You want to get a dog, but you don't know what kind of dog to get. Or you're not sure if it's the right time for your family or lifestyle. You may be asking yourself questions like: "How much does pet insurance cost?" "How many walks will I need per day?" "What is a carbon paw print?" if you are an eco-conscious personality.
The answers to all these questions and more are just one click away! So keep reading for 10 questions to ask yourself before owning a dog.
What is the cost of owning a dog?
There are several costs to take into account when buying a dog. Besides the dog's purchase price, you will need to budget for food, toys, vet care, and other incidentals. Annual costs can range from a few hundred pounds to over a thousand pounds. In addition, some breeds are more prone to certain types of diseases. Example breeds with inherited diseases are Bulldogs or French Bulldogs. So be sure to research what breeds are prone to certain illnesses and factor that into your budget.
What pet insurance?
Many dog owners opt for pet insurance to safeguard against costly vet bills. Policies generally cover routine care, such as vaccinations, check-ups, and accidents and illnesses. However, not all policies are created equal, so it's essential to do your research before signing up.
How much space does a dog need?
Dogs come in all shapes and sizes. If you live in a small flat or an apartment, you might be restricted to smaller breeds or breeds that are less active. Gun dogs, for example, are hunting dogs that love the countryside and long walks. They relish having a job like flushing game or pointing. On the other hand, Dachshunds or Bulldogs adapt very well to apartment living. So keep all this in mind when deciding based on the available space.
Which dog breeds to get for which owner?
A small and quiet dog might be perfect for someone who lives in an apartment, but a giant dog with more energy will need space. Your personality should match the dog. If you are an active person, get an active dog. If you like to stay at home, get a lazy dog.
How many walks a day do dogs need?
This depends on the breed of the dog and how much exercise they need. For example, a Labrador will need more than a Jack Russell Terrier. But as a general rule, all dogs should leave the house at least twice a day. The recommendation is two 30 minutes walks on average.
Larger breeds will generally need to be walked for up to an hour twice daily. If you're not home a lot due to work, make sure you get a dog walker and factor in the costs. If your dog doesn't get enough exercise, it can become restless and develop behavioural issues.
Do you live in a city or the countryside?
If you live in the city, dogs are not allowed in some parks, and it can be difficult to walk freely because of all the traffic. If you have a backyard, that is great for your dog, but beware of hot summers when cars are parked in direct sunlight as this can get very hot and reflect the sun.
Do you work from home?
Would having a dog be beneficial for your job, or would it hinder you more than anything else? Some people find they are less productive with their dogs around, while others feel like they have an extra pair of hands and ears when the pets help out by watching over the house. If you don't work from home, you need to factor in the costs of a dog walker or a dog hotel.
What is the difference between adoption and buying a dog?
If you choose to adopt, there are plenty of dogs in animal shelters across the UK that would love your company. But if you opt for buying, make sure it's from reputable breeders who treat their animals humanely. Also, be aware of puppy mills which churn out dogs for profit and keep animals in deplorable conditions. Finally, if you don't feel confident with the buyer, it is better to choose a different one. Always listen to your gut feeling.
What is the carbon paw print of a dog?
If you like to do your bit for the environment, checking this figure will help you decide if getting a dog is worth it or not or if you need to take additional steps to lower your carbon pawprint. The average UK dog's CO₂ emissions are around 0.84 tonnes a year.
This is mainly from dog food and their daily walks and poo production! But you can start lowering your carbon paw print by opting for eco-friendly pet products and choosing accessories made from natural materials like organic cotton and hemp. We have great options available here.
What will you be doing in a few years?
The saying is that dogs are not just for Christmas but are a long-term commitment. A dog can be with you for up to 15 years, so make sure you are ready for that commitment. For example, are you planning to travel or have children? Be honest with yourself.
If you decide to have a dog, be prepared for a fulfilling life but always be mindful of the commitment. Make a pros and cons list and go through it rigorously.
Let us know what you think, and feel free to reach out with any questions!