14 Things Potential Dog Parents Should Know
You need to be a hundred percent certain and prepared for a puppy before you bring one home because once you have a pet you cannot give it up just because it got too much to handle. If you still think you are up for the challenge, then you should take a look at our comprehensive list of things dog parents should know.
Becoming a dog parent can be tremendously humbling. When a person takes on the responsibility of a living being other than themselves or anyone they are related to, they feel a glorious mix of emotions, ranging from an all-consuming love and affection to unexplainable anxiety and worry. While completely natural, the whirlwind of feelings that comes with bringing home a dog can get a little overwhelming at times. Mix that with the bucket load of responsibility of being a dependable dog-parent and soon the once-eager guardian is frazzled beyond reason, regretting their decision.
Simply put, as exciting as adopting a dog may seem, it’s not really all fun and games. You need to be a hundred percent certain and prepared for a puppy before you bring one home because once you have a pet you cannot give it up just because it got too much to handle.
If you still think you are up for the challenge, then you should take a look at our comprehensive list of things dog parents should know.
1. Dogs add to a household’s expenses significantly
Whether you are old enough to adopt a pup yourself or are in the process of convincing your parents to let you own a pooch, you should know that caring for a dog requires some pretty deep pockets. Whichever breed you choose, you will have to spend a significant amount of money to fulfill your furry fellow’s needs.
From unfathomably expensive vaccinations and periodic visits to the vet to healthy, good-quality dog food and chew toys, many new account heads will add to your financial statements.
According to the ASPCA, The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the annual cost of care for a small dog is $420, a medium dog $620 and a large dog $780. And that doesn’t account for the different varieties of dog breeds. If you wish to get further down into the weeds, you should look up the cost of raising different dog breeds. But just to give you an idea, the average annual cost of caring for a Great Dane is $3536 whereas, for a Labrador your expenses can rack up to anywhere between $1060 and $10000.
2. Every Dog is Different
Like humans, every dog is different with varying needs even the ones belonging to the same breed. Even though all dogs of a particular canine family share some common traits, they also possess their own set of quirks.
Let’s say, you bring home a Bischon Frise because the one your friend owns impressed you spectacularly. But yours doesn’t seem quite as poised as your friend’s pet, and that dissonance between your expectation and reality is eating at you because you were after a clone. And you didn’t get it because obviously it doesn’t exist.
Even if two dogs are identical, they will behave differently. You can dream up a rough sketch of the dog you wish to get but you cannot expect to get exactly what you imagined. After all, dogs are not like some customizable products that you can design as per your choice.
In sum, adopting a dog is pretty similar to getting into a relationship where you expect the other party as they are. You can have an ideal type but naturally you will have to adjust your expectations if you want to be in a healthy long-term relationship.
3. Different Breeds work for different families
Once you decide you want to parent a four-legged fur child, you have to consider the needs of the breed you plan on bringing home and evaluate if you can cater to those.
As previously mentioned, every canine class has a signature set of qualities, which remain true across the board. For instance, Rottweilers are highly intelligent, loyal, courageous guard dogs that require some seriously attentive parenting. You need to look after their dietary needs as they are active canines who need to have a healthy, nutrient-dense diets. They also need a fair amount of exercise daily to stay fit and ready to pounce all the time. If you are absolutely sure that you can provide everything a Rottweiler needs, only then should you get one otherwise you should look for another less-demanding breed, such as a Boston terrier.
Long story short, you need to be certain about what you can offer your canine-companion before you decide on a dog family to get your sidekick from.
4. Dogs have grooming needs too
As humans, we can often get a little carried away and assume that only we require grooming; animals can last for days without any priming. But that’s far from the truth. All animals have grooming needs and dogs are no different. They require regular bathing, nail-clipping, fur-trimming and brushing to stay as healthy as they can be.
If you are a lazy person, perhaps you should pull the brakes on getting a dog because a fluffy pal needs to be cleaned. Truth be told, you can disguise your lack of hygiene with deodorants and perfumes, your fur child cannot. If you don’t scrub and prime them regularly, they will start to smell and become the breeding ground for many tiny critters such as ticks and fleas.
