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Is Getting a Dog Right For You?

Posted September 19, 2012 in Advice Column, Downtown

Choosing to bring a dog into your life is a huge decision. There are many things to contemplate before bringing a furry friend into your home.

It is a long-term commitment that should never be taken lightly. Owning a dog can be one of the most rewarding and fulfilling life experiences if the decision is right for you.

    • Does Fido fit your lifestyle? Individuals who choose to get a dog are making a decision to alter their daily routine and schedule. The years of companionship, unconditional love and loyalty are worth the extra responsibilities for many people. However, owning a dog does not fit all lifestyles.

    • Do you have the time, money and space to provide for a K-9 companion? If the answer is yes, then you need to look at what breed of dog best fits your life. Always consider personality and other qualities before size and appearance. Think about your daily habits and schedule to determine what breed works best for you. Make sure to research thoroughly the breeds that interest you. Find people in your community who own the breed and get feedback from them. There are also helpful quizzes online to utilize in determining what breeds suit your lifestyle. Once you decide on the breed, spend lots of time with the potential new pooch before making your decision.

Many people do not realize that owning a dog is also a long-term financial commitment. It takes more than buying a bag of food on occasion. There are many expenses to consider such as food and treats, routine medical care, leashes, collars, toys, bedding, grooming, preventative medications and supplements, obedience classes and training, petsitting or boarding and emergencies or other unexpected occurrences. Also, it will be more expensive if you choose to purchase a dog from a breeder rather than a local shelter or rescue. Unfortunately, many people do not take the time to budget for a dog before getting one, which can lead to future problems.

The most important question is “Can you commit to having this dog for life?” Dogs can live 12 to 15 years and will always be dependent on their owner for food, water, shelter and companionship. Too many times people make a quick decision and are not ready for such an obligation. Sadly, the dog ends up abandoned or in a shelter. By preparing for dog ownership, you help ensure a long and happy life together.

Information provided by Carrie Bonnett, owner, Downtown Doggy Daycare, 724 Scott St, Des Moines, 288-0957.

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