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Should You Get a Dog?

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Providing the right home environment for a dog, or a cat or other pet, is paramount to his/her health and well-being. Adopting a dog or cat, for example, can be exciting but there are some things that need to be considered first. In this article, we will focus on the first-time dog owner and provide some useful guidelines.

As dog lovers and pet groomers, it’s very difficult to swallow the following statistics about the plight of animals in rescue shelters.

According to the ASPCA, animal shelters take in about 6 million dogs and cats annually. Unfortunately, only 4 million pets are adopted each year. It would be great if this number could increase and hopefully it has by the time you read this article.

So let’s explore what it takes to provide an appropriate home for a new dog, a dog that can be a happy client when he sees his groomer every couple of months.


Considerations Before Adopting a Dog

Jessica’s comments below are probably quite typical of concerns many might have when they first consider adopting a new dog:

I’ve been a pet owner for decades. I know the seemingly infinite joy and love  that comes from having a pet. But I also remember how nervous I was when I adopted my first dog.

Jessica

So let’s see what tips Jessica has for us in her article below.

7 Tips for the First-Time Dog Owner

1. Decide if you are ready to add a dog to your life.

Here are some things to consider:

Pets make our lives better by giving us companionship, love, laughter and a schedule. They bring joy and frustration, cuddles and anger. But their benefit always outweighs the negatives. If you’re thinking of bringing a pet into your life, there are a lot of things to consider when choosing the right friend, and in this case the right dog breed.

2. Analyze your lifestyle and free time.

First, consider how much time you have to devote to a new buddy. If you travel a lot for your job, a dog might not be the right pet for you. Dogs require a lot of work, training and management.

If you are working predominantly from home, either by choice, or because of the pandemic, then there are various ways that you can include your new dog in your work-from-home routine.

Cats, on the other hand, can be left alone for a bit of a longer time, though they do need someone to feed them and clean their litter boxes.

Fish can be fed with vacation feeders and can be left alone for a much longer time.

3. Choose a dog that suits your home and yard.

Do you live in a small home with no yard, a large home with a big yard or somewhere in between? If you live in a small condo, a giant breed of dog might be a bit much. Consider a small breed of dog or a cat.

Remember that if you don’t have a fenced yard, your dog will need several visits outside per day, and you’ll have to go with him on a leash.

4. Decide which activities you would do with your dog.

Are you looking for an active pet to go on adventures with you, or are you looking for a lap buddy to sit with you while you read or watch TV? Dogs come in hundreds of varieties, all having different traits and needs.

Hunting dogs, such as retrievers, Rhodesian ridgebacks and pointers, and herding dogs, such as border collies, corgis and shepherds, usually require lots of exercise. In the absence of sufficient exercise, dogs can get bored and cause destruction.

Lazier breeds like English bulldogs, St. Bernards, mastiffs and some toy breeds, are more comfortable lying around the house and might protest when you demand a hike.

5. Consider family member allergies and hypoallergenic breeds.

No dog is completely hypoallergenic, but some breeds and mixed breeds can be easier on a person’s allergies than others.

Check with everyone in the household before you introduce a pet that could cause issues. Asking someone to “deal with it” is unfair. Many people are highly allergic to certain dog breeds, while some can tolerate them better than others.

6. Prepare the home before introducing your new dog.

Once you’ve decided which pet you’re going to get, you have to get your home ready. Start doing some online research about what your pet needs, then go shopping.

If you’re getting a large dog, you’ll need a large dog bed and food and water bowls.

If you’re getting a smaller dog, you’ll need a cosy bed for her. You might even find that certain dog breeds are quite shy in new environments.

Consider going to your local library and reading up on what you need to know about your new pet.

7. Allow your new dog time to adjust. 

When you bring home a new dog, you have to allow time for her to adjust to your home and different surroundings.

If you’ve adopted her from a shelter, she might be a bit frightened because of all the changes she’s been through. Set up a little room for her to relax in, with her food and water. Keep the household calm and quiet so she is less alarmed by unexpected noises.

Don’t force her to love you. Just offer treats and sit near her. Give her a chance to come to you. Eventually, she’ll trust you and come out of hiding.

Before long, your new pet will be your best buddy and have you wondering why you left it so long to adopt a dog. She’ll now be ready for outdoor adventures or just hanging out on the couch with you.

Once she’s adjusted you can do any number of activities with your new pet, including playtime and travel. You can look forward to many good years with your new best friend.

Author: Jessica Brody
Blog: www.ourbestfriends.pet  

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