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Top Things To Consider Before Getting a Dog

Updated: Apr 9, 2021

Welcoming a new pooch into your home is an exciting concept, but it’s definitely something that requires a lot of time and thought.

Before taking the leap and getting a new canine companion, you must first consider the pros and cons of owning a pet. Although it can be an exciting process, dogs need a lot of care and attention. Making a quick, in-the-moment decision is not something that is advised when it comes to providing a new home for any animal.

For those who have never owned a dog before, making the final decision can be a daunting prospect. There are most likely a lot of worries and questions racing through your mind. It's never an easy decision to make so creating a list of pros and cons is a great place to start. To help, VioVet has put together this informative guide on what you need to consider before getting a dog...

Adopt or Shop?

Probably one of the biggest decisions a prospective owner has to make is whether to shop for a dog or adopt one. There are arguments about what the moral choice is, with many suggesting that adopting a pet is the best option. However, there’s no straightforward answer and it's entirely your decision.

Both shopping for and adopting a dog can come with physical and financial challenges. To help you decide, here are some of the pros and cons of both:

Adopting: The Pros and Cons

Knowing that you’ve rescued an animal from a shelter and given it the fresh start in life it deserves is a rewarding feeling. Some dogs will have had a deprived or difficult life before going to the shelter, so providing them with their forever home is a noble cause. However, it isn’t as easy as just rescuing a dog and bringing it home. Many rescue dogs have been abused or abandoned by their previous owners so come with their own personal challenges. This means it can take a long while for them to trust you. They could also suffer from anxiety, especially in an environment they’re not familiar with. Providing them with comfort and reassurance is important and requires a lot of your time.

You might also think that as a lot of dogs from rescue shelters are past their infant years, they don't require much training. But this isn't always the case. They may need to re-learn going outside when they need the toilet and house rules.

Shopping: The Pros and Cons

Probably the most popular reason to shop for a furry friend is being able to raise it from a puppy to a fully-grown dog. That way you can be with it all the way through its life. Watching your puppy grow and develop into a smart and loving friend that brings joy to the family is a rewarding feeling. Plus, being able to train it to do all the fun tricks that entertain you both is something that never gets old. Although this all sounds like an exciting concept, shopping for a puppy rather than rescuing one does have its cons.

One of the biggest worries is accidentally buying from a puppy mill. This is when breeders use dogs for the simple purpose of making a profit. Aside from the fact that puppy mills are illegal in a lot of places, there are also big concerns over the conditions the puppies are kept in - often cramped and uncomfortable cages.

Sadly, the more people that unintentionally buy from puppy mills, the more profits made, which in turn keeps the mills open and running. This can be avoided by investigating your breeder's credentials thoroughly and visiting their house to see the mum and puppies beforehand.

How Much Does Raising a Dog Cost?

Other than the upfront expense of buying a dog, you must consider the additional costs that come with owning one. To get an idea of the average monthly cost of specific breeds as well as owning a dog in general, pet specialist company VioVet has compared the average prices for insurance, grooming and vet bills across different breeds.

The research showed that vet consultation fees cost £60 on average across all breeds, while dog walker fees average at £76 per month. One important cost that varies greatly between breeds though is pet insurance. Poodles, Boxers, and Welsh Corgis were amongst the breeds with the highest monthly insurance bill, averaging at £77.42 per month. Meanwhile, insurance for Pomeranians, Chihuahuas, and Jack Russells can cost only £39.75 per month.

Another cost that you might not think will add too much to your monthly spend is food. However, this can actually be quite a hefty sum. Depending on what breed you have, the price of food can vary – obviously the smaller the dog, the less food they require. Data finds that the average spend on dog food per month can range from £14.74 to £39.03.

In addition to all the necessities, you've also got the extra one-off payments to think about, such as new toys and leads, so make sure you factor these into your budget too.

Overall, VioVet's research showed that the Irish setter was the most expensive dog breed, costing around £41,728 over the dog’s lifetime. Meanwhile, the Chiweenie cost the least. Keeping this small dog would only set you back £17,528 over the course of its life.

How Much Of Your Time Will Your Dog Require?

When it comes to teaching your dog the basic house-training rules, the early years are the most important. A lot of love, time and patience is needed. If you're able to, spend a week or two with them when they first come home. It's a great way to create a special bond and also help them gain trust and reassurance with you.

During the early stages especially, finding the time to socialise your new pup around other dogs and training them on your basic household rules is essential. You will need to dedicate at least two hours a day towards this so if you don't think you're able to then it might not be the best time to buy a puppy.

As for exercise needs, this varies between a dog’s breed and age. A dog at its peak will need more exercise than a puppy or an older dog. Even then, some dogs will never relent and some dogs don’t want to leave their spot in the bed — it can be a mixed bag. Choosing a specific dog breed can help fit walks around your lifestyle. German Shepherds, Spaniels, Pointers, Huskies, and Retrievers are among those that require the most exercise. However, if you feel you haven’t got large amounts of time to spend walking your dog, the likes of Pugs, French Bulldogs, Pomeranians, and Yorkshire Terriers require just a short walk every day.

Hopefully this has given you lots to think about. If you do decide that you have the time and patience to welcome a new four-legged friend into your home then good luck and enjoy your new life together!

Blog Post by VioVet

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