A checklist to consider before you get your first dog. (Are you really ready for the commitment of a lifetime?)
Are you super excited over buying/adopting your first pup? I totally get the feeling of the butterflies fluttering in your belly! How beautiful and perfect is life now going to be with a little warm pooch of your very own! You’ll no more just have to pet the cute pooches of passers-by followed by the age old sigh, “if only I could have one of my very own!” You have finally decided to end that longing and are feeling totally pumped up in anticipation. You just cross the dates on the calendar and dream about the cuddles you would be sharing day in and out with your first ever, very own, live fur ball! Everything seems perfect now, but in order to ensure that this perfection never ceases with time, I have a checklist, so you know that you are making the best decision for yourself as well as your baby. Please take time to thoroughly check the below mentioned pointers because it has often happened where the initial euphoria has clashed with people’s ability to practically plan for a long term, unfortunately resulting in a lot of chaos and unpleasant if not detrimental consequences in the long run. After all this baby is no different than a human one, it’s life is totally dependent on you. In fact a human baby can sustain itself after a certain age, but this fur kid is going to be entirely dependent on you throughout it’s entire life. Needless to say it’s very important to ensure that you actually are going to be there for him for the next 15 years (on an average) and not end up giving him away once you realise you aren’t as ready as you had thought yourself to be, which is something devastating for the emotional health of a dog who just doesn’t know what he did wrong to have been abandoned forever by his family.
- The most important would undoubtedly be finance. You need to be financially stable in order to afford proper nourishment, a variety of accesories, dog sitting/boarding facilities, training and medical care for your pup. There is going to be a good amount of expense involved and the list won’t probably be as short as you might expect. Once you get a pup there is going to follow quite a lot of routine vaccination and de-worming sessions for the first year and boosters for the rest. Little pups have little immunity, which may require frequent vet visits as well due to petty issues like a cold or an upset stomach. As it grows stronger these visits lessen in frequency saving you the consultation fees and medication costs over time. Also another advice would be to always have some saving, in case there arises some urgency due to any unforeseen mishap. Also once your pup advances to a senior dog you should again expect a rise in the vet visits for various age related ailments that follow. Please don’t be worried because not necessarily does every pet parent have to deal with everything above as many pups hardly have any health issue throughout their lives, be it the puppy phase or the senior stage, specially if they are bred responsibly by a reputed breeder and follow a healthy lifestyle. But because you cannot foresee the future I believe being prepared for anything is the best approach.
- Your availability at home is another very essential element that is often not paid enough attention to. Dogs are very social creatures. Of course the degree varies according to the breed you choose to bring home. But irrespective of it every dog needs it’s parent or atleast one of the members to be present in the house most of the time. An occasional staying alone at home is totally fine, but if it is something that is going to happen every single day, you have a reason to worry. If you plan to leave a dog alone for hours at a stretch daily, you should seriously reconsider your decision. It is because dogs can have very bad ‘separation anxiety‘! Yes, the level varies as per the breed or the temperament of the particular dog but they are all bound to experience some or the other form of depression at some point of time. And dogs do not cry in a corner like humans if they are upset. Instead they will get aggressive as a result. They’ll bark for hours at a stretch, making your neighbours turn bitter to you and/or they’ll get destructive. Shredding paper and tearing cloths, damaging your furniture and digging up your mattresses would then become everyday annoyances. And you won’t really be able to blame them, because that is how canines relieve themselves of the anxiousness caused by the fear of your abandoning them. Yes, dogs get really worried everytime they see you going out the door leaving them all alone, their world revolves around you and they fear being left alone forever.
- Your time and effort to maintain a healthy routine for them is equally important. You need to allot a specific time daily to take them out to relieve themselves, so they don’t have accidents indoor. Also a walk or a run or a little game of fetch every day requires time and effort on your part. You need to feed them at regular intervals too, which again requires dedication of time. Dogs don’t understand our language but they grasp the concept of habituation very well. Once you designate a particular time for their meals, relieving of bowel and bladder, and play they will set themselves up smoothly in accordance to this routine without any need of formal training, making both your lives so much easier. Consistency and patience is all it’s going to take.
- Another major consideration should be the frequency of your travels. If you need to travel frequently for work, you should make sure that you have a family member who is not only enthusiastic but also dependable enough to take care of your precious baby while you are away. In case of frequent travelers, pet sitters or dog boardings are not a very good option. Less because of the finances involved and much more due to the availability or quality of care.
- Yet another thing to consider would be the ownership of your accommodation, if you own a house it’s going to be much easier as compared to it’s rented counterpart where you are compelled to act as per the preferences of the owner, who mostly aren’t dog-friendly. Specially if your job requires you to transfer at regular intervals, this is something you have to deal with everytime you relocate.
- Also if you are to get married anytime after you decide to bring in your baby, do think beforehand of the consequences in case your spouse turns out to be adverse to Dogs! Also even if not initially, after you have your first human baby, they may still suddenly change stance.
Now that you have a thorough understanding of the basic prerequisites, none but you yourself are the best judge to decide if this is the best time to get yourself your first furry bundle of joy. Please take time and make your decision carefully. If you feel you are all set, just go ahead and leap in to enjoy the ‘paw’some experience of a lifetime! If not, wait a little longer preparing yourself to be blessed as soon as the time is ripe because a Dog is a lifelong commitment and we can’t risk pampering them with anything short of the absolute best, can we?
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