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Thinking about buying a dog?

It is a commitment! Some things to consider

As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, the United States has seen a surge in demand for pet dogs. This is what Woofy Dog Walking likes to hear! However, there are unique circumstances driving this demand. People are looking for companionship as we deal of more social isolation. Some find themselves out of work and finding themselves with more time on their hands. Children are stuck indoors and need something to play with. What’s concerning is that these current circumstances will change eventually as vaccines become available and local governments loosen public restrictions. When that happens, things that made your life temporarily ideal for bringing a dog into your home may change. So, before you take the plunge, do your research!

The average canine lifespan is 10-13 years depending on the dog breed. Bringing a dog into your home is a major commitment. Various estimates suggest the average annual cost of owning a dog ranges between $1,000 to $1,500+ depending on size and breed. Cost factors include pet food, routine healthcare and vaccinations, grooming, heartworm prevention, and more. A couple critical things this estimation did not account for are obedience training and pet services (such as boarding and dog walking services). These costs add up! Do not buy a pet on impulse. Do your research to make sure you will be able to afford a safe, healthy, and loving environment for your pet.

If you travel frequently for work or pleasure or spend long chunks of your day away from home in non-dog friendly areas, have a plan for ensuring your pet is receives food, water, and exercise. Different breeds require different amount of exercise and obedience training. If you are interested in a breed that requires significant physical activity and stimulation, plan how to provide that around your work and family life. Consequences for not meeting a proper exercise regimen can include excessive barking, obesity, destructive behavior, restlessness, and depression. These are not problems you want to deal with, so be prepared. If meeting these requirements is a challenge, even for limited period, find a reputable dog walker, dog sitter or pet daycare facility to help you keep your dog’s needs satisfied.

A dog is not a house plant. Providing proper pet care takes money, effort, and planning. According to the ASPCA, approximately 3.3 million dogs are surrendered to animal shelters each year. Of those surrendered, about 670,000 are euthanized (estimates from data gathered from 2015-2018). The most common reason for pups being surrendered is their behavior. It can take up to a year with proper training consistency and technique! These dogs need good homes and owners who are patient and prepared to invest the time to ensure their pet is trained and cared for.

Do your research on the best dog breeds for you and consult with breeders and shelter staff concerning what kind of characteristics you want your pup to have. If you are an outdoorsy person who spends a lot of time hiking or walking, there are many potentially great breeds for you including Huskies, Australian Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, German Shorthaired Pointers, and more. Conversely, if you do not expect to have the time or desire to spend that much time exercising with your dog, lower-energy breeds such as Bulldogs, Shih Tzus, Great Danes or Pugs. If you are interested in a pup that is easier to train, consider working breeds like Shepherds, Retrievers and Poodles.

Considering going through a breeder or an animal shelter? Purebreds are more expensive than mutts because it is costly for responsible breeders to ensure healthy litters and raise pups with good temperaments! Some breeds are prone to expensive health issues- so consult with the breeder and a trusted veterinarian regarding these potential costs.

Lots of good dogs are surrendered to animal shelters for a variety of reasons- the owner has become too ill to provide dog care, moving to a residence that does not allow dogs, pet allergies of a resident in the home, but the most common reasons given for surrendering a dog are related to the pet’s behavior and lack of finances and time to devote to the pet. Obedience training and appropriate exercise for animals take time! If you doubt that you will be able to meet the financial and time requirements to maintain your dog’s and your own quality of life, do not get a pet! However, if you can meet these requirements your efforts will pay off tenfold. Dogs are man’s best friend for a reason. The companionship, the loyalty, and the laughs make it all more than worth it!

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