What to consider before getting a dog? Let’s list the benefits of owning a dog as well as some caveats in an organized list. We know, it’s a strange topic for a blog dedicated to helping existing dog owners with their pets’ diet and nutrition. However, this is the post to which you can direct would-be dog owners with doubts.
Reasons to get a dog
Let’s start with the 5 good reasons first:
- Fitness and activity
- Responsibility and patience
Humans are sociable beings that need companionship. A dog can be that furry friend for you, just like you must then be their companion. People with dogs (and pets in general) tend to live longer and report less stress – that has something to do with dopamine and serotonin (wellbeing and happiness hormones) being released when you’re happy. Studies show that man’s best friend really does improve your mental health; because dogs are great.
Study sponsored by University of Arizona show that in addition to previously mentioned reducing of stress, dogs can also improve children’s immune system.
Fitness and activity
It’s not only our loneliness that gets lessened but due to having to take care of your dog you also get some benefits from the physical activity involved. Dog owners have lower blood pressure. That probably has something to do with the fact, that dogs are great companions in your daily exercise. Walking your dog is almost like a fitness routine. And yes, walking your dog is a must.
Responsibility, patience and purpose
Taking care of your dog also teaches you responsibility and patience. A dog can’t clean after itself, a dog can’t go on a walk alone (actually it can, but that tends to end with the dog’s picture on the missing poster), can’t pour their own water or put dog food in their bowl. You must do that; day after day – every day.
For some elderly people having pets actually gives them purpose – they can be their reason to get up in the morning. Seeing a dog happily wagging its tail makes you feel good and can also teach you a lot about yourself and how you can be better.
And finally, there is the reason of protection; and we don’t just mean physical protection. Dogs can improve a person’s emotional stability and keep some of the bad things at bay. Think of therapy dogs, guide dogs, rescue dogs, or dogs that help the physically impaired. Protection that goes beyond big teeth and loud bark.
Then there are the 5 absolutely wrong reasons to get a dog:
- Fashion and fads
- Impulse buy
- Because the kids want one
- A living being as a gift
- Avoiding Corona Virus lockdown restrictions
Fashion and fads
The worst possible reason to get a dog is to get one as a fashion accessory. Getting a living being simply as a fashion statement is cruel to the dog because these owners then tend to get bored of the dog… Especially if the trends start to shift.
Getting a dog should always be well planned and researched and never an impulse buy. While dogs (and cats) might not live for as long as humans do, they do have considerable life spans and will be around for years to come. If you get one on an impulse and then decide you hate having them, you’ll be ruining a portion of your life and the entirety of theirs.
Because the kids want one
Similarly, you shouldn’t get a dog just because the kids want one. Children can be fickle and have perfect images, with no problems. Sometimes it works out, the other times you, rather than the children, will become the dog’s provider; so be prepared for that.
A living being as a gift
Giving a dog to someone as a gift without discussing it with the person is decidedly less than a wise thing to do. While people may say they want a dog, they might not mean it; also when people are mourning their previous dog, they might not want another puppy. So just – don’t.
Avoiding lockdown restrictions
This last one is a more recent addition… Don’t get a dog to avoid corona lockdown restrictions. We’ll get over the restrictions eventually, but your dog will remain and they will need unconditional love. So if you’re not a dog lover, just don’t.
Where to get a dog?
- Dog shelter
- Dog Breeder
- By asking people
There are several places where one may procure their canine companion. It’s important to note here that different countries have different laws and different ways of doing things. For example, answering a post on social media and getting a dog that comes from a puppy mill here in Slovenia is not something that you’d expect to happen. But in some places, it might be an issue.
Generally speaking the best place (ethically speaking) to get your dog is a dog shelter. Getting a dog from a shelter means a better life for the dog you rescued, and better conditions for other dogs in the shelter. It can also be less expensive as this way usually involves just small administrative fees that help run the shelter.
Another way is to get a dog from a dog breeder. It tends to be the best way if you want a purebred dog with a documented pedigree. This way of obtaining a dog tends to be quite costly and you should be cautious and check carefully to get a dog from a reputable breeder (in the USA, you might want to check the American Kennel Club breeder referral for example) to avoid getting a dog from a puppy mill.
Ads online and printed ones are also an option in getting a dog, but the chance of stumbling on a dog from a puppy mill rises exponentially. [Yes, we really dislike puppy mills.]
By asking people
Finally, you get hints on exactly where to get a dog by asking other dog owners, your friends and acquaintances, and people in your social media reach. These dogs are often headed towards kennels, cost nothing, and are in greatest need of homes.
Finally, are you really the dog owner type…
Can you deal with the additional hassle?
Getting a canine companion comes with great rewards, but also involves a lot of work and inconveniences. A dog companion is another member of the family; one that can’t simply be left behind alone for long amounts of time. If you want to go on a vacation, you will also need to consider what to do with the dog; take them with you or get someone to look after them. And if there are fireworks going off outside and your doggo is petrified what do you do?
PS: We have a blog post dealing with fireworks and big bangs
Can you deal with the unpleasant part?
Dogs also come in a common package with dog poop, dog pee, dog barf, chewed and scratched furniture and clothes, destroyed items of importance, midnight howls, and own temperament that sometimes rivals that of a 4-year-old.
Can you deal with the daily grind?
Then there are the daily responsibilities. Dogs don’t come with an off or a mute button. They need to be taken on walks (even in bad weather), their bowls need to be cleaned and refilled, and quite simply put, their needs of you – will be bigger than your need of them.
Dogs are a part of your world, you are the entirety of theirs. They need you to be there to play with them, to hug them, to be the recipient of their licks and every other form of endearment they have for you. And you have to love them back. You have to be there for them, and you have to be there with them.
PS: We have a blog post dealing with bowls
Talk to a dog owner in person
PAWSM is ultimately a dog nutrition and dieting app’s blog; and not really a group dealing with each individual aspect of dog ownership. We cannot imagine or convey every single possible benefit and issue that an individual might have within being a dog owner.
To help YOU decide you should find a dog owner to talk to in person. They might be better able to convey all these things to you in your specific situation. If this blog post scared you, then it did its purpose; being a dog owner is not something that should be taken lightly, if not for your sake, then for the good of the dog.
We did our best to scare you and showed you as many bad parts as we could imagine. If you’re still here with us, and still feel that you’re up to the task of dog ownership, then the next blog article will help guide you on what kind of a dog to get. If you wish to be notified when we post the new blog, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter.