Should I get a dog?

Today, we’re going to ask and answer the most basic question of dog ownership:

Should I get a dog?

This is the question that should be asked of all potential dog owners before making the leap, and there are a lot of factors to consider. I’m going to break those factors down into three main categories.

  • Can I afford a dog?
  • Do I have time for a dog?
  • Am I ready for the responsibility of owning a dog?

Can I afford a dog?

Most dogs are not terribly expensive to raise. The American Kennel Club breaks down the numbers pretty clearly. While I’m not going to get into specifics regarding the costs, since those change depending on where you live, the size and breed of your dog, and other unpredictable factors, I am going to point out some things you may not consider before getting a dog.

There is almost always an initial purchasing cost for a dog, whether you buy from a breeder, or adopt from a shelter. On top of that, there will be veterinary costs for their vaccines and other preventative medications along with the one time cost of getting your pet spayed or neutered. Some of these expenses are monthly, some are yearly, and some are one time only. It’s very important for your four-legged friend to have proper veterinary care for their own health. We don’t want our puppers getting sick. Fortunately, some of those initial costs can be mitigated when adopting from a shelter or adopting a older dog.

Other expenses include necessary items, like dog bowls, toys, leashes, food and treats, and grooming. Depending on the size of your animal, the cost of food will go up or down, along with the cost of treats. Collars usually come in one-size-fits all, but harnesses vary greatly in size. Make sure these items fit comfortably on your dog without being so tight they chafe or cut off circulation, and without being so loose that your dog can squeeze out. A good fit is roughly measured by placing two fingers under the straps, if this can be done easily and without excess wiggle room, the harness or collar is fitted correctly.

Some dogs can keep a toy for years without destroying it, and some dogs will try their darnedest to tear those toys to pieces the moment they get their teeth on them. This is an expense that varies less on the size or breed of your pet, and more on their personality. This can apply to collars and harnesses and leashes as well. Whether your dog likes to tear things up or not can also sometimes apply to furniture and shoes and other expensive household items like electronics. There are many ways to help mitigate these costs, and we’ll go over some of them in a later article, for now, I’m just trying to point out the expenses inherent in owning a doggo.

Do I have time for a dog?

This second question is very important to consider as well. Puppies especially need lots of time and attention, and many people do not consider exactly how much of a handful a small handful of fur can be. Dogs are adorable, especially as puppies, but puppies have baby teeth that are sharp, and they don’t have the restraint or understanding or training necessary to prevent them from tearing up your precious possessions and peeing and pooping on your floors and furniture. Many people might think they want a puppy because they are so cute, only to come home to a half a dozen piles and puddles all around the house. For those who have busy lives and need to leave their new dogs alone for extended periods of time every day, it may be better to adopt an older dog that is already house-trained and has a little less energy.

Dogs are living creatures, and are very social like humans. They need daily exercise to stay healthy, and they need to be regularly socialized with other people and dogs to have healthy interactions without becoming violent. Keeping dogs permanently locked away in small cages without interaction with other living things is cruel. They need stimulation, and they need to be touched and played with. In this regard, it’s best to think of your dog as a little person or even a child. You shouldn’t lock a child away in a small cage with no room to run around and nobody to play with, and you shouldn’t do it to your dog either. A dog’s natural environment is in a pack or with a village. They hunt together, they sleep together, and they play together. A dog, much like a person, when kept in isolation can suffer mentally in many different ways, one of those ways is to become violent and fearful. A scared and angry dog is not safe for anybody, and especially isn’t safe for the dog, so it’s very important to understand that owning a dog comes with the responsibility of giving it lots of attention and exercise.

This all means that on top of taking time to train your pupper, you must also have time to play with them, walk them, and take them to the vet, and clean up after them. This can sometimes feel like a hassle that you will not want to do, but it is a necessary sacrifice that you must make. And trust me, it’s not so burdensome that the joy of having a little furry friend around is mitigated. Dogs are worth every second of the time you have to put into them, and so much more. In fact, some studies suggest that owning a dog can extend your life, so they return that time investment right back to you.

Am I ready for the responsibility of owning a dog?

I’ve already talked a lot about responsibility in this article, because it’s important to understand that dogs come with responsibilities. They are living creatures and as such should not be abused either directly through violence, or indirectly through neglect. Keeping them fed and healthy are very important, and unfortunately, there are people who will try to get away with being lazy, letting their dog become obese, or starving their pupper. Some people will want to leave them chained outside with no shelter during harsh and cold weather. And some people will give a dog as a gift to a child, much like they would a toy. But dogs are much more than just something to play with or something pretty to look at. They are alive and intelligent and have complex emotional lives. Dogs can feel sadness and fear and loneliness and anger and when a dog feels these emotions, they can sometimes lash out with aggression and our instinct may be to get rid of the animal without considering that there are other options for handling an aggressive dog.

People have lots of reasons for getting a dog. Maybe, they want one around to protect their home, or they think that dogs are cute, or they want to look cool standing next to a big muscly animal, or maybe they just want to complete their home’s image, or have something for their children to play with. I’m not saying that any of these reasons are bad reasons to bring a dog into your family, what I am saying is that they aren’t the whole picture of dog ownership. Dogs require you to invest time and money into them, and cannot be expected to act the way you want them to act without putting the time in to train them or paying to get them trained.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, I want to be clear that I’m not trying to scare anybody off from dog ownership. Having a dog around is a wonderful blessing and brings great joy and satisfaction to your life. I’m just trying to outline some of the aspects of dog ownership that many may not consider before taking a living animal into their home and under their protection. Dogs need you as much as you need them, so don’t expect to be able to bring one into your home and then be able to ignore it or leave it to its own devices. Learn as much as you can about taking care of your sweet pupper before bringing it home. And always remember to love your dog, if only for the simple reason that they will love you no matter what.

Take care, friends, and take care of your furry friends as well. I’ll be back next Thursday with more. Until then, be sure to subscribe to the blog, and hit that like button if you found this article to be helpful. Leave any comments you’d like, and check out our other social media pages. Until next week.

Published by jdleeabc

I am a lover of animals, especially dogs. I am a blogger and clothing designer and a freelance writer.

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