While getting a dog is a tempting prospect for many, some can feel intimidated by the amount of work it seems is necessary to keep one as a pet. The risks, responsibilities and expense all create what might feel like an overwhelming picture.
Today we’re taking a look at some of the major issues to help you decide if dogs are difficult pets, and if you’re the right owner for one.
Health Issues and Clean Up
It’s worth noting that dogs can often be affected by digestive health issues – parasites, foraging for spoiled food, eating less than dog-friendly morsels dropped on the kitchen floor, or even changing the brand of kibble you feed them can all cause an attack of diarrhea and vomiting in dogs.
Fortunately, these mostly solve themselves inside 48 hours. All you have to do is make sure your dog keeps hydrated, and feed them on small regular meals of easily digestible food – boiled chicken with rice is a popular option. You only need to start to worry and contact the vet if it lasts longer or your dog starts to show other symptoms. It’s also worth keeping enzyme-based cleaners on hand. These are popular with pet owners because they help to break down biological stains and odours, and so are especially helpful with pet sickness (and house training!)
Training and Discipline
One of the most important tasks in the early days of owning a dog is house training – establishing a routine and a set place where your pet can go to the toilet is important for your peace of mind, and for your dog’s own comfort and happiness! It can be a challenge, and requires lots of attention from you early on, but it’s very achievable and there are lots of different methods you can use to get the results you need!
Behavioral training is also important: this helps form the relationship between you and your dog, and helps it feel more secure as it knows what’s expected of it, and its role in the house. It’s also key important in being a responsible pet owner: a dog that comes when called, stays, and doesn’t jump up at unwilling people is a better one to have in the community!
Most dogs take to training well (especially working breeds – there’s a reason dogs have been domesticated so enthusiastically), so while you need to work regularly on the commands and behaviours you want your dog to master, you should see that time and effort turn into success.
Getting a dog does mean thinking about the cost and rebudgeting. You need to think about three kinds of cost.
- Initial, one off costs
From buying dog beds and food bowls, to vaccinations and microchipping, taking on a dog comes with some substantial initial costs even if you’re adopting. Make a list of everything you need – and check the legal responsibilities of owners in your area – and work out how much you need to set aside.
- Ongoing costs
Food, any regular medication, pet insurance (not required but often a good idea) – it can add up. Try and work out the weekly ‘running cost’ of your dog and make sure you have space for it in your budget.
- Unexpected one off costs and increases
Dogs aren’t predictable creatures – from replacing household items they’ve damaged, vets bills for sickness and injuries, and ongoing medication and higher insurance premiums as they age, it helps if you’re thinking from day one about how you might face an unexpected pet-related spike in costs. Pet insurance can help to take the sting out of vet bills, so it’s well worth looking into.
While dogs, as with any pet, can present challenges, and there are responsibilities you need to meet as their owner, as long as you plan in advance and have a realistic idea of the challenges you’re going to face, you’ll soon discover why dogs are called man’s best friend.