If you take on a pet, you have a responsibility towards it. You must have heard the saying about a dog being for life and not just for Christmas; it holds true still. Think about the implications of owning a dog.
Everyone can imagine themselves walking along with their best friend at their side, but many do not consider the way it will affect their life in other ways. Your social life might be affected, for example, when you cannot drop everything and go away for a weekend without making suitable arrangements for your dog. You also have a responsibility to the rest of us to clean up after it when you take it for a walk. That is one responsibility that even the most respectable people fail to live up to if no-one is looking. You know who you are! The animal’s behaviour could be different than you expected too. Perhaps you watched too many ‘Lassie; films as a child and your expectations are too high. When it tears your curtains and shreds your furniture will you regret your choice to own a dog?
Well, if I haven’t changed your mind, here are some tips that will help you choose the right dog for you, and keep it happy and healthy.
How To Choose The Right Dog For You
You must look at your own level of fitness and lifestyle before deciding which dog is best for you. The choice is not easy because there are hundreds of breeds, and thousands of crossbreeds.
You must first decide whether you want a puppy or adult dog. Make no mistake, puppies are hard work and only those who have the time and energy should adopt one. They are ideal for a family with children, but might not suit an elderly person or couple. An adult dog should have a calmer disposition than puppy. That is not always the case, but you will get an idea of its temperament when you view it. Most of them will be house trained, so much of the hard work is done for you. An adult dog will remember if it was treated badly in the past. If you show kindness, it will reward you with affection.
Why do you want a dog? It could be as a fashion accessory (shame on you), for some company, or you might want to enter shows with it and move in those social circles. You cannot guess what its personality will be until you get it home and live with it. Mongrels are usually great company, but they way they have been treated in the past will have an affect on them. If you are to show your pet, you might need an animal with a pedigree.
Keeping Your Dog Healthy
Animals will get sick from time to time, and you will have to seek medical help just as you would for a person. The dog needs inoculations against common, but deadly, diseases that will cause much suffering to it otherwise. You local veterinary practice will advise you about the treatments that your dog must receive.
You must keep your dog well nourished to maintain its health. Dogs are always hungry, and out of kindness you might give it snacks between meals. That is not in the animals best interest, and you could make it overweight and unfit. Stick to regular feeding times every day. You only need to feed it once, or maybe twice for a big dog, and keep the water bowl topped up at all times.
Parasites are a problem with most household pets. Most dogs will suffer from worms or fleas at some point. Suspect a flea infestation if the dog constantly scratches itself and appears to be in discomfort. You can buy treatments over the counter for pet fleas, but if they don’t work consult a vet and get a prescription.
Your dog might have worms if it rubs its rear end on the carpet or will not stop scratching itself. You treat them with tablets from your local pet shop. It is a good idea to treat them for worms with regular treatment every few months, even if you see no symptoms.
Dogs will not keep themselves scrupulously clean the way cats do. When they get wet, they will shake themselves and cover your walls with hair, but that is about it. Make it a routine to brush your dog every day. It will relax both you and the dog. You must give them a bath. Use only dog shampoo. When they are in the bath, check their outer ears for any sign of infection and clean them well. Check between their toes too, there could be an infection lurking there that needs treatment.
Their claws need a trim from time to time. You should not undertake it yourself unless you know what you are doing. Your local dog grooming shop will do it for you for a small charge. It is best to get it done properly.
Keep Your Dog Happy
Build a good fence around your garden to keep the dog in and others out. make the garden dog friendly by providing a place to dig, plenty of sticks to chew, and comfortable place in the shade to rest. Clear up its mess every day too; you wouldn’t like to be surrounded by it, would you?
Take your best friend for a walk every day. The exercise will be good for you and good for the dog. You will probably fall into a routine, and the animal will not let you forget when it is time for an outing.
Give your dog some form of identification. It might be an ID disc on its collar, or you could have it microchipped for a permanent solution. It is heartbreaking to lose a pet, and i’m sure the animal would feel the same way. People who find stray dogs usually report it to the police who track the owner down.
It sounds like hard work doesn’t it? We haven’t touched on the way a dog will improve your life and make your home a happier place to be. If you think you are up to the job, get a dog; you won’t regret it.