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Dogs Aren't Just For Christmas - Responsibilities of Dog Ownership

Friday November 27th 2015

With all the hype during the lead up to Christmas, it’s often easy for some of us to get carried away in the festivities! Whilst we all want to be able to give our loved ones exactly what they want on the big day, it’s not always the most feasible option. Pet abandonment has been found to increase significantly over the Christmas period, and also in the months of March and April, a few months after Christmas when the kittens and puppies which were given as presents have grown up a bit.

With this in mind, it is so important to make sure that before you buy a dog (or any pet) this Christmas, you have considered all of the implications involved with owning one. A dog really is for life which is why, here at helpucover, we’ve compiled a list of everything you need to know about the responsibilities of dog ownership. Before you promise a living creature as a gift this Christmas, make sure you’ve given this a read to ensure you and your family are fully aware of all that goes into owning a dog.

Most of us are aware that having a dog won’t be cheap, but it’s unlikely that people realise the extent to which these costs reach.

The lifetime cost of owning a dog is estimated to come to a staggering £16,000 to £31,000 overall. Considering that the average dog will live for 13 years and during these years you must provide food, vaccinations, insurance and any other accessories, it’s understandable that the price can add up to such an extreme amount.

Puppy: A new puppy needs an enormous amount of care and affection during its first years. From toilet training to teaching them not to chew and ruin your furniture, there’s a lot that puppies need to be shown at the very beginning of their lives. Time must be taken to train, play with, and also socialise your puppy and these can be very time consuming tasks. Ideally, you should be able to closely supervise your puppy for the first six months of their lives, this is a long time and therefore a big commitment which shouldn’t be made lightly.

Dog: You may decide it’s a more practical idea to adopt a dog at an older age, whilst it’s true that an older dog won’t require quite as much attention as a puppy would, there’s still a vast amount of ways in which an older dog will require your time. Dogs need exercise just like we do and it’s recommended that dogs need about an hours’ worth of exercise on average during their day, for bigger dogs, maybe even more. Combine this with the cleaning, feeding and entertaining that comes with owning a dog and you’re looking at giving up a substantial amount of your time each day.

Another important aspect to consider, particularly when buying a puppy, is how dog-safe your home and garden really are. Dogs will always be creatures of curiosity and for this reason it’s important to keep certain objects and places out of their reach. There are various different dog-proofing methods you can use to ensure that your home is safe for your new member of the family, but these need to be considered and implemented beforehand.

Using baby gates to limit access to certain rooms is an effective way of protecting anything you don’t want your dog to get into, such as medicines or electrical outlets. It is also necessary to ensure you use a containment system for any of your electrical cords in case your dog decides that it’s a good idea to use them as a chew toy. One simple yet fundamental step is to try to keep your house clear of any clutter. Dogs will tend to be tempted to play with anything they can find, which is why removing any temptation in the first place is really important.

Appropriate Dog for Your Situation
Choosing the right type of dog to suit your lifestyle is a vital aspect to having a long and happy relationship with your pet. If you’re living alone in a small apartment without easy access to a garden, getting large and energetic Retriever wouldn’t be the best idea. A family with playful children and a nice big garden, however, would be the perfect fit. For the sake of both yours and your dog’s happiness, choosing the right breed to suit your living arrangements is hugely important.

You should also remember that certain types of dog are more prone to hereditary diseases and will most likely need more medical attention throughout their lives than others. If you are short on money then this may be a determining factor in which breed of dog you choose.

Where to go if you’re ready for the Responsibility
Breeder: If you are going to try and buy your dog from a breeder there are a few tips which will help make the process that little bit easier. The breeder should always register the puppy prior to your purchase, they should also provide you with the opportunity to see the puppy with the rest of the litter. This is important in order to check that the puppy has the temperament and personality you’re looking for.

One thing which you should always ask the breeder if you are buying a pedigree, is for the details of your dog’s ancestry, this can either be printed from the breeder or it can be an official one from a dog site such as The Kennel Club. You should also always ask whether there is any history of inherited disease within the dog’s ancestry. It’s important to be aware of any pre-existing conditions and know what they will entail in terms of treatment, before you purchase the puppy.

The puppy you adopt from a breeder should never be any younger than eight weeks of age. Early separation from their mother can lead to bad behaviour in their later life. It’s therefore very important that they’re kept together until the appropriate age.

Adopting a Rescue Dog: Whilst being an extremely rewarding thing to do, adopting a rescue dog is also likely to be a challenging experience. These dogs have usually gone through a lot, be it dealing with abusive homes or even having been abandoned entirely, they can sometimes be hard work but this is what makes it all the more worthwhile. It is important to consider the extra needs of these dogs, some may need more care and attention than others and some may still have some trust and abandonment issues. If you can get past this, however, you will be changing the life of a dog forever and giving them the love they’ve never had the chance to experience in the past.

Author Bio:
This article was written on behalf of helpucover. helpucover is a trading style of Pinnacle Insurance plc, an insurance company who offers pet insurance.