5 Things Every Future Dog Owner Needs to Know
Hint: a dog is for life
At the age of 29, I took the plunge and became a dog dad for the very first time to an English Bulldog called Luna.
I've been around dogs for most of my life, yet despite moving out of my family house, I hadn't taken the plunge to get a dog of my own.
Until... the Covid-19 pandemic shook the world and fuelled the modern work from home philosophy, I thought it was the right time to get my very own fuzzball.
After all, I thought to myself "if I'm working from home, this should be simple AF", I was wrong. This article is here to help you make the right choice before it's too late.
A dog is a huge responsibility
Here are five things that you need to know if you are considering bringing a new dog into your world.
1. You need time
Dogs are affectionate creatures, but they demand your attention. Pack animals by nature crave our companionship.
When I got Luna, we were inseparable, even to this day I'm here writing this article as she lays in my lap (adorable). Expect a dog to always be there - which is one of the reasons why they're our best friends - but if you're easily distracted, beware.
Depending on the breed, they need daily exercise and play. They need time spent playing a game, going for walks, and cuddling.
2. You need a dog-proof home
First let's mention the space, if you're renting or living in shared accommodation make sure to get the landlord's and other housemate's permission before getting home with your new dog
Some landlords are totally okay with it, you may need to sign an amended contract so any damage to the property your dog makes cause is paid by you. Dogs are liabilities, unfortunately.
If you own a property then you have more flexibility here.
If you're living in an apartment block consider the type of breed you're getting and their energy levels, there's nothing worse than getting a Great Dane and living in an apartment with a small balcony.
I've never seen it myself, but can you imagine? It seems impractical.
Don't be one of those guys.
You also need to prepare for some damage, there's no sugar-coating it, when a dog is in the puppy stage they do nothing but bite.
It's natural, they use their mouth to feel the world, so that comfy new recliner sofa is the perfect chew toy.
Don't forget the pee too – a dog needs housebreaking, which means at every opportunity trying to get the dog to do its business outside. I need to be frank though, accidents happen, and you'll need to get over it, no matter how frustrating it is.
When I got Luna we lived in a top floor London apartment, it wasn't the life of luxury I'll admit, and it was incredibly small – even for a Bulldog who sleeps all day.
We had to get out of there, not just so Luna had more space, but I was fed up with Luna making accidents, beware living in an apartment increases toilet training 3x in my experience.
Top tip: these puppy training pads saved my bacon and my rug when I first got Luna. Plus, for those stubborn smells, this urine cleaner was ideal.
3. You need money
Preferably money that grows on a tree, because you're going to need plenty of it. Owning a dog is not cheap, there are of course ways to hustle get more for less of your pounds but it's not easy.
From my experience, here is a list of the common things I need to fork out for:
- Food (fortnightly)
- Treats (fortnightly)
- Beds (quarterly)
- Toys (lost count!)
- Vaccines (yearly)
- Medicine (infrequently)
- Emergency vet bills (infrequently)
Dog food alone can be quite costly, and if you get a breed that turns out to be hypoallergenic or has digestive issues you might have drawn the short straw.
I've decided to feed Luna dehydrated raw food, which I think is fairly priced, you can find out more and get 20% off your first purchase over on my resources page.
Vaccinations and vet visits for Luna are yearly, with a 6-month check-up thrown in, it costs me £149/year. Although if you end up with an emergency vet bill because you don't have any insurance you're looking at at least £400 (from experience).
Not forgetting the number of toys and beds I manage to keep buying! Luna is a chewer, an extreme chewer, it's a sport. I usually pay £20 for each chew toy I get Luna, I'll share my favourite below.
So depending on the breed of dog you get, you may need to fork out some serious money. But we love our dogs so 🤷🏼♂️
4. You need a vet
I touched on having to pay an emergency vet bill in the previous section, and it's for this reason I'm dedicating an entire section to vet stuff.
The health of your dog should be your utmost importance. Each year Luna visits the vet for her annual vaccines (I couldn't tell you the names) but I know they keep her in tip-top shape.
Every 6 months she gets a check-up included in her veterinary plan, so I can discuss absolutely anything that's on my mind and they're more than happy to help.
In the first year, costs for health care, such as vaccinations, sterilisation, and prescriptions can cost as much as £300.
To protect your dog and you from unexpected costs, I would highly recommend investing in pet insurance. I listened to my own advice, when Luna had to visit the vet for ingesting a laundry tablet, I would be £450 better off right now.
5. You need patience
It takes patience and discipline to train a new puppy, and Bulldogs are no exception to this rule. In fact, stubborn as they are, I needed so much patience when potty training Luna.
You'll need patience for other things too, like basic commands such as sit, down, stay, leave – all vital for keeping your dog safe from ingesting poisonous substances or running out of the park.
If you're going through a stressful time at work, your patience may be wearing thin. So ask yourself if this is the right time to be getting a dog. Holding off for a couple of extra months might give you the headspace and take on this challenge.
Are you still planning to be a dog owner?
Congratulations if you answered yes to this question – whilst owning a dog may seem overwhelming, having a dog in your life is an incredible feeling with numerous rewards.
Before getting one, make sure that you can adequately handle all the responsibilities that come with the job.
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