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Adopting a dog Vs borrowing
Wednesday March 8th 2017
Being a dog owner is a long-term commitment but a rise in websites that pair borrowers with dog owners means having a part-time pet could be a great alternative. But which is right for you…?
There is a reason that dogs are known as man’s best friend, and it’s because they provide unconditional love, enrichment and are a companion for as long as they’re part of your family.
Dogs are a known mood-booster. It’s hard not to look at a wagging tail and those doe-like eyes and be instantly uplifted. Life is just better when there’s a doggy around.
Borrowing can give you a small hit of how happy a hound can make you but it’s the kind of on-tap, 24-hour happiness you get from a forever four-legged friend.
Several reports suggest the lifetime cost of owning a dog is more than £16,000, and so deciding to adopt a pet is not a decision anyone should take lightly.
Canine expenses include food, microchipping, neutering, other routine veterinary treatments and pet insurance. And your outgoings can go off the chart if you decide to employ the services of a dog walker or take your pooch to doggy day care.
While some dog borrowing sites will charge you a nominal fee to register, that’s pretty much the end of the bill, and so if your decision is down to cost alone, then it’s a no-brainer.
Health and wellbeing
For decades, medical studies have shown the therapeutic benefits of pet ownership.
On a very basic level, dog owners burn more calories because of all the exercise involved in regularly walking dogs and playtime. However, the same could be true of regular dog borrowers.
But having a full-time, four-legged family member is likely to be more beneficial in respect of health and wellbeing and there is scientific research that supports this.
A report published by the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience (Cabi) in December 2016 says those who have a canine companion experience more significant health benefits when compared with non-pet owners,
The report, Companion Animal Economics, suggests dog owners experience significantly lower blood pressure, reduced cholesterol and higher survival rates for serious heart attacks.
And then there are other benefits that are more difficult to quantify. For example, having a pet is likely to improve your mood, which can have lots of mental health rewards. Just petting a dog is likely to reduce levels of anxiety and stress and canines are often used in therapy for sufferers of psychological conditions.
While dog borrowers are not excluded from these health benefits, they’re not as consistently exposed and so are less likely to reap the day-to-day rewards that having a forever pup can bring.
How much time do you have to commit to being a pet owner? Six hours a week? Maybe seven or eight?
In actual fact, having a dog is a full time commitment. While cats have an air of independence and spend hours and hours lazing stretched out in front of a radiator, a dog needs regular interaction, daily exercise and lots of energetic playtime to keep it happy and healthy.
And while you don’t necessarily have to be with your pup 24-hours a day, you do have to make sure your dog’s needs are fully met whether you’re there or not, and this can take some careful planning.
Putting aside the everyday responsibilities, such as exercise, what if you fancy a last-minute holiday? A spontaneous weekend away? What about an impromptu mid-week work trip? All of these things are part of day-to-day life, but not too convenient when you’re a dog owner, as it’s your job to always make sure this time is covered.
Borrowers have a lot more freedom. If you only fancy walking a dog once a week then that’s manageable. Your life can be a lot more spontaneous without having a time-consuming (albeit cute) mutt to worry about.
Improving the well-being of dogs
If you’re wondering whether owning or borrowing is better for the dog, then you’re in luck, as whichever you choose, it’s win-win.
According to the Annual Stray Dogs Survey by the Dogs Trust, there were 81,000 dogs abandoned in 2016. And the charity reports that of these abandoned pups, 3,199 (4%) are reported to have been put to sleep by authorities taking part in the survey.
So, if you’re looking to adopt a new pooch, not only will you benefit from its unconditional love, loyalty and affection, but you could also be saving a life.
And the well-being benefits don’t just stop with permanent pet adoptions. Borrowers can also contribute to canine well-being.
Despite the best intent, some dog owners have lifestyle changes or health issues that limit the amount of exercise they can offer their soon-to-be-podgy pooches.
There are around 3.8 million overweight or obese dogs in the UK, a recent study by Tails.com has found, and the RSPCA says not having enough exercise is one of the main contributors to the wide-spread epidemic.
Dog borrowers are helping with this, and by taking to time to walk other people’s pups they are creating healthier and happier hounds.