You think you want a dog? You should give careful thought, before adding a companion for your family. I know I needed to.

When I was a little child, my family was not animal-oriented, but I was obsessed with animals, especially dogs. I was annoyingly persistent in asking my parents for a puppy, and they gave me every reason why we shouldn’t get one. It took almost a year, but I finally convinced them that I was responsible enough to look after a dog.

At the timeI thought my parents were annoying, but as a vet, I have often thought that more people should consider all of the responsibilities that come with ownership before purchasing a pup.

Considerations

Whether you are buying a cat a dog, or a goldfish, bringing another living creature in your life demands commitment. Here are some questions

Can I have the time to train, care for, and participate with a dog?
Is my life conducive to being in charge of a puppy?
Is my home appropriate for the type of dog I want?
Do I have time and space to exercise the dog?
Is someone available at regular times each day to feed and walk the dog?
Do I have the time to provide mental stimulation for the dog at a level that is appropriate for its breed and personality?
Do I have the financial resources to cover expenses related to having a dog? Expenses can include:
Food
Grooming
Training
Boarding
Annual veterinary visits for wellness care (every 6 weeks after age seven)
Expenses associated with illness or injury
Pet insurance
What Type of Dog Fits Me?

Careful consideration should be given you desire, once you choose to acquire a dog. Different dog breeds have a variety of energy levels, styles, and physical traits. Responsibilities such as energy levels that are satisfying and coat maintenance can become frustrating if they are incompatible with your lifestyle.

If you are not so active, live or are bothered by dog hair on your clothes or furniture, then lively dogs that shed are not a good match for you. Small dogs might not be a great choice, as they may be frightened by active kids, In case you’ve got small kids or plan on having children in the future.

Purebred dogs are excellent for first-time owners, as they are dependable in their own physical and personality characteristics. For much of my life, Hounds were bred by me. I know it’s not for everyone, although I love the breed. Whenever I sold a puppy, I made sure that the owner understood the qualities of the breed and had proper expectations. Someone searching for the devotion of a Golden Retriever may not need the refinement and aloofness of an Afghan Hound. When personality traits and physical characteristics don’t match the expectations of an owner, the dog ends up in a shelter.

Responsible Dog Ownership

It is essential to locate a responsible breeder or shelter, once you opt to add a dog to your life. They will often be certain that you’re able to care for the dog and that the breed will fit your lifestyle.

Obtaining your dog allows you to have a better knowledge of his genetic characteristics, including coat, character, and possible health difficulties. Responsible breeders follow the guidelines of the Canine Health Information Center and run genetic testing of the parents to reduce the risk of inherited diseases.

You’ll have to incorporate him into you life and make time to care for him, As soon as you bring your dog home. Responsible pet owners should:

Microchip their dog and give him a collar which fits, with a tag that has his name, address, and owner’s phone number. They should then enroll the dog in AKC Reunite, the nation’s largest database of microchipped pets, which helps pups were lost by return to their owners.
Provide a healthy, well balanced diet in consultation with their breeder and vet. No table scraps! Veterinarians can provide advice to help keep a dog.
Make sure that their dog receives adequate training. Some veterinary offices and many pet shops supply courses.
Exercise their dog daily. All dogs want some exercise, although the degree of physical exercise required varies by breed. Lack of exercise can cause weight reduction, behavior problems, and boredom.
Provide mental stimulation for their dog. Canine companions like to have a job. Play, puzzles, and toys are great ways to keep a dog mentally stimulated and out of trouble.
Groom their dog regularly. Grooming is required by some dogs. All dogs should be brushed and have their nails trimmed.
Schedule annual checkups for their puppy and keep his vaccinations up-to-date. Senior dogs (older than seven decades old ) or dogs with health problems should see their veterinarian every six months. Veterinarians can help determine which vaccinations are based on living conditions, and his health, lifestyle. Law requires all dogs to be vaccinated against rabies.
Make certain that their dog is not a nuisance to others. Keep him on a leash and under the control of a responsible adult when outside. Pick up dog waste and do what you can to minimize barking.
Medical Care and Costs

8-15 decades, although lifespan can vary by size and strain, dogs live. I’ve seen first-hand that dogs get sick, whether purebred or mixed-breed Although some strains may have a genetic predisposition as a vet in a busy emergency veterinary hospital. Dogs require specialty or emergency care during their lives.

Costs associated with emergency care and dog illness can be a challenge to any budget. Care is provided by veterinarians and maintain overhead in order to take care of your dog. During my career, I have witnessed a shift in medicine. It parallels health with choices for care never before imagined. With those choices comes a significant price tag.

Veterinary specialists, like cardiologists, dermatologists, neurologists, oncologists, etc., can provide treatment that wasn’t available in the past. Their tools include MRI, CT scan, ultrasound, radiation, and rehab facilities.

You will find the situation much less stressful, if you budget for wellness appointments and for unexpected illness or emergency care. Pet insurance can help defray the costs, but dog owners should investigate choices to find a plan that works best for their situation.

Saying Goodbye

Finally, it is important to get an end-of-life plan. Know who will take care for your pup if you were to pass away and what tools will be available to help cover. Make certain that the person you designate is willing to undertake this responsibility. Put in writing and make your family aware of your wishes.

It is important to understand your responsibilities. If your dog is no longer able to follow his routine or live without pain, then it might be time to finish his life humanely. When the time comes your vet will be a significant resource for you.

Dog ownership is a significant responsibility, but it does bring a lifetime of companionship, gratification, and love. If you opt to bring one into your life, or have a dog, I hope you sign the pledge for responsible dog ownership of the American Kennel Club.