So you want to bring a doggy into your life. That’s great!
But before you commit to caring for a dog, you have to consider their needs first…
- Access to the indoors. It’s cold, hot, lonely, dark, boring, and scary outside. If you can’t stand the thought of a dog on your couch or carpet, get a teddy not a puppy.
- Somewhere to sleep. Dogs should have at least one bed each. Beds should be comfortable, warm, and big enough for them to stretch out on.
- Regular trips outside to relieve themselves. This means having a securely enclosed yard and regular work with a shovel to pick up all the mess (or a trip outdoors on a leash every hour or so). If you aren’t home to open the door for them every time, get a doggy door installed.
- Nutritious and regular meals. Talk to your vet about the best food for your dog and set up a feeding schedule with two set meal times daily.
- Access to clean, fresh water at all times. You need to check that the water dish is full at least daily, and empty it out and wash it thoroughly at least once a week.
- Exercise. All dogs, regardless of breed and age, require at least one walk per day. This is mostly for mental stimulation. On top of this, they need to work out! Some breeds need upwards of two hours of hard exercise daily. (link)
- Mental stimulation. Dogs get bored when there’s nothing to do. You will need to invest in toys and things to chew, and spend time playing with your dog.
- Companionship. Dogs are very social creatures and hate being alone. If your house is regularly empty for long periods of time, it is irresponsible to leave a dog in it all alone.
- A leash, harness, and collar with identification tags.
- Vet visits. It is your responsibility to take your dog to the vet if they are sick or injured. Dogs must also go in for a check-up at least once a year, but twice is better. (link) (link)
- Safety. You will need to puppy-proof your home. If you already have animals in your home, consider whether they will be a danger to or in danger from a dog.
- Training. Dogs need to be taught how to behave, where to pee, what is ok to chew on, and the basic commands “sit”, “stay”, “come”, “drop it”, and “no”. This will take dedication, patience, and time.
- Grooming. Most dogs don’t need to be bathed all that often, but they do need a bath when they are smelly, dirty, or have been in salty or nasty water. They need their nails trimmed, and some breeds need their coats trimmed and brushed regularly.
- A home for life. Dogs can live up to 15, and when you adopt you are taking on responsibility for their care for the rest of their natural life.
If you are not willing or able to spend the time or money to provide all of these things, you are unable to provide a suitable home for a dog.
Dogs are not toys, gifts, or decorations. They are living, thinking beings with emotions, desires, needs, and drives.
Dogs bark and whine, scratch at doors, beg for attention, run around, get over-excited, get dirty on purpose, want to lick your face, slobber, chase things, pee and poop, shed hair, and they might not get along well with children or other animals. If you can’t deal with all that happening in your house, you can’t deal with a dog.
If you do decide to bring a dog (or two!) into your home, remember to spay/neuter and adopt, don’t shop!