Just around Christmas time many families will have the brilliant idea of getting a new pet – A dog, cat or even something smaller like a rabbit or a bird… for some of them this decision will be well thought through, but sadly for some it may well be a rushed decision made in the heat of the moment.
In light of this, I have put together a list of important things to consider whilst getting a new pet, especially a dog, but to the same extent it will work for any pet.
Please remember that pets are not just for Christmas and they will stay with you long after you have forgotten all about the festive season, so think before you decided to get a new companion.
So this is my little guide on how to be a responsible dog owner…
Never, ever buy a pet in a heat of a moment
This is happening way too often, you go somewhere, see a cute fluffy puppy and before you know it; you’re driving him home with you… Bad idea!
Do your research
This is really important! Find the bread you love, but most importantly a breed which will fit into your lifestyle… for example do not buy a Husky if you hate walking… once you pick your perfect breed read about it, talk to other owners and if you are happy with what you read and hear start looking for a good breeder. Identify traits and problematic behaviours that may become evident in adulthood. You want your pup to be from a good home, I am not suggesting that it must be a show dog, but find a breeder who cares about dogs and doesn’t do it just for the money. Make sure that your pup is health checked, that you meet his/her parents, look further down the genetic line to check for any problems from the past. If you do this right, your chances of getting a healthy pet are so much greater.
Or if you are not keen on a weeing, chewing pup with endless energy levels maybe consider a rescue dog, but again do your research before you hand over the money and sign any contract (yes, you will be asked to sign a rescue contract, ours for Lilly was almost as long as the one which we signed whilst buying our house).
Check your finance
Yes, you are reading it right. Pets are not free and they do not live on air. You will need money for food, treats, pet accessories like leads, collars, harness, pet bedding, toys etc but most important you will need dog insurance, because everyone knows vets are extremely expensive places to visit. Some owners forget about the cost of the vet, but you simply cannot ignore the fact that your new best friend will need vaccination and it will most likely get sick every now and then. When getting a large breed think about transport… can you fit your dog and all other members of your family into your current car? We had to buy a bigger car when Bunk stopped being a pup, simply because we couldn’t travel all at once in my little Astra but at least we had planned for this before we got him.
Look at your home and lifestyle
This is something many people ignore but try and answer these questions honestly:
Is my home pet friendly?
Will I have time for my new friend?
What will happen when I have to go away?
If you work 10 hours a day, like your home perfect, clean, gloop and hair free, like weekends away – is a dog really for you?
Do you have friends who will be able to look after your pup when you go away or will you make a passport for your dog so he/she can travel with you (which mean’s even more money and expense)?
A dog will change your life but you have to be sure you are ready for those changes and will be able to handle it on a daily basis.
Josh Billings once said:
“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself”
Are you ready to take this responsibility and return that feeling?