Being a dog owner is an amazing experience. It has many benefits as well. In a 2020 survey, pet owners said that their pets are great companions and help them reduce boredom, stress, and depression. Thus, it’s not surprising that pet ownership has increased in the U.S. during the pandemic.
But contrary to what social media depicts, having a dog at home isn’t always filled with picture-perfect moments or cute dog blunders. It’s a long-term commitment. It comes with several responsibilities and can be emotionally and financially exhausting.
Owning a dog for the first time can be exciting. But you need to consider some things about pet ownership first to know if you’re prepared for it.
Dogs can live from 10 to 15 years. This means dog ownership is a long-term commitment. Unfortunately, some people want dogs only while they’re puppies. And then, when they grow older, owners stop caring for them and leave them in a shelter or abandon them. If you want a dog, you need to accept the fact that you’ll be taking care of the dog for the entirety of its lifetime.
Dogs also need a lot of attention. So before getting a dog, you need to be ready to commit to playing with it often and walking it every day. You also need to train it, clean after its mess, and regularly take it to the groomers. If the dog gets sick, you need to devote time to take it to the veterinary clinic for a checkup and care for it.
You also have to consider your lifestyle before getting a dog. Does a dog fit your lifestyle? If not, can you commit to adjusting your lifestyle so that you can accommodate your pet? For example, say you move a lot. While a moving company can help you bring your things, your dog will either need to be with you, or you’ll have to hire a pet transportation company.
Having a dog is expensive. It may cost you from $1,400 to $4,300 a year. You’ll have to pay for the dog’s essentials, including food, vaccinations, and grooming. You will also probably have to buy them toys, a bed, and a crate. If the dog gets sick, you’ll have to shell out money to pay for its veterinary fees.
One of the reasons many owners let go of their pets is this financial burden. In 2020, as a result of the pandemic, 13% of pet owners gave up their pets because of this problem. Thus, you need to consider if you are financially prepared for a dog before getting one.
When you become a dog owner, you’ll have to know as many things as possible about your dog. Let’s look at Pugs, for example. Pugs are considered velcro dogs. They’re very clingy. They’ll follow their owners anywhere and will never leave their side. Pugs will also invade the owners’ personal space a lot. But some owners don’t know this. They would leave their Pugs outside or make them sleep in a separate room. Being away from owners can stress Pugs out and make them depressed.
Based on this example, being a dog owner means that you need to be knowledgeable about your dog. You need to do extensive research about it. For example, what is your desired dog’s breed? What personality does this breed usually have? What illnesses is it prone to? How active should it be? What are its special needs?
Dogs don’t just immediately know they have to sit when you say “sit.” They also don’t automatically know where to relieve themselves. That said, you have to consider if you have the time and patience to train your dog. Or if you don’t, consider who can train them instead. For example, will a family member potty train your dog? Will you hire someone to train them?
Dog training is crucial. It keeps dogs mentally stimulated. And if you train your dog yourself, this moment can be a source of joy for them. And you can create a strong emotional connection with your dog. Training is also important to keep your dog’s behavior in check. For example, you can train your dog to wait for their food. You can also train them to stop chewing on things in the house.
Having a dog is no small feat. Certainly, it has several benefits. But when you’re a first-time owner, you can’t just look at the good side of dog ownership. You also need to consider certain things to determine if you’re ready to fulfill an owner’s role.