A cat and dog enjoying each other's company.

For as long as we can remember, we have had dogs by our side, giving us companionship and support. The bond between humans and our dogs (and most pets) is ultimately timeless. They enrich our lives, and we try to give them the best life possible. But, for many, dog ownership is a big decision, and we want to ensure that we make the right choice when it comes to our fluffy friends.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), 38.4% of households in the U.S. are dog owners. While in the UK, according to People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA), it is estimated dog ownership is around 26%. When compared to the ownership of other domesticated animals such as cats, horses, and small animals, these figures show that pet dogs are more popular in these countries, along with places like Australia. 

Due to this popularity, there are many resources that can help any dog owner ensure that their pets are living the best life. So, as a first-time dog owner or someone thinking about getting a dog, here a few things you need to know: 

Photo by Chewy on Unsplash

Choosing between Adoption or Breeders: 

If you searched online for more information, you’ll have come across articles about whether or not you should rescue a dog or buy a dog. This is ultimately your choice, as both sides have valid points, and there are benefits to both sides of the coin.

The Benefits of Adoption

A rescue dog is either from a shelter or a rescue center. New owners can help to rehouse the dogs through adoption. It is estimated that around 3.3 million dogs are placed in shelters for various reasons, such as the previous owner being unable to care for them anymore, behavior issues due to lack of training, they are strays or the owner’s death. 

Nevertheless, there are many benefits to adopting from a shelter or rescue. First, most dogs are often vetted, microchipped, and spayed or neutered, so you don’t have to worry about getting that done. In addition to this, you will find that you’ll receive a lot more information from the shelter or center since they have experience with their dogs, so you’ll have a better understanding of the dog’s nature before taking them home. Some shelters even offer to take dogs back if you both discover that you aren’t a good match. And, fortunately, most adult dogs are also potty trained, so you don’t really have to teach them this. 

If you are considering adopting, you’ll have to ensure that you are ready to make such a commitment. While it may not be all shelter dogs, some dogs have had experiences that result in them having behavior issues, making them difficult at times. If this is something that you can handle, adoption opens up ever more opportunities for you. 

The Benefits of Buying

While adoption is seen as a more favorable option, there are many dog owners who are interested in buying their pet from a breeder or pet shop. It is suggested that around 9% of pet dogs are bought from pet stores, while 19% were purchased from breeders. Buying a pet dog also has its benefits. You can have a hand in raising your pet, since you’ll have them from puppies. You’ll know what breed they are and where they come from, and reputable breeders and pet stores often ensure that puppies are healthy before being sold.

 However, you’ll have to remember that raising a dog is a lot of hard work, and it could be a 15-20 year commitment. You’ll have to be consistent and continue with training. In addition to this, you’ll have to ensure that your pet is spayed or neutered yourself, and purchasing from a breeder could be more expensive. But if you’re up for the task, buying could be the right option for you. 

Pet Care

Whether you decide to adopt or buy, you’ll need to think about the health of your new companion. Depending on the type of breed you have you might find that some illnesses affect some breeds more than others. For instance, some pure breeds are affected by genetic illnesses, while mixed breeds have a lower chance of getting these illnesses. Bulldogs are more likely to have respiratory problems, while Pugs are prone to having issues with their vision. You will also need to look out for health issues that appear as your pet grows older, such as hearing loss and impairment, vision loss, heart and dental disease, and much more. Fortunately, there are helpful sites that can give you advice and tips on the best way to care for your dog. For instance, if you’re looking for advice on healthy meals, sites like dogfoodcare.com/ could give you helpful tips on the best dog food. Of, course you could always ask for advice from your local vet if you need help. 

Pet Insurance

Another part of ownership you’ll need to research is Pet insurance. Pet Insurance can help with any expenses that come your way in regards to vet bills. The average vet bill is estimated to be anywhere between $50-$400 in the US, while it’s around £60 in the UK. Both prices, however, also don’t take into account any added care needed, such as medication, which could reach the thousands. So, Pet insurance is an important part of owning a dog. The cost of pet insurance also varies wildly, so it helps to do a bit of research into pet insurance to see what policies and coverage they may be able to offer you. 

Overall

Although it might seem overwhelming, it does come with great rewards. A dog is a companion that is loyal to the end, and whether you’re adopting or buying, you’ll be giving them a good home. So, if you’re thinking about getting a dog, or you’ve already decided on what you want, you’ll be happy to know that you’ll be giving a very good boy (or girl) a good home.

By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

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