Is a dog right for me?
Dogs make great companions and as an added benefit dog owners have lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, better survival after heart attacks, lower levels of mental stress and higher self esteem than people who don’t have dogs. Before making a life-long commitment to a new dog it is important to consider firstly whether a dog is the right pet for you and what sort of dog is best suited for you. Below we have listed some of the advantages of dog ownership and factors to take into consideration before committing to a dog.
Advantages of dogs as pets
- Dogs are very social animals and love to be a part of the family
- Dogs are great motivators to keeps us active and healthy with regular walks
- There are a wide variety of dog breeds and sizes available, making it easy to find a dog that will fit in with your lifestyle.
- Your dog will love you unconditionally and always be happy to see you, especially when you are having a bad day.
Considerations before selecting a dog as a pet
- Dogs require daily attention, not only providing food and water but also taking them for walks and playing.
- Owning a dog is a long term commitment, will you still be able to care for your dog in 10-15 years time?
- We recommend you make a budget before getting a dog, to ensure you can take the best care of him or her. Consider in your budget the cost of food, flea treatment, worming, vaccinations, pet insurance and saving for unexpected veterinary bills.
- What will happen to your dog when you go on holidays? Will it go with you or go into boarding?
- With so many types of dogs available it is crucial to spend some time researching what type would suit your family. Make sure you consider:
- The size of your new dog. Larger dogs require more space, more food and medication can be quite expensive due to the higher dose they require.
- The activity level of your dog. Working dogs such as kelpies and border collies are quite small in size and can make fantastic family pets. However, they were bred for running several kilometres every day on the farm and require an active family to keep them stimulated.
- Your dog's coat type. Short coated dogs require less grooming but shed more that long haired dogs. Double coated breeds (such as Huskies and German shepherds) will shed large amounts of hair all year round - this can be problematic if you like to keep a clean and tidy house or if someone develops allergies.
- Breed predisposition. Most purebred dogs will have at least 1 or 2 conditions that they are at a higher risk of getting due to their breed, such as hip dysplasia or heart disease. Before purchasing a dog, make sure you are aware of what your dog may be prone to in the future and what you can do to reduce the risk of it developing.
- Personality. Just like people every dog has a different personality, some are more outgoing and friendly, others shy and others aloof or independent. Certain breeds of dogs tend to have certain character traits but these are more tendencies rather than guaranteed personalities and there is a large degree of variation. If you have a particular personality type in mind consider adopting an adult dog, that way you can assess its behaviour before you adopt it.
- There are lots of great dog breed selector quizes online to help with the decision making, like this one: http://www.animalplanet.com/breed-selector/dog-breeds.html