Many people dream of getting a dog and would love a four-legged friend to complete their families. There is no doubt that introducing a dog to your home can be a wonderful experience. From the excitement of bringing an adorable new puppy home for the first time to the many cozy evenings that can be spent chilling out in the company of your dog, a canine friend can enhance your life in so many ways. Dogs are the most popular household pet in the United States, with research showing that in 2021/22, 69 million US households had at least one dog.
While dogs are a popular choice of family pet, and there are many benefits of getting a dog, it is still crucial to remember that bringing a living creature into your home also carries a lot of responsibility. You must ensure that now is the right time to get a new pet and that you can commit to caring for them for many years. With this in mind, here are some of the things you will need to consider before you get a family dog:
Which Dog is Right for You?
If you have decided to welcome a dog into your home, your next decision is to think about the type of dog you should choose. The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes 200 breeds of dog, so there is certainly plenty of choices. Of course, this figure does not include the many crossbreeds available. Each of the breeds has its own characteristics and temperaments. So, the first thing you must consider is the type of furry friend you are looking for. Factors to think about include the amount of space you have in your home. Would a large dog have enough room? Can you keep up with the maintenance of intensive daily grooming for a dog with a long coat? How much time do you have to dedicate to walking a dog to ensure they get enough exercise? These considerations will help determine the dog breed most suited to your family life.
You may also want to consider getting a rescue dog rather than one from a breeder. Giving an abandoned dog a loving home can be hugely rewarding. So, this is another option to think about when searching for your new pet.
Think About Food
Feeding your dog the best possible diet is essential for its longevity and everyday health. Your dog’s dietary requirements will largely depend on its size and breed, with bigger dogs needing much more food each day than toy varieties. So, considering the cost of feeding a dog is a crucial when selecting your new pet.
Nowadays, there is a wide choice of different dog foods available, with many choices tailored to specific health concerns and diets. This level of choice makes it easier for you to select the best food for your pet, such as gut-friendly foods like grain free chicken free dog food to keep them feeling at their best. It is worth taking time to research the different health benefits of the dog foods available so that you can establish which ones will best suit your dog's size, health requirements, and lifestyle. With the best possible diet, your dog will be able to thrive and enjoy life to the max.
Factor in Exercise Time
Different dog breeds have different needs, which means that their dietary requirements and the amount of exercise that they need will vary. Some breeds of dogs are satisfied with a short walk and some playtime in the backyard to keep them fit, while others need long walks a few times each day and lots of playtime to keep them happy. If you work long hours or have lots of time commitments, you may find it challenging to provide your pet with enough exercise. For dogs, getting enough exercise is vital to keep them happy. If you cannot provide your dog with the time it needs to exercise, you may find that your new pet becomes restless and develops negative patterns of negative behavior. This negative behavior includes issues such as dogs being destructive around the house and excessive barking due to boredom. So thinking about how much time you can realistically devote to taking a dog out to get exercise is a vital consideration.
As well as considering how much time you have free to exercise and play with your new pet, you also need to think about the time that you won’t be available for them. Most dogs do not like to be left home alone, and if you work, leaving your pet in the house while you are out can be a problem. Some dogs bark and whine constantly when left alone, which causes them distress and is likely to upset your neighbors too! Other dogs are destructive to items around the house when left unsupervised as they become bored.
Along with thinking about how your working life will impact caring for your dog, it is also vital to consider your leisure time. If you have lots of hobbies that are not dog-friendly, you may find yourself leaving your new pet home alone a lot of the time. This same situation applies to vacations, as your time away from home may be restricted as you try to minimize how long you and your pet are apart. You may want to consider hiring a dog sitter or sending your pet to doggy daycare so that you know they have company and are well looked after when you cannot be with them.
Before you take the leap and introduce a new dog to your family, you will need to think very carefully whether you have the time and resources to commit to a pet. Dogs can be fantastic companions and can bring so much joy to family life. But you need to be aware of the significant responsibilities involved in dog ownership before you go ahead and bring one into your home.