Today I bring you a guest post by the lovely Craig. It’s all about whether you have time for a pet dog because they are a commitment I can tell you! Anyhow, take it away Craig….
Do You Really Have Time For A Pet Dog?
Big dogs, small dogs, black ones, and white ones too, dogs really do make great companions. The thing that every dog owner knows is that they are so much more than pets. Dogs, no matter what breed, become part of the family. We treat them almost as if they were our own kids, and rightfully so.
Dogs deserve the very best in care and support, especially because they can’t really take care of themselves. That does beg the question of whether or not you actually have time for a pet dog. Yes, they do require a fair amount of care and attention, so do you really have time for it? After all, you don’t want to get yourself a new Rottweiler or Golden Retriever just to realise that you don’t have the time or resources to properly care for it.
How Much Time Do I Really Need For A Pet Dog?
While dogs are undoubtedly some of the best pets out there, they are going to require some looking after. Time is something that you will definitely need if you have your own dog. You need to spend at least 1 hour per day walking it no matter what. Yes, this does differ in terms of the dog breed. Some smaller dogs like Pugs only need something like two twenty minute walks per day, once in the morning and once at night.
However, larger dogs like Huskies, ones built for action, need anywhere from one to two hours of walking per day, at the very least. These animals are built for movement so you need to find the time to provide them with a way to release their energy. Moreover, you will need time to feed your dogs at least twice per day, albeit not that much time is needed for that. There is still more than that, because dogs are man’s best friend, or in other words, they can be a little clingy and attention seeking.
If you have your own dog, expect to spend at least 30 minutes per day playing with it. Then there is also the issue of giving your dog baths, grooming its coat, clipping nails, and cleaning ears. Plus you need to factor in the time for visits to the vet as well. All in all, dogs do require a substantial amount of time taken out of your daily routine for proper care. Of course it does depend on the breed and size of the dog. A larger and more active dog needs a lot more walking, attention, and will take longer to groom than a smaller and more relaxed dog.
Now, this is all very true for adult dogs, but puppies are another story all together. If you get a puppy, you will need even more time. Simply speaking, puppies need to be taken outside to do their business at least once per hour, and almost like a baby, you will need to get up several times per night to let them out as well. Puppies don’t have the biggest bladders so they urinate a lot, so if you don’t want your carpets ruined, taking them outside very regularly and very often is a complete must. Puppies need more attention in general, so just keep that in mind before you get one.
Do I Have Room For The Dog?
Besides time, you will also need lots of room for your dog. Once again, this does depend on the size of the dog more than anything else. This is a two pronged issue, because you need enough space in your home to comfortably house the dog and you need enough garden space so they can go outside, play, do their business, and just be outside, which is something that dogs definitely like to do.
This is where the problem of having a house or apartment comes into play. If you have your own house, chances are you have enough room for a dog. Even a 3 person family in a 1 story home can fit a dog no problem. Also, since you have a house, it is also safe to assume that you have a little bit of a front or back garden as well (there are also some hidden dangers in the garden that you really need to be aware of). So, this is a matter of judgment, and it is not like we can see your specific house, so you need to judge if your house is big enough for a dog.
The same can be said for the garden, because after all, a 5 by 5 foot patch of grass is hardly going to be enough. Of course, this is a problem that can be solved simply by living near a park, forest, or any other kind of wilderness. However, if you live in an apartment building, this may be a problem. Apartments are usually smaller than your average house, so space is going to be tight for the most part. There is also the fact that most apartment buildings in larger cities, and even smaller cities, don’t have a garden, lawn, or some kind of communal place for dog walking. Smaller dogs need less room and vice versa.
The point of all this is that you need to take all of these considerations into mind when deciding whether or not you have the appropriate amount of space for your new pet. This is all going to depend on the size of dog of course, as well as how active they are.
For instance, a little Pug that barely moves is going to be fine in a two bedroom apartment with 2 or even 3 people, but the same can surely not be said for a large Rottweiler or any other larger and more active dog. The bottom line is that you need to have enough space in your home to not trip over the dog with every step you take, and enough grass, or at least access to grass, for your dog to run around and do its business.
How Does The Family Feel About Getting A Dog?
Something else to keep in mind before you purchase or get a dog is whether or not everybody in the family is on board. Now, one thing that needs to be said is that it is important for the family to meet the dog before buying it. This is at least true if you are getting a dog that is already fully grown. You want to make sure that it has a good temperament, is friendly, not too boisterous, and will fit well with the family. If somebody has a problem with the specific dog, you may want to keep looking for another one.
Now, this is harder if you get a puppy, because you can’t really judge a dog’s character until it starts to mature, but if you want a puppy, that is just the risk you will have to take. The point is that everybody should ideally be on board when you are getting a family pet. Now, if you have several kids, say three, and one of them doesn’t really want a dog, you can probably make a compromise. Hey, you can’t make everybody happy, plain and simple. The point of whether kids like the dog or not is minute compared to if they feel safe with it.
