Deciding To Own A Dog, Finding The Right Time
Owning a dog is potentially a fifteen-year commitment
It is a massive decision especially if you work long hours, have children, love your holidays abroad and enjoy a hectic social life.
In addition, you have to be prepared to make a financial commitment too.
Obviously, the dog will need food and basic items but you must be prepared to pay for costly veterinary bills if your dog becomes sick. This could include taking on a monthly pet insurance expense.
This post is designed to help if you are deciding to own a dog. There is a list of questions to ask yourself before making the decision. If the time isn’t right for you, there are ways to interact with dogs without the commitment. Also, there are steps to take to move closer to becoming a dog owner.
Questions To Ask Yourself When Deciding To Own A Dog.
Do you have small children or are you thinking of having children in the near future?
Do you have the spare income required to cover all your dog’s needs, including vets bills and pet insurance?
Have you got the time, energy and patience needed to become a dog owner?
Do you have a cat or other pets?
Are you physically well and prepared to walk a dog daily come rain or shine?
Are you prepared to give up foreign holidays or be emotionally prepared to leave the dog with someone else whilst you are away.
Do you realise that your partner may not share your views of dog ownership and it could cause friction in your relationship?
Are you prepared to employ a dog walker if you are away from home for most of the day?
Are you prepared for the devastation you feel when a dog dies?
Time Restraints and Family Commitments.
Dogs need people around them to be happy. If you have time restraints like work, social events, children, holidays, etc it might not be the right time to welcome a new dog. In my experience, it is best to wait until you enter a quieter phase of life when you can spend time with your dog.
My personal advice would be to wait until the child is well past the toddler stage and has been educated about living with a dog. A child needs to give a dog space when he needs it and to be kind, considerate and caring. Once the child or children know some basic ground rules a fantastic relationship can develop and the child will learn responsibility and compassion for animals. They will also have great fun, lots of exercise and there will always be a best friend by their side.
As well as the normal cost of owning a dog it is important to consider how financially secure you are likely to be in the future. Consider the future security of your job and if you intend to make a big financial commitment like a new house or flat. Maybe you want to return to studying or start a family.
A senior person may be better suited to a mature rescue dog rather than a boisterous puppy. I know senior citizens who have adopted after retirement, but they chose an eight-year-old rescue because he suited their lifestyle. Having a dog enriched their lives so much and they are now fitter than they have ever been.
Personally, I prefer to take my dogs on holiday with me but this can be so restricting. Even enjoying a meal in a restaurant or popping into a shop is difficult. Leaving a dog for a set amount of time can be upsetting so it is important to leave them with someone you can completely trust.
It’s important that you and your partner are ‘singing from the same hymn sheet’ when it comes to owning a dog. You both need to be consistent in training and agree on simple things like ‘Will the dog be allowed on the sofa?’ It sounds trivial but these disagreements can lead to friction in a relationship.
Working Full Time.
If you work full time it’s a good idea to employ someone to call around to walk and feed your dog. Sometimes, it is sufficient to just let the dog have a run around the garden and spend some time playing with him. Maybe there is a neighbour who would do this for you.
I use a pet camera when I have to leave my dogs alone. I find it gives me peace of mind and I can talk to my dogs and even dispense a treat. Here is my review of the pet camera I use.
When the dog dies.
I lost a dog to cancer aged just nine. He went to the vet for a dental and they found an untreatable tumour. It devastated me and I still miss him every day, the pain was unbearable. Having said that, I would never rule out having another dog when the time is right. For some, losing a beloved pet would be too much to bear, and it needs to be considered.
If you feel that the time is not right for you to own a dog there are other ways that you can interact with dogs, without the commitment.
I fostered dogs for years and found this a great way to spend time with dogs without committing to ownership. This way I could take breaks between foster dogs to take holidays etc.
Friends and family will always be grateful if you take care of their dog whilst they go on holiday, this takes away the stress of kennels and you get the dogs to stay for a short time.
Rescue centres always need volunteers, so you could spend an hour or two with homeless dogs.
Here is a list of steps that you can take before welcoming a dog to your home.
Wait until life is quite calm and you can provide a set routine for the dog.
Start a savings account and prepare for the vet bills.
Make sure that the garden is secure and safe.
Educate your children to be respectful to animals.
Read lots of books on dog ownership.
Think about the size of the dog you would like and your favourite breed.
Take a look at dog facilities in your area including dog parks, dog sitters and walkers.
Research reputable breeders and speak to them because they sometimes have waiting lists for future litters.
Why is deciding to own a dog such a huge decision?
Personally, I can’t imagine not having a dog to come home to. However, I realise the restrictions that come with dog ownership and a dog isn’t for everyone.
I worked as a dog fosterer for a rescue and I’ve seen the sad side too. Unfortunately, dogs are handed to rescue when people realise what a huge responsibility dog ownership is.
It is heartbreaking to hand over a much-loved family pet because commitments mean that there isn’t the time to spend with your dog.
Of course, no one can see into the future and circumstances do change. However, it’s still a good idea to take as many steps as you can to give your dog a secure future.
In the right circumstances, dogs are a pivotal part of the family and they really are Mans Best Friend!
If you feel ready to welcome a new dog to your home, be prepared for the shower of love about to come your way!
May you have many, many happy years together.
If you are thinking of buying a puppy, please, please read this post
which tells you how to avoid puppy farming.
There are also some great puppy tips below, which will help you choose a healthy puppy and help in the first few weeks.
Thank you for Reading