Does your heart skip a beat every time your neighbour’s pooch stares at you with those puppy eyes? Has your child been trying to convince you how much he/she loves “D for Doggo”? Welcoming a pet dog into your life is one of the most rewarding experiences ever. But it also comes with a bunch of responsibilities. Take a step back and evaluate all factors before taking the plunge.
Having a dog is a long-term commitment — at least 10-15 years. From puppy years to adulthood, your buddy will need your time and attention forever. The first step is to ensure that everyone in the family is on the same page. Instances of pet dogs being abandoned because the owner couldn’t take care of them are pretty common. It could have a severe impact on their mental and physical health. Go ahead only if you are ready to shower the pooches with a whole lot of love.
Know your pupper
Confused over which breed to bring home? Every pup breed is different and has varying needs. While a Shih Tzu or a Pug, originally raised as house dogs, can make do with lesser space and shorter bouts of exercise, a Golden Retriever or a Labrador needs to be active for longer each day. In fact, contrary to popular belief that they require bigger spaces, if provided with ample opportunities for physical activities, the larger breeds happily fit into your small abodes.
To thrive as a family pet, the background of the breed matters. For example, German Shepherds have a history of being guard dogs and need lots of physical and mental stimulation to stay active. Similarly, Siberian Huskies, originally bred as working sled dogs, need to run around a lot to stay active, lack of which could lead to destructive behaviour or even running away from home. Weather plays a major role, too. Huskies, for example, might find it difficult to survive in tropical climates.
Indies, on the other hand, are the most accommodative. While they do need plenty of physical and mental stimulation, they are hardy enough to survive almost all circumstances, require fewer vet visits and minimum grooming. So, choose a breed you are equipped to take care of and not just because it sounds fancy.
Your lifestyle matters
Parenting is easy, said no one ever. If long working hours, frequent travels, and a hectic social life keep you too busy, then think of alternatives in advance. You can arrange for a pet-sitter, ask other family members to step in or look for foster homes and boarding facilities to take care of your baby. You can consider options like crate training, wherein they can stay secure inside an appropriately sized crate/cage. Dogs enjoy being in enclosed places, and this arrangement provides them independence while also keeping their anxiety in check.
Training your dogs in time and well, can go a long way in building comfort with the pet parents.
Training, grooming, vaccines, diet, healthcare, toys, treats et al., ensuring your furball a happy and healthy life would cost a considerable amount of money. Be prepared to shed at least INR 30,000-40,000 (if not more) in the first year itself. Of course, it depends on the needs of particular breeds. But do not settle for half-hearted pet care. Evaluate your current and future financial status and the amount you are ready to invest and accordingly decide.
Needs and necessities
Caring for your pupper and providing for the basic needs such as regular health check-ups, the right food, training, grooming etc., need time, energy and knowledge. Dogs can fall sick, get injured, have allergies, and, of course, will need vaccinations. Remember to keep your vet’s number on speed dial for emergencies. Pee, poop, vomits, drools, and messy homes are absolutely normal in the initial days. If you are a cleanliness freak, then it is certainly time to up your patience game.
Doggo diet is a key area of focus because you just cannot feed them anything. Gather proper knowledge of their dietary needs, what can be fed and what is harmful, and consult pet nutritionists for a better understanding.
Prepare yourself to get a puppy by approaching shelters and rescue workers for hands-on information. You could even foster a pup for a few days to learn more about their daily needs and check if the arrangement is suiting you. Shower the smallies with selfless affection and get an abundance of unconditional love in return. Now isn’t that a worthy bargain? Woof, woof, we say!