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6 questions to test your commitment to dog ownership

6 questions to test your commitment to dog ownership

21st March 2012

The slogan “a dog is for life and not just for Christmas” was created in 1978 by Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity. This slogan is still relevant today. The choice to become a dog owner is an important decision and should never be made on the spur of the moment.

In its 2011, annual Stray Dog Survey, Dogs Trust reported that the number of stray and abandoned dogs was at an 11 year high. Over 126,176 dogs were picked up by Local Authorities in 12 months, an increase of 4% on the previous year. That’s a staggering 345 stray dogs being found every day!

The survey also revealed a large number of dogs were rejected by their owners who refused to claim them once found and identified by local dog wardens. It seems some dog owners do not view dog ownership as a long term commitment or have not considered the true cost and responsibility involved with owning a dog.

If you are thinking of getting a dog, then ask yourself the following questions. If you are unable to answer ‘yes’ to these questions, then inviting a dog to join your family is unfair to you and your dog.

1. Do you have the time to give your dog the attention and company it needs?

Dogs need regular daily exercise so you need to be prepared to take your dog for walks each day, come rain or shine! Dogs are sociable creatures and don’t like to be left alone for long periods. If you work then your dog should not be routinely left for more than 4 hours at a time.When you go on holiday, you’ll need to arrange for your dog to be cared for by a responsible person.

2. Are you prepared to socialise and train your dog?

A young puppy will need to be introduced to the world around it slowly and sensitively so that it grows up to become a confident and happy dog. Training is also essential to keep your dog’s mind active and to make sure your dog understands rules of good behaviour.
 
3. Are you prepared to clean up after your dog?
 
You will need to clean up after your dog on each occasion, using a poop scoop and bag. You will also need to dispose of the bag responsibly. Remember you have a legal obligation to do this when in a public place.
 
4. Do you have space for a dog?
 
A dog needs space for a clean bed of its own, free from noise, dampness and draught. Although it is not necessary to have a garden or yard for a dog to exercise or play in (you'll be taking your dog for regular walks, remember!), it is essential to have sufficient room for the dog to move around comfortably.
 
5. Are you prepared to budget for health care?
 
You should consider the cost of routine vaccinations and worming, one off costs such as neutering or spaying and occasional vet bills when your dog is sick or has had an accident.
 
6. Can you afford to feed your dog a healthy diet?
 
Many experts agree that feeding a complete, commercial dog food to your dog is normally preferable to a homemade diet. It’s not always easy to achieve the correct balance of nutrients if you make your dog’s diet yourself.
 
So if you’ve answered ‘no’ to any of the questions, congratulations for your honesty! Dog ownership might not be right for you at this moment in time.
 
Congratulations, also, if you’ve answered ‘yes’ to all the questions. You can look forward to a future of companionship and fun with a new best friend.
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