Unless you want people to shoo your canine companion away, you should groom them like clockwork. And if you think you are not suited for the job, you can always hire a dog groomer to do it for you.
5. Neutering/Spaying a dog is an absolute must
Dogs can be develop some unhealthy behaviors such as hyper-sexuality. A hyper-sexual dog can become restless, even aggressive if its need is not satisfied. The best way to go around this rather difficult canine problem is to neuter/spay to your dog.
Neutering/spaying is a process in which a dog’s reproductive organ is removed; either all of it or just a part.
Many people consider castrating their dogs cruel because it robs the pets of their primal needs. Besides, neutered/spayed dogs are also at risk of developing a bunch of medical conditions such as osteosarcoma or other orthopedic diseases.
While castration can lead to ailments in dogs, it doesn’t always do. A canine is always at risk of developing lethal medical conditions with or without neutering. However, a neutered dog is much better-behaved. Moreover, castrated dogs mean population control and less canines are put to sleep because there aren’t enough homes for them.
As heartbreaking as it sounds, the fact remains that millions of dogs are killed each year because they don’t have homes to live in. Studies show that approximately 6 to 8 million fur babies are put to sleep every year in America alone.
If you get your dogs neutered, not only they will love longer and healthier, but also many other less-fortunate dogs who would otherwise die.
6. Dogs need to be entertained
Dogs are one of the most intelligent animals on the planet. They need to be actively engaged mentally; otherwise they can get aggressive and hard to manage. When you decide to become a paw-parent, you should be clear about making arrangements to keep your first-fur-born entertained. You need to ensure your four-legged child is sufficiently engaged, and not only when you are up for some fun, but also in moments when you’re exhausted and they want to party!
To keep your fur baby happy, you should invest in intriguing dog puzzles and other mentally stimulating games, which they can play even when you aren’t around.
7. Dogs need to burn off steam
Regardless of its breed, a dog needs some level of exercise to burn off steam. When you get a dog, you cannot slack off and let it lounge around all day because that gives you time to relax as well. That’s bad parenting right there!
Parents are supposed to do what’s best for the child. Why should it be any different if the kid is four-legged and sports a thick coat of fur?
Even if your fur child doesn’t seem too eager to go out and play, you should entice them to do it so that they stay fit. Moreover, a report by the association for pet obesity prevention revealed that 55% of adult dogs in the US are overweight. And surprisingly, 22% of paw-parents thought their pet’s weight was within the normal range when in reality it was well past the obesity threshold. The striking study clearly demonstrates how dog parents can be remiss about their fur child’s health. You can also become a statistic, if you aren’t careful enough to keep your pet physically active.
8. Dogs need seasonal care
No need to arch your eyebrows at that because it’s a fact! We humans can be quite dense at times; a clear example of that is assuming dogs don’t require special treatment for every season.
Even though dogs have some level of natural protection against different weathers, they still require extra care from time to time. For instance, in the chilly weather, you fur child will need to be bundled up and kept warm inside, no matter their breed. Likewise, they’ll need to stay well hydrated, within cold environments during the scorching summer season otherwise they can get a heatstroke.
You should also consider whipping up some seasonal drinks for you little one to make them feel comfortable and loved.
9. Dogs need doctors
Dogs are living beings, so naturally they require medical care on a regular basis. If you want to be a responsible paw-parent, you need to have a qualified vet for your fur child to ensure they are in tiptop health.
And believe it or not, veterinarians can charge an arm and a leg for their services. So you need to have sufficient funds in your bank account to take care of your dog.
We know what you must be thinking right now, “I don’t have to take my dog to the vet every few months.” Enht! Wrong! Dogs are like babies, they need to be examined by a doctor every few months, if not every other, in order to stay healthy. Moreover, during seasonal changes, you might have to visit the vet more frequently than usual. And don’t forget about the inevitable accidents that somehow dogs manage to get themselves into despite the parent’s best efforts. So, don’t delude yourself by assuming that you will not have to take your fur child to the doctor many times because that’s certainly not the case!
