Having a dog can be a very rewarding experience, so it’s exciting when you think you’re ready to have one. But it’s important to remember that whilst being rewarding, having a dog is a huge responsibility. If you’re wondering whether you’re ready for the commitment, there’s thousands of breeds to choose from and every dog is different – and there’s a lot of other things to consider before you take the plunge and welcome a fluffy new member to the family. Here’s a few basic points for consideration:
Should I get a puppy, or adopt an older dog?
It goes without saying that having a dog takes up a lot of time. This is especially true with puppies, as they require extra attention, and of course training. If you have a busy lifestyle, or work long hours, a puppy might not be the right choice for you. Instead you might want to consider adopting an older doggy who is already trained, and won’t require the extra attention.
It’s also worth noting that while puppies are obviously adorable – there are thousands of unwanted dogs available for adoption. While you’re trying to assess whether you should get a dog, or what kind of dog would fit well into your life, you might want to look into fostering a dog. This is a great way to see how you will adapt to having your own dog, while helping a dog on its way to finding a forever home.
How much time will I need to devote to a dog?
Dogs love company, and when they’re left alone for long periods of time, they’ll get bored and lonely. This isn’t to say that if you’re busy, work long hours, or are out a lot of the time that you shouldn’t get a dog, but it does mean you need to consider what you’ll do with your dog while you’re out. If you think you’ll have to leave your dog on its own for long periods of time, is there anyone who can help? Can a friend or family member take your pooch during the day? If not, maybe consider hiring a dog nanny / dog walker.
Are my living circumstances suitable for a dog?
When choosing a dog, it’s important to consider your living circumstances. Do you live in a flat? A house? Do you have access to a garden? If you’re limited on space, you should consider smaller breeds. Bear in mind that this doesn’t necessarily mean that your dog will need less exercise – small dogs can be very energetic!
How much does it cost to have a dog?
Aside from the initial expense of buying your pooch, having a dog is an expensive commitment. The average lifetime cost of owning a dog can range from £16,000 to £31,000, and this doesn’t include the cost of injury or illness, which can be another costly expense. While it’s something you may not worry about until it happens – there are plenty of pet insurance plans to choose from, which could save you money in the long run.
What should I feed my dog?
When it comes to pet food, there’s a huge range to choose from and if you’ve never had a dog before, this vast choice can seem confusing and daunting. To ensure your dog is getting the right nutrients, choose a high-quality food that is tailored to their needs.
Pooch & Mutt’s range of dried foods are all natural, complete, and grain-free. Unlike other well-known pet food brands that base their products on vague grouping such as breed or size, our foods are specific to health. Our grain-free foods are made with high-quality natural ingredients and all contain pre and probiotics. Each food is tailored to help with a variety of health problems common to dogs. We know that for humans, ‘food is fuel for life’ and wet believe the same should be true for dogs!
When you first get your puppy / dog, you need to be familiar with the food they have been given previously, as it’s important to introduce any changes to a doggy diet gradually. Feeding guides tend to be based on a rough estimate, but they’re always a good place to start. For a switch-over guideline, check out the infographic below:
Generally, you should aim to feed your dog two main meals a day, although this will be different for a puppy. As a rough guide, feed your puppy four meals a day up to four months, then reduce this to three a day until they are 6 months, when you can change to two a day. Whatever meal plan you decide on, it’s most important that you create a consistent routine that you can follow through on.
If you’ve considered these basic areas and you think you’re ready for the commitment of a dog, it’s a very exciting time, because a dog is really is one of the best friends you’ll ever have.