My kids had been pressuring me for years to get a dog. I had always resisted, hoping that the novelty of having a dog would fade. Unfortunately for me, my kid’s friends were getting dogs and the pressure remained. Eventually, I gave in and got a Cocker Spaniel. With hindsight, here are the things that I think are important to consider before buying a dog.
There used to be an advertising campaign in the UK with the slogan ‘A dog is for life, not just for Christmas’. The slogan is very true. On average, dogs live until 13 years of age, and some live considerably longer. Are you in a position where you can look after a dog every day for all those years?
The Right Breed Of Dog
The characteristics of different dog breeds vary considerably, so choose a breed that will work with your lifestyle. Things to think about when selecting a dog breed:
- How often \ how far does it need to be walked
- How big will it be when fully grown
- How much will it eat
- What health issues are common in the breed
- Character traits (e.g. good with children)
- How easy is it to train
- How much it will cost to own
- How much attention will it need
Before buying a dog, my family promised to help look after it. Which they did initially in the summer when we first got the dog. But as winter rolled in, they weren’t so keen to take her for walks in the wind and rain. They got bored of feeding her and made all sorts of excuses not to pick up the dog crap. Ultimately, I have become fully responsible for the dog, even though it was agreed the family would split responsibility
Dogs Crap A Lot
If you don’t fancy the idea of picking up crap on a daily basis, don’t get a dog. Our dog can squeeze out three craps a day, and sometimes they are not pleasant.
Dogs get ill, and when they do, it can be hard work. Not so long ago, our dog ate something that upset her stomach. Which meant she was constantly crapping and throwing up for several days. it was not nice.
Dogs Are Dirty
How dirty a dog is varies according to breed, but all dogs are dirty to some degree. If you’re a cleanliness freak, then getting a dog is probably not a good idea. Dogs bring in mud from outside, and many dogs moult hair throughout the year. Female dogs come into season usually twice a year and boy dogs have willy dribbles.
Some dogs have nasty habits, especially when they’re young. Our dog used to love nothing more than eating a nice bit of horse crap and sheep crap…..revolting. A friend of mine has a 12-year-old dog that loves to roll in sh!t, especially a nice bit of fox sh!t.
The main ongoing costs of owning a dog are food (especially if you have a fussy dog) and vet bills.
Hopefully, when they’re younger, the vet’s bills won’t be much. As they get older, trips to the vet will increase, as will the bills. One thing vets are very good at is charging extortionate amounts for seemingly minor things.
What will you do with your dog when you go away? Is there someone who will look after the dog for you, or will the dog go to kennels? or do you take the dog away with you?
Taking a dog away with you can bring plenty of added hassles. You’ll need to pack all the things your dog needs. Are the places you’re going dog-friendly? What do you do with the dog when you want to do something that isn’t dog-friendly?
Time will need to be spent training your dog. Initially, it will be house training \ toilet training. Then the basics, such as recall, sitting and staying, all of which can be time-consuming, especially with some dogs.
Ticks, Fleas and Worms
At some point, your dog will probably end up getting ticks, fleas and worms.
Ticks can usually be quite easy to get rid of, but can cause your dog health issues (Lyme disease). Fleas can be
Fleas can be a real pain to get rid of. As well as treating your dog for fleas, you have to clean everywhere you dog has been to get rid of flea eggs and larve to prevent reinfection.
Worms Can usually be treated with oral medicines. Some worms that dogs get can be transferred to humans.
Conclusion: Things To Consider Before Buying A Dog
Many of the things mentioned above are things that I have experienced since having a dog. Obviously, there are a lot of positives about owning a dog, but it is important to understand the darker side of owning a dog