For years, you have asked dog owners if you can pet their pooch and now you begin to wonder if this is a sign to get yours. After all, millions of Americans do it. How hard could it be to be a responsible dog owner?
Well, dogs aren’t groceries! Becoming a dog owner involves more consideration than a spur-of-the-moment decision. Of course, you want to be a responsible dog parent, and that means considering everything from continuously poop scooping to vet bills. September being the AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Month is the perfect time to highlight some factors you might need to consider before becoming a pet parent.
7 topics to consider determining if you will be a responsible dog owner
You can’t suddenly jump on a plane to Italy. Someone has to be home to feed your dog dinner, let him out, and constantly check up on him. As a responsible dog owner, you may have to give up late nights. If you keep late nights and early mornings, your dog will most likely feel neglected, have accidents or chew up your beloved rug. You can however, hire a dog walker to help on the late nights when you can’t be home to feed him dinner or to take him for walks if you are at work all day. You can also hire a pet sitter to help you care for your dog when you travel.
Time And Energy
Dogs bring us tons of happiness, no doubt, but they also add extra work to our normal routine. For instance, they need to be fed at certain times of every day – sometimes twice a day. Also, dogs need some level of grooming such as nail clipping, a regular bath, and haircut from time to time. Even low-maintenance dogs such as a Greyhound require time and energy to groom. There are walks to give, feeding, petting, grooming, exercising, and vet visits. Dogs give us unconditional love and devotion and they hope for same in return.
Some things new dog owners often miss out on is the cost of being a dog parent from the food, annual vet visits, emergency vet visits, toys, beds, vaccinations, medications (whether monthly control of flea and tick or heartworm or medication when the dog is sick), training, hiring a dog walker, accessories (leashes and collars and for some, cute doggie sweaters), other necessities (nail clippers, brushes, supplements), etc. More so, the older a dog gets, the more extra costs, such as vet bills, are likely to pile up.
Close to ten million people are allergic to cats but many people do not realize they can also be allergic to dogs as well. It is thought that certain breeds are hypo-allergenic but the truth is any dog can cause an allergy because it stems from the dander, oil, and glands of the dogs. However, dog breeds such as Poodle, Basenji, Chinese Crested, Maltese Terrier, and Whippet can help lessen allergies.
You’ll need support from your family members before bringing home a pup. They need to be prepared to share their lives with this new member of the family through the good and the bad. For instance, some dogs need a lot of training, some bark a lot, while some chew up the couch.
Dogs and cats often get along. Sometimes they don’t. Whether a ferret, hamster, bird, or another dog, any pet is affected by a new dog. Be prepared to be patient as they all get to know each other.
Is It Legal?
You should also confirm if your lease allows it before deciding on becoming a dog owner. If yes, check for specifications such as size or breed restrictions, or any special rules to follow. For instance, gated communities often have limitations. Likewise, Breed Specific Legislation is becoming a common thing in cities and states.
Becoming a responsible dog owner is not a walk in the park. Many issues factor in. But the most important part is commitment. By preparing for responsible dog ownership, you will ensure a long and happy life together.
Are there other things you think is important to take into consideration to see if someone would be a responsible dog owner before getting a dog?