As the ad campaign saying goes: a dog is for life, not just for Christmas. There is a certain amount of responsibility that comes with being a dog owner, and more that goes into it than just being a receiver of undying love and loyalty. A lot of elements can get forgotten about in favour of the idealised expectations. Read on to find out what elements of looking after your dog should be your highest priority.
Although it might seem like it, feeding your dog isn’t as simple as letting them eat the leftovers. They will accept anything, yes, but their stomach won’t. Even if you are feeding your dog reliable store-bought dog food, it might take a little trial and error to get them regularly eating something they enjoy and won’t upset their tummy.
Don’t stick with what the vet said to feed them if it’s making them ill and switch up when you see that they are having digestive problems.
There are also supplements you can buy to aid in your dog’s health. There is at least one brand offering a supplement for every possible reason, from digestive aids to extra strength and nutrition, to a shinier coat. They can be fed like pills or mixed into their food, so they won’t even notice.
It goes without saying that a dog needs exercise, like a boat needs water. But different dog breeds need different levels of exercise. Don’t assume the level based on the size of the dog, as there are exceptions. For example, greyhounds are a surprisingly lazy breed, happy to lie on the couch all day, despite their size. They are open to an intensive day, but it isn’t necessary for them to be happy, which is surprising for a race dog.
The trap most dog owners fall into is barely exercising their lapdog. Those little guys are a bundle of energy ready to explode. But, like a firework, their light is bright but brief. They can be satisfied with a bit of running around, and happy to go back to sitting by the fire once done. Make sure they are getting a decent 30 minute walk every day to keep that energy in check.
If you have a crossbreed, again this can take some trial and error to nail down. Be aware of your dog’s energy levels and if they are being hyper, take them out again.
A dog is also a financial investment. There is the initial cost of the dog, which, unless you are getting a rescue dog, can be substantial. Depending on the breed you’re going for, the price of a dog can be in the hundreds. Plus, there is the initial cost of everything you need to keep your dog happy: a bed, toys, leash, crate, etc.
Once you have your dog, be sure to take out some insurance for your pet. Pet insurance will cover your dog’s vet visits, including treatment, allowing you to avoid a potentially pricey trip. You can choose from lifetime pet insurance, which has no time limit, accident only pet insurance, which, as the name suggests, covers only accidents and not illness or diseases, time-limited, which has a cap on coverage and time, and maximum benefit, which covers every illness or injury up to a pre-set time limit.
You will then need to budget in your monthly spending for your dog. This includes pet insurance, but also any food, grooming, day care, walkers, etc. that you are paying on a monthly basis. Make sure that you know what you are getting into so that your dog can live a happy life with you and you don’t get a shock on everything that needs to be paid for.