I’ve been a dog owner for just over six years. Though it’s hard to get my head around the fact I’ve had a little buddy by my side for that long, it’s even harder to imagine life without them. Steve and I got our first dog, Bai when we were 22 years old; in hindsight, it’s quite young to have full time care of a dog and I wouldn’t say we were very prepared for the adventures and misadventures our little buddies could bring!
I’ve never written a post about Bai and Blue, so I thought I would share what I’ve learned about owning a dog over the past few years. These are my own personal thoughts and I’m by no means an expert, but if you are looking to get your first dog, these are a few things to bear in mind.
- Think about the breed. Bai is a German Shorthaired Pointer and as a hunting dog needs a great deal of exercise in order to chill out. I’d grown up with Pointers so knew what to expect, however if you’re living in an apartment without a garden and don’t have time to take your dog on at least two 40 minute walks a day, I would suggest you get a smaller, slightly lower maintenance dog. When we came to get our second dog Blue, we decided to get a dog that was slightly more chilled out, but could still keep up with Bai. Whippets really are 100 mile-an-hour couch potatoes; they’ll go crazy on a run/walk but then chill out when they’re at home. Try to meet up with someone who has the breed of dog you’re looking at, so you can ask questions but also meet their dog too.
- Dogs need attention. If you work full time you have to take into account that your dog cannot be left alone for the whole day. I would suggest looking for a dog walker/doggy day care, where your dog can be exercised properly while you’re at work and socialised with other dogs and humans.
- You need to look at the financial side of owning a dog. Having a dog is a big undertaking, it changes the way you live your life (if you haven’t had a dog before), but it’s also big financially. I would suggest sitting down and looking at the figures of vet bills, food and dog accessories before getting your first dog.
- Invest in training. It’s the most exciting thing to have a new dog in your life, it’s not so exciting when you realise it doesn’t arrive ready trained… Take your new dog to a local training group where they can learn the basics, but also learn how to socialise with other dogs too, you won’t regret it!
- Protect your dog against lungworm. As well as protecting your dog with yearly vaccines, flea and worm prevention, protecting your dog against lungworm is highly recommended. It can be caught by your dog eating slugs and snails which carry the larvae of the lungworm parasite, or possibly even if they swallow their slime (however not all slugs and snails are harmful). It can cause serious health problems in dogs and in some cases with very few visible signs; worryingly it can be fatal if not treated in time and ideally it should always be prevented. I would definitely recommend speaking to your vet about products that are available as not all worming tablets protect against it. You can also find out more here www.lungworm.co.uk.
- Have a travel plan. If you travel with work or just love to travel in general, having a dog can definitely pose an issue. Before you get a dog you should decide what options are available to you. We have a dog sitter who looks after the flat and the dogs when we’re away. However, there are other options like having your friends dog sit or boarding kennels. I would recommend doing your research and work out what’s right for you and your dog.
- Your dog will become part of the family. That age old saying that a dog is for life is actually true. Some dogs can live to 15+ years, which is a long time. Be prepared to have a dependent furry friend by your side for a while.
- Make sure your new pal experiences as much as possible. Dogs can develop strange habits to places/people they’ve never seen before. When you first get your dog make sure you take it out to experience as many things as possible!
- Look after their teeth. Just like humans, dogs need their teeth looking after, whether it’s a helpful chew once a day or physically brushing their teeth, it’s something that can’t be forgotten.
- Dogs are the most loyal and loving animals and will bring your life a lot of joy. If you’re prepared to take on the responsibilities of owning a four-legged friend with everything thrown in, then you definitely won’t look back.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little canine themed post, if you do have any other questions about owning a dog be sure to leave me a comment.
A big thanks to Bayer for inviting Blue and I to their ACT Against Lungworm event a couple of weeks ago, it was amazing fun to spend the morning making new friends and super informative too! Here’s a few snaps of the day:
This post is sponsored by Bayer, in support of their ACT Against Lungworm campaign. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.