Getting a dog:
What you should consider before buying a dog
A four-legged furry friend as a flatmate is something a lot of us dream of; especially cherished are dogs. Unfortunately, in many cases, dogs find themselves back in the animal shelter because as the cute puppy gets older, its owners often become overwhelmed. Buying a dog is a big responsibility and should be thought about long and hard! Maybe you’re also planning to give a puppy the gift of a new home? In this guide we’ll give you the most important tips on all things related to fulfilling your dream of getting a dog!
Am I ready for a dog?
Of course, getting a dog sounds like a lot of fun as well as a big adventure, and it most certainly is. But it’s important that one doesn’t forget how much of a responsibility the new family member will be, and also that a dog is, to a certain extent, a limitation to yourself. Before purchasing or adopting a dog, you should ask yourself whether or not you are ready for a four-legged friend in your home.
What should you take note of before getting a dog? Important factors such as money and time of course play a role, but also specific basic conditions and requirements for the environment of the domestic pet have to be met. It’s important to think about whether or not a dog is the right thing for you:
- Living situation: Before taking a dog home to live with you it’s important to check in with your landlord or landlady and ask them whether you’re allowed pets in the apartment or house you are renting. It’s also important to make sure you have a good surrounding environment for your furry friend. Your pet will need room to roam, and not just outdoors but also in your living space there should also be enough space for your new best buddy. A good rule of thumb is that the bigger the dog, the bigger your living space will need to be.
- Time: A dog needs a lot of attention. Especially when you adopt a puppy, time for cuddles and training are an absolute must! Although even daily walks (usually three per day), shouldn’t be neglected either. Generally speaking, you shouldn’t leave a dog alone for longer than four hours. If you are working a lot outside of your home or travelling constantly it’s important to share the responsibility of looking after your dog with family - a partner or your parents. Some employers allow you to take your dog to work, but that’s also another important point to check up on before making a final decision.
- Money: Dogs aren’t only time consuming. They are also costly, and that’s not something to underestimate! On top of costs for the dog itself, other costs such as dog food, equipment, as well as training, a trainer, vets, insurances, as well as taxes are all to be taken into account.
The search for the perfect dog
Did you know that there are over 380 dog breeds? Finding the right dog for you and your environment can be a real struggle! First and foremost: don’t pick your dog on its looks alone. Which dog is the right match for you depends heavily on what kind of living situation you and/or your family currently have. Certain dog breeds need a large amount of space to roam and run around, and enjoy/need physical movement constantly, whereas other breeds are better suited for family dog life; simply enjoying the pleasures of cosying up in their dog bed all day. If it’s your first dog it’s also important to make decisions regarding what kind of breed adapts easily to raising and training, and how easy it is to meet their needs and wants.
It’s not only the breed of a dog which plays a role in whether or not a dog is a perfect match for you. Also, the gender, whether you get a puppy from a breeder or a fully grown dog from the shelter, or whether the four-legged friend is a purebred, a cross, or crossbreed, should all be considered when choosing a dog.
Checklist for basic equipment: The must-haves you simply can’t go without!
So, it’s finally time: your puppy is going to become your new permanent pal! Now all that’s left to do is get the final few bits and bobs so that your new pet feels right at home:
High-quality dog food: You have the choice of wet and dry food. As the overall health of your dog depends heavily on nutrition it’s important you don’t skip on quality here.
- Food and water bowls: Two dog bowls are a must, one for water and the other for food. It’s best to go for non-slip bowls which are easy to clean and made of either ceramic, plastic, or stainless steel.
- Harnesses and leashes: leashes and harnesses made of nylon or leather are ideal. For dog training purposes, two-meter-long dog leashes are more suitable than rolling leashes. For older dogs, however, so-called flexi leashes are better because they give the animal more room to move.
- Sleeping - beds and baskets: Our animal flatmates need a comfortable place to sleep; just as much, if not sometimes more, than we do. Choose a basket that has enough space and plenty of comfortable cushions, especially ones that are easy to clean. Make sure to find a warm and quite place for the bed.
- Dog blanket: The all-important dog blanket is not only comfortable in and amongst a cosy dog bed, but also practical for when you’re out and about with your furry friend.
- Toys and chew toys: Puppies are incredibly playful and love to chew on all kinds of things. Simply buy your four-legged friend a small selection of dog toys; squeaking toys are often very popular with dogs. Both young and old enjoy chewing bones, which also help clean those little chompers of your pet.
- Treats: dog treats simply come with getting a dog; they are irreplaceable when it comes to training and motivating your dog. It’s important to pay attention to the quality of the snacks and treats you buy though. Be sure to check the ingredients. Try not to give out too many treats in one day. This can often have a counterproductive effect and lead to dialarhoea and stomach pain/cramps in your puppy.
- Transport box: A transport box or basket for your car is another important must have when it comes to gathering the basic equipment. If your puppy is not yet house-trained, a transport box can also help with training. Puppies are very territorial so it is best to put your puppies’ bed inside and wrap a blanket around the box.
How to make your home ‘puppy-proof’!
So, now you’ve got all the right equipment and necessary items for your dog and you’re looking forward to finally moving your new puppy pal in with you. Now all that’s left to do is ‘puppy-proof‘ your home! This means clearing away things that can hurt your little puppy, as well as getting rid of things that your new pet can destroy. Try as much as you can to hide away electrical cables and close and lock up cupboards and drawers with food, medication, as well as dangerous chemicals etc. You should also try and get a cover for your bins, or source bins that close properly. Since puppies sometimes like to chew on and swallow objects, it is essential that you store laundry, shoes, and other small items out of reach.
Further preparations before your dog finally moves in
A few necessary formalities also have to be seen to when getting a dog. Because dog owners are responsible for any damages their dog causes, dog owner liability insurance is obligatory. You can also think about further insurances as well such as health insurance or travel insurance for your dog. Another essential and unavoidable cost is dog tax. Be sure to register your dog at the appropriate local government office as soon as they’ve been picked up. Usually this has to be accomplished within two weeks of getting your dog.
It’s also important to look for a good vet, before your pet starts living with you. Especially if you need to get vaccinations, upcoming castrations, or getting chipped, it’s a plus when you already have your dog registered at a veterinary practice. Also, in doing so you’re sure to get bonus points at ‘dog school’ when training your dog. Speaking of dog school: it is very important that your puppy learns how to deal with people and other dogs! At a so-called dog school, this is usually done with praise, recognition, play, and fun. And maybe not only your dog, but also you, will find a friend or two for life.
The puppy has arrived - here we are!
As soon as the furball crosses the doorstep, you will realize if you have really thought of everything you need to make your new family member happy! During the very first games and contacts you will definitely take a lot of photos. And rightly so, it is beautiful to immortalize these moments! But to not let your shots fall into oblivion of the camera or smartphone, create a beautiful photo book right away.