Among companion animals, dogs are unmatched in their devotion, loyalty and friendship to humankind. Anyone who has ever loved a dog can attest to its hundred-fold return. The excitement your dog shows when you come home, the wagging tail at the sound of the leash being taken from its hook, the delight in the tossing of a tennis ball, and the head nestled in your lap-those are only some of the rewards of being a dog owner.
Owning a dog is not just a privilege-it’s a responsibility. These animals depend on us for, at minimum, food and shelter, and deserve much more. If you are considering taking a dog into your life, you need to think seriously about the commitment that dog ownership entails. If you already have a dog, you need to consider if you are fulfilling all your obligations as its owner.
Consider the following carefully – Are You Really Ready To Get A Dog?
- Have you done homework, such as reading about housebreaking, training, behavioral problems, and daily care of a dog? And what kinds of dogs are best for you and your family?
- Will your working hours allow enough time to provide the care and exercise a dog needs every day?
- If you have children, will you have time to provide the daily care and exercise a dog needs every day?
- Will you have enough money to cover food, toys, annual vet exams, vaccinations, monthly heartworm preventative, flea control, unexpected medical costs, grooming, training, and boarding the pet when you travel?
- Are you ready to live with a pet? Can you depend on your children not to pester a dog and let a dog out the door? Will you be able to watch the dog at all times when children visit your home?
- If considering a puppy, will you be able to arrange for midday visits — since puppies need to go out every 4 hours or so to become housebroken?
- Do you have time for obedience training and teaching house manners as necessary to help the dog become a good companion?
- Do you travel frequently, and if so, what are your plans for the dog?
- If you move, can you be sure your next place will allow dogs?
- Can you make the commitment to care for this animal for his or her lifetime?