Pet ownership is something that brings a great deal of joy to a number of lives, and from the moment you look into the eyes of a new dog or cat, you are embarking upon a journey that will be filled with all sorts of emotions – most of them positive. The best pets will return your love with years of affection and devotion, and there is no question that they quickly become part of the family.
If, like more than 35% of Canadian households (and nearly 40% in America), you want to bring a dog into the home, then it is worth making sure you are ready for the new arrival. It’s normal to be impatient, but making sure you’re in the right place to welcome a dog is important – both for you and for them.
Do You Have Time To Devote To A Dog?
One mistake people make when it comes to pets is believing that cats and dogs are more or less interchangeable. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In general, a cat will happily go about its own business and if it wants affection, it will come to you. A dog, on the other hand, will usually require exercise, including walks and games of fetch; they are also prone to separation anxiety. If your job has you away from home for most of the week, and the house is empty for long spells, it’s unfair to inflict that on a pooch.
Do You Value Lazy Mornings?
Sleeping in on a weekend morning or when you have a day off work is always pleasant, but it’s something you’ll need to compromise on when you have a dog. They take time to house-train, and while you’re waiting for that, you’ll need to let them out regularly to “use the facilities”. Even then, there is still the chance of household “accidents” leading to you needing odor removal services. It’s part of the experience of owning a pet, and it’s one you will get used to – but you need to be ready for it.
Do You Have Financial Room For A Pet?
Most of us are familiar with the experience of having to make financial cutbacks to deal with hard times, but ask any pet owner and they’ll tell you that the last area they want to spend less in is pet expenses. You will understand the necessity of maybe buying cheaper coffee, or cutting back on takeout food. Your dog, who does not understand the concept of money, will still need to have money spent on its food, toys, beds and vet expenses. Every penny will be worth it, but you need to be sure you can afford to keep a dog before you get one.
Are You Ready To Learn “Dog Language”?
Every pet owner has turned to a family member or friend at one time or another and said “I wish they could speak”. If your spouse, parent or child (after a certain age) needs something, they’ll always be able to use their words to let you know. Your pet can only make their needs known through behaviours, and you’ll need to learn to interpret these. What do they do when they are hungry? When they need to go outside? How do you know when they are feeling sick? What are the signs that they are annoyed or fearful? You’ll come to learn all of these, but it may take time.
Having a dog around the house is a wonderful experience, and it’s something you’ll cherish much more than you ever regret. But make sure you can deal with all of the above before you bring one home.
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