Dogs are generally the responsibility of adults, so it is the adult’s decision at the end of the day. As long as your kids feel safe and comfortable with the dog, or if you can at least get it to the point where they feel safe, then all should be just fine. Put it this way, if your kids, for one reason or another, don’t want a dog, but you do, well, to be honest, don’t let that stop you! Kids will quickly learn to like and love the dog. Let’s be realistic though, there is not a child in the world that does not instantly fall in love with a puppy!
It’s never ever the kids that have a problem with getting a dog. It’s usually the adults anyway! At the end of the day, as long as everybody feels comfortable and safe, you have nothing to worry about.
Can I Actually Afford To Look After A Dog?
The other matter when it comes to dogs is that they can be quite expensive to maintain. First off, if you buy a dog instead of rescuing one, if you get a pure bred or other popular breed, you can except to spend anywhere from hundreds to thousands for it, so there is that to keep in mind.
Next, you need to account for toys, beds, blankets, dog houses, leashes, doggy bags, and all of that other fun stuff too, which generally speaking you can expect to cost you a few hundred at minimum. Dogs eat a lot, so there is that as well. For instance, a 100 pound dog is going to eat around £100 worth of food per month easily, at least if you get quality food.
Basic maintenance for a dog, especially a larger one, is going to be fairly costly. You also need to take into account grooming tools or trips to a groomer. There is also the fact that dogs, especially puppies, like to destroy things. Chewing is something that dogs love to do and boy do they do it well! Just take into account that a puppy might chew apart pillows, sofas, wooden objects, shoes, drywall, and anything in between. If you are ready to wake up in the morning to find your Air Jordan shoes in shreds, then you are definitely ready for a dog.
Oh, and of course we can’t forget to mention those guys called veterinarians. If you did not already know, while they are great at their jobs, vets do tend to gouge customers for every penny they can squeeze out. The trick here is to find a good vet that won’t take advantage of the fact that you are just looking out for your dog.
Dogs and especially puppies, need various shots and immunisations, which can easily cost a few hundred. Plus, you need to remember that dogs get sick just like we do and when something happens those trips to the vet can add up pretty quickly. People aren’t kidding when they say that dogs are almost like kids because they need lots of time and can be pretty costly too.
Should I Get A Rescue Dog?
Absolutely! If you can, you should definitely get a rescue dog. Dogs deserve good homes, but unfortunately every year tens of thousands of these poor creatures get abused and left homeless. Pet shelters are great places that do their best to house these animals, but the often run out of room, time, money, and man power to do a really good job of it. These shelters are in place to let kind souls like you adopt the dogs in need.
When you adopt a rescue dog you are giving an innocent creature a good home and you are taking a burden off of the shelter. There is also the fact that rescue dogs are free, so you won’t need to pay a small fortune from a breeder. There is the small issue that many rescue dogs may be scared or nervous at first, and some may have abuse related issues, but those problems generally go away when you care for them, are nice to them, and provide them with love and support.
After Reading This I Don’t Think We Have The Time Yet, What Are My Other Pet Options?
It is of course perfectly understandable if you don’t have the time required to really keep a dog happy and healthy. After all, it is a very big commitment and responsibility, which is true in more ways than once. If you don’t have the time for a dog, there are some other pet options which are not quite as money or time consuming.
A fish, especially if you only get one or two, is a great way to go if you don’t have that much time to spare. Betta fish are very playful, they look beautiful, don’t require much room, and are very easy to take care of. All you really need is a 2 or 3 gallon Betta fish tank (this site has covered some cool betta fish tanks) , some plants and substrate, a light, and some food.
The tanks don’t take up much space, Betta’s can breathe air from the surface, so you don’t need an air pump, and they are very resilient in general. As long as you have a good filter you don’t even need to do all that many water changes. Besides regular feeding and cleaning of the tank, they don’t take up much time at all.
A cat is another good option to consider. The real reason why they don’t need so much time is because they are much more independent than dogs. Cats clean themselves, they don’t need to be walked, and they don’t even like human attention all that much. Sure, they love to play at times, but they don’t need nearly as much attention as a dog. Yes, cats do also need to be fed and they need visits to the vet too, but when compared to a dog, the work involved in taking care of a cat is minimal.
Turtles are also another neat option to go with. They are much cheaper than dogs, both to buy and maintain. You need a tank, some substrate, plants and rocks, a heating lamp and UV lamp, a filter (turtles need a powerful filter) and that is about it. Sure, you can buy more stuff to pimp out the turtle tank, but the above things are the basic necessities.
While setting up a turtle tank can be slightly costly, in the long run they are much cheaper than the supplies requires to keep a dog. Just like Betta fish, your turtles need to be fed and their tank needs to be cleaned. That is about it. There is really not much more work involved here. Your turtle certainly does not need to be walked!
At the end of the day, just consider these four things. Do you have the time to look after a dog? Do you have the money to support your dog’s needs? Does everyone in your family feel safe and happy about getting a dog? Do you have the space for a dog? If you answered yes to all of those questions, stop wasting time and go get an awesome new pet dog!