Have you been dreaming of getting a dog ever since you saw the reruns of the television classic Lassie as a kid? Or maybe you were fortunate enough to watch the original series. While your dog might not be able to save you week after week from a burning building, a runaway freight train or the bottom of a well, owning a dog can be a wonderful experience.
10 things you should know and consider before choosing your canine friend
1. Dogs take up a lot of time and energy.
Yes, they are rewarding. But if you live alone and work 20 hours a day, then perhaps a dog is not the best choice for you. Hey, there are always those super-cool robot dogs in the meantime.
2. If you are not often at home and you really want a dog, invest in a dog walker.
Choose a dog breed that isn’t especially needy, too. You don’t want one that requires too much attention and care and that won’t leave you alone when you walk in the door. Check out PetMD‘s Breedopedia to select from a wide variety of breeds.
3. Any dog you get should be suitable to your lifestyle and your surroundings.
If you live in a shoebox apartment, then a large dog is not a good choice. Big dogs belong in big places with lots of outdoor space. You don’t want your dog to develop health issues, be bored or destroy things.
4. Consider the climate, especially if you have a yard and want to keep a dog outside.
5. Puppies require the most work when it comes to house training.
If you don’t want your things chewed up or don’t have the time or money to train the puppy, consider adopting an already housebroken adult dog. It’s like having a child that can already feed itself and go to the toilet on its own.
6. You’ll need lots of chew toys for your puppy.
Puppies like to explore and try everything, so make a variety of toys available for him to chew on. Also, “puppyproof” your home, putting anything dangerous (such as medicines and chemicals) or expensive (like shoes and clothes) out of his reach.
7. Get your dog vaccinated and spayed or neutered as soon as possible.
Oh, and take your dog to the vet for routine checkups. Your dog will thank you for it by living a much healthier and longer life.
8. Get a proper leash and harness for your dog.
A leash too small or too large may hurt her inadvertently during walks, or, worse yet, allow her to hurt others or run away.
9.Health insurance is a must.
Consult your veterinarian as to your best options for protecting your pooch.
10. Regardless of the dog breed you choose, have fun!
Dog owners say there is no better friend than a dog. We have to agree.