning a dog is between £70 – £105. And that’s if everything runs smoothly.

More than you thought?

Do I have the time?

The first few weeks with a puppy are both fabulous and challenging.

Between feeding, toilet trips, training, playing and clearing up the mess, you’ll be hard pushed to find time for anything else.

By looking at our Puppy Crate Training Schedule you can get a good understanding of the time and work involved in those early days, and how busy an average day will be for both you and Puppy.

And while this level of intensity and discipline don’t last forever, a grown-up pooch will still need daily walks, regular grooming, vet’s trips, training, feeding, play and whatever else it takes to look after their general health and wellbeing.

If you’re already busy, whether you’d have the time to care for a dog properly deserves some serious thought.

Puppy sitting on grass

Having a dog in your life is amazing and can bring so many positives.

Is my living space suitable?

The size and location of your home may have to play a part in ‘Doggy’ decision making.

A big dog doesn’t always require a large space and vice versa, so understanding which type of dog best suits your living space is worthy of some research.

All dogs need regular toilet breaks throughout the day, and at least one good walk in the fresh air, so easy access to open space is essential.

And if you’re renting, make sure to check with your landlord that pets are allowed before taking any furry friends home.

What about my other pets?

If you’ve got existing pets, and we’re mostly talking about cats that roam around your home, don’t panic. Cats and dogs can happily live together, but you will need to spend a lot of time carefully introducing your new family member.

Gray cat

Be aware that your cat will need somewhere they can escape to quickly, so they don’t feel in danger.

You must never leave a new dog alone with your cat until you know they’re friends. A new dog or puppy might enjoy chasing your cat, but the feeling will not be mutual and could cause a lot of stress and anxiety in your cat.

Be aware that your cat will need somewhere they can escape to quickly, so they don’t feel in danger. A stairgate your cat can slip through between rooms is ideal, and high spots your cat can get to so they can look down on your new family member from above is purrfect (excuse the pun!).

Am I prepared for a bit of disruption?

Are you ok with a certain amount of mess and a few inevitable accidents?  The muddy paw prints in the winter, and puddles by the back door when pup decides that they ‘don’t do’ rain?

And what about Sleepless nights? In the early puppy days, between getting up for toilet breaks and listening out for pup’s noises (especially if they’re particularly nervous or vocal), you’re likely to miss out on a fair bit of sleep. Which is why the first nights at home with a Puppy are often compared with having a new baby. So, if you love your sleep, a puppy might not be right for you.

Having a four-legged family member means any future trips or breaks will either be with them in tow or after pre-arranging some version of dog sitters. So, be prepared for an end to spontaneity. And if your dog turns out to be particularly anxious or clingy, even a day at work or shopping trip may need to be planned for.

Am I prepared for a long-term commitment?

Although the average lifespan of a dog is between 10-15 years, the longest-lived dog on record was an Australian Cattle dog called “Bluey”, who died in 1939 at the ripe old age of 29 years and 5 months. This is obviously an extreme example, but a reminder that you should be committed to a long-term relationship with any new puppy, as they’ll need you for the rest of, what could be, a very long life.

So, if you’ve read all the above and still love the idea of owning a dog, we’ve got a tonne of downloads and articles to help you plan, understand and most of all, ENJOY the next stages of your Doggy journey. Read on >

Sources:

Effect of petting a dog on immune system function: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15762389

PAW Report – PDSA: https://www.pdsa.org.uk/media/4371/paw-2018-full-web-ready.pdf

Dogs Trust Stray Dogs Survey: https://www.dogstrust.org.uk/news-events/news/stray%20dogs%20report_v4.pdf

https://www.dogstrustdogschool.org.uk/facts-and-figures/