Okay, so you’ve decided to welcome a dog into your life. You’ve always loved dogs and wanted to have one of your own. Or, you’ve grown up around dogs and now that you’re an adult – you want one of your own. You’ve started scouring online classifieds to spot that perfect puppy but you are not completely sure. You’ve just become a mother and want your son to know what it’s like to love an animal. You just retired from your job and want a quiet companion. You are a teenager who wants the same dog that Lady Gaga is walking around with. Whatever your reason – make sure you answer these 7 questions before you go ahead. Rearing a dog is no less a task than rearing a child. A child grows up but the dog remains a baby for life.
7 Questions To Ask Yourself:
- Can you commit ten to fifteen years of life to take care of a helpless animal? On average a dog lives anywhere between 10 and 15 years. Do you have a stable life where you don’t travel or move around much? Your pet will need 24 hour supervision and cannot be left alone for more than a few hours every day. I mean, if you dont have time, why even get a canine companion? Right?
- Can you make considerable spends related to food, treats, toys, training, exercise, grooming, health and of course time? It’s an expensive affair. Quality dog food is costly, you cannot just feed table scraps or leftovers and expect a healthy dog. Just like humans, each dog will have behavioral and health issues that need to be addressed by a qualified trainer and veterinarian. Your dog will need daily exercise, stimulation, toys, activities. The pet needs to be groomed and bathed regularly, nails need to be clipped, hair may need trimming. Are you ready and equipped to provide to these basic needs?
- Is your family ok with you getting a pet? This is going to be a shared responsibility, taking for walks, feeding, training, caring when Ill- it’s a family commitment.
- Are you or any member of your family allergic to dogs?
This is a no go so drop the idea. There is no workaround. There are breeds that are hypoallergenic like ShihTzus but you shouldn’t take the chance.
- Have you raised a dog before? Do you know how to bring one up? It will take a lot of reading, watching YouTube videos and talking to your vet and fellow pet owners to get all the info you’ll need to bring up a companion you are proud of. It’s not easy.
- Have you done your homework on the breed of dog you want? The Indian dog is equally loyal and loving and so are all of the others. But, each breed has certain characters that may or may not suit your lifestyle. For example, if you are mostly an indoor person, living in an apartment, then getting a big, active outdoor dog like a German shepherd will be a bad idea. Get a more laid back small dog like a pug or French bulldog instead. At the same time, if you love jogging, hiking, long walks make sure to get an active dog like a boxer instead of a tiny maltese. Do your homework.
- Do you know if you are going to adopt or buy? If you know what type of dog you want, it’s time to decide whether to adopt or buy. There are many adorable older dogs waiting to be rehomed at local shelters like Bangalore’s CUPA. They may have already been housebroken and you will spend minimum time training. But if you do choose to buy, make sure to get an amiable, healthy puppy from a respected breeder. Say no to OLX classifieds, puppy mills and backyard breeders as they may not be aware of selective breeding techniques and you may end up with a puppy pre disposed to genetic illnesses and bad temperament.
This is just the beginning. Bringing home a dog will change your life forever. They have many things to teach us and a whole lot of love to give. So go ahead and find that dog soulmate of yours. Here’s wishing you a happily ever after.