10. Dogs need supplies
It goes without saying that dogs, like all other pets, need supplies. But since dogs are relatively smarter and bigger than most other pets, their needs can cost you quite the pretty penny. The most important dog accessories that you will need even before the dog arrives include
- A crate
- An eating bowl
- A collar
- Some chew toys
- A name tag
- A dog bed
- A travel bag- if you are a frequent traveler.
- Grooming supplies
- A leash
- Gates-to enclose your fur kid when you are not around to watch them.
- Dog food
- An Exercise pen- although it’s not an essential item, it’s a useful tool to help your fluffy baby stay active.
11. Dogs have allergies
This may be a foreign concept for you but dogs have serious allergies that can even turn out to be fatal. And their allergies are not only triggered by food items but also certain plants. If you want to keep your fur child safe and sound, you need to keep them away from the following items
- Coconut and coconut oil
- Macadamia nuts
- Raw meat, eggs and bones
- Yeast dough
- Over salted snacks
- Coffee and caffeine
- Male juniper shrubs
- Acacia shrubs
- Mulberry trees
- Oak trees
- Evening and garden primrose
- Sago palm
- Bermuda grass
- Carpet fresheners
- Carpet shampoo
- Fabric softeners
- Swiffer Wet Jet
- Toilet cleaning tablets
- Vinegar and water solution
12. Dogs need regular training
Dogs are creatures of routine; they thrive on regular training. If you want your fur child to stay well-behaved, you need to train them consistently. But that’s not all. You also need to start coaching your little one as soon as they arrive.
Behavioral training takes a lot of time to show results. And the sooner it starts, the faster it yields results. So the best route for you to raise an obedient fluffy fella is adopting them as a puppy and start the training straight away.
However, if you get a rescue dog, you might not have the option to get an impressionable pooch because most shelter homes have canines have a little older dogs. This means you can end up with a fur child who has already picked up some bad habits from other canines. If that happens, consider boarding your pet into a training school with professional trainers.
You can also do the training yourself, if you have the time and patience to manage that.
13. Rescue Dogs Deserve Home
Many unaware dog parents choose pure-bred dogs over rescues believing that those are highly trainable and not as susceptible to medical ailments as the dogs in shelter homes. But that’s not true!
Rescue dogs may seem weak and vulnerable but there is nothing a little tender love and care cannot fix. They are not inherently prone to disease and health problems, in most case their abusive past renders them frail and compromise their immunity. But that’s all the more reason for you to adopt a pet from a rescue place.
The world is brimming with abandoned dogs without enough shelters to look after them. As a result, these poor canines are put to sleep or left to die on the street. If you adopt such unfortunate dogs, you can save them and nurse them back to life. Doing so is not only immensely generous but also cost-effective.
Dog breeders charge exorbitantly for breeding dogs. But that’s not the worst part! Dog breeding corporations also keep the canines they plan to breed together in deplorable conditions, putting the helpless animals at risk of developing health problems or even death. Why would you want to support such organizations?
If you genuinely want to love and cherish a dog, why not choose one that’s been through a harrowing life? And believe it or not, the satisfaction one feels after rescuing a dog is unmatched!
If you want to truly experience how rewarding adopting a dog can be, you should get one from a shelter home.
14. Dogs Need Love
Which living creature doesn’t need love and care? None!
Dogs are no exception to this law of nature! They love being fawned over and showered with unconditional love. Just like they serve as our best friends, we should be theirs!
If you are planning to get adopt a fur kid, be prepared to love them with all your heart and never leave them alone for long hours because dogs have serious separation anxiety. If you disappear without warning, your fluffy child will get anxious and uncontrollably restless, which can lead to aggressive behaviors. Save yourself the trouble and your canine companion the heartache by keeping them close by!
If you are still not deterred after reading about all the things dog parents should know and believe that you can be a decent dog parent, perhaps you should become one. But if you want to test your abilities first, consider fostering a dog and you’ll know if you have what it takes to be a paw-parent.
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