If you’re thinking about getting a dog it’s worth considering what day to day life will be like as a dog owner. It can’t all be joyful games and walks in the park. Owning a dog is a big responsibility, and involves a lot of work so you should consider the reality of the situation before you commit!
Getting Up in the Morning
A lie-in isn’t always realistic for most dog owners, because you’ll have to get up early to see to the needs of your pet! Unless your dog lives outside (which isn’t recommended as a first resort for owners for wellbeing reasons), you’re going to want to make sure you can let them out so they can go to the toilet in the morning. However will house trained your dog is, it only has limited capacity, and it can only wait so long!
You’ll also want to check for mess to clean up. It’s an unfortunate fact that for a dog, vomiting with diarrhea isn’t a rare condition. It’s not hard for them to find something to eat that can upset their stomachs – even a change between two high quality brands of dog food can do it!
If you have a dog then you’ll need to exercise it – dogs that don’t get enough walking are often more badly behaved, as they have more energy to work off and no outlet for it. They’re also unhappier and unhealthier – as a responsible dog owner interested in your dog’s welfare you should ensure they get enough exercise.
An appropriate amount of exercise differs from breed to breed and changes with the age of the dog. Overwalking a puppy can cause developmental problems as they grow, and older dogs are more easily exhausted. Talk to your vet or research your breed’s needs to make sure you know how much exercise they need and ensure you can commit to providing it every day – rain isn’t an excuse, unfortunately!
Play and Socialisation
Dogs are less independent than cats, which prize the freedom to seek out and avoid our company as they wish. Once a dog feels like it’s become part of your family, it feels at its most secure when it has your company and attention. Leaving a dog alone for long periods isn’t advisable, and especially when they’re younger they’re going to want to play a lot.
You can teach them to be more independent, and to limit separation anxiety so they’re more comfortable being left to themselves for longer, but dogs still require a lot of your time and attention, and even after a walk can have a boundless appetite for play.