Monday, April 19, 2010

So You Think You Are Ready For A Dog?

I am single, young career woman. I have my own apartment and I can say that I earn quite a bit and an extra source of cash through my online job to keep a pet dog. I have a good family and loving friends but there is one thing that I have been wanting to do and that is to own a dog. For many years I have waited for the day when I can finally own a dog. It used to be that I can't get one because of my job and my living arrangement. I used to have housemates who didn't want dogs around the place and I held a job that kept me out of the house most of the time. So, I had to wait and after years of waiting finally I can have one.

The day came when I can finally get a dog but I had another concern and that is what type of dog breed should I get? I have several preferences when it came to dog breeds, I was thinking of the adorable poodle, the lovable shihtzu, the tiny teacup chihuahua or the good tempered labrador retriever, oh yes I was also thinking of the beautiful yorkie and the handsome siberian husky and I could not seem to make up my mind. So, again I waited till I can finally come to a decision. Plus, there were a lot more to consider more than I have expected.

There are things to consider when owning a dog. The day you decide to bring home a dog you decide to stay committed in raising your dog. Dogs are like little children they are adorable and cute and funny but at times they can misbehave, grouchy and give you sleepless nights. You must have a lot of patience especially if you decide to raise a puppy, I know most of us likes to raise puppies than having older dogs, but as I have mentioned there are things to consider.

1. Size- have you decided what size of dog do you want? The bigger the size the bigger your living space should be. Toy dogs and small dogs are good for small apartments and bigger dogs would be suitable for bigger apartments or houses with yards. If you are single like me ( Well I am assuming that you are) small dogs can be great, small dogs or toy dogs are delicate and vulnerable and is not recommended in families with small children. Take note also that bigger dogs eats a lot compared to smaller dog so this is also a very big thing to consider.

2. Age- you must decide whether you want to raise a puppy or an adult dog. There are pros and cons with both but all is up to you. With puppies you get to raise them while they are young and you can decide how to raise them but bear in mind that this needs a lot of commitment on your part. You need to house break them and most often times this is hard work. There will be a lot of accidents around your place and you will be cleaning up where your pup poops and pees. So, think if you have the time to do so. Older dogs on the other hand, are already house broken (well mostly but not all. be sure to ask the owner or breeder before you buy). Some have been Socialized already and can easily adopt to their new home. However, there are some breeds that does not easily adopt to new homes.

3. Breed- before you buy a dog research on the breed. Each dog breed has it's own unique qualities and exhibit a certain trait. Some dog breeds are high maintenance compared to other dogs. For example a shihtzu is high maintenance compared to a mini pin. You need to spend a lot for grooming maintenance when you own a shihtzu compared to owning a mini pin. Labrador are very gentle dogs and is compatible with children while a Jack Russell Terrier is fiercely loyal only to its owner and may not be friendly towards other people.

4. Budget- Can you afford  keeping a dog? You would need to complete your dog's vaccination. Maintain his grooming needs and in some countries you would need a pet insurance to cover the cost of hospitalization should your dog get sick. Some dog breeds require meticulous care like long haired dogs and some dog breeds are susceptible  to certain health problems and would need regular vet check up. You should anticipate these needs before getting one. You must be honest and be objective as to how much you can spend for a new pet. After all you don't want to live from paycheck to paycheck and certainly you cannot neglect your responsibilities as a pet owner. So weigh things carefully.

When you have decided on the above mentioned things to consider and whether you decide to get a small dog or a large one, a puppy or an adult dog you must first gather all the grooming materials and all the things that your dog would need. Below are the things you would need to buy before you take your new pet home.

1. Feeding bowls and water bottles- I suggest that you buy stainless feeding bowls with rubber around the rim. The rubber helps keep the bowl in place and will last longer compared to a plastic feeding bowl. Your pet would need a supply of clean fresh water be sure to keep a water bottle nearby.

2. Play pens or crates - if you decide to take home a puppy you would need either a play pen or a crate. Either one of these two are good tools in keeping your pup confined to a certain place so that it will not wander around your place and soil your living space. Most experts do suggest crate method in house breaking your pup. Pups won't soil the place where they sleep so they learn how to hold it until they are taken out of the crate. You must also remember to not let the puppy stay inside the crate or play pen for a prolonged period of time because they would not be able to hold it in for so long. You must let them out 15 mins after eating or after taking a nap and early in the morning.

3.Chew toys- chew toys are a good way to keep your pup engrossed in something other than your shoes or furniture. Especially when dogs are teething they would most likely chew on anything so be sure to get them one. Dogs can also be destructive when bored, giving them chew toys are a way to relieve them of boredom.

4. Dog beds or mattress- there are many beautifully designed dog beds that are washable be sure to invest on a good one. If you choose a large dog be sure that you buy the biggest size that your dog can grow in and still use when he grows up to save you from spending on another one.

5. Dog collars and leashes - buy a dog collar that is adjustable, one that he would not out grow easily. There are many beautiful leashes and collar, buy the one that is comfortable for your pet.

6. Grooming materials- you must have the basics like nail clippers, dog shampoo and conditioner, towels, blow dryer made especially for dogs, brushes and combs depending on what type of pet you have.  For my pup I use herbal soap that has a sweet smelling scent, I find it more effective in controlling my pup's odor than regular dog soaps. Buy soap and shampoo that is tick and flea repellant and controls odors.I usually medicated herbal products over regular products. I also use dog powder to remove odor to make sure my pup won't smell.

7. Cleaning solutions - to ensure your pup's health make sure his living area is clean. To get rid of bad odor clean your pet's living space regularly and use antispetics like lysol which at the same time removes bad odor. You may want to use a spot remover and deodorizer.

After getting all these things you also need to do one last thing before you bring home your new bestfriend and that is dog proofing your house. It is necessary to dog proof your house to ensure that your place is a safe place for your four legged bestfriend. This would also prevent accidents like swallowing  small inorganic objects which would cost you a lot for that vet visit. Still prevention is better than cure. So dog proof your place before bringing home your new pet.

This is what I have learned with all these dog thingy. It was more than I have expected but I am glad to learn all these before getting one. Hope this guide is of help to you.  Before I forget if you are the type who travels too much or has an active night life you may want to reconsider owning a dog. If you really want to own one be sure you have someone who can dog sit for you while you are away.

Finally, I am now a proud owner of a 4 1/2 months old Jack Russell Terrier-Spitz. An intelligent mixed breed pup bursting with so much energy. She is my new bestfriend, a  loyal one I can say. I am blessed to be showered with her unconditional love and loyalty and having her around surely makes my days better. Hope you find your new bestfriend soon!

Louise a Jack Russel Terrier - Japanese Spitz cross breed

Louise enjoys laying down on my couch and playing with her toy.

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