Making the decision to add a new furry addition to your family is a rewarding one and will provide you with years of happiness. Along with that happiness, however, does come a new realm of responsibility, as a pet requires almost as much dedication as having a child. The one main difference is that a pet will never be able to rely on its own resources or take care of itself. They rely on their owners to be their sole caregivers. This means they require much more than just food, water, and going outside once in a while.
While some pets can easily amuse themselves and may even find enjoyment simply nestled in their favorite corner or cage, dogs need frequent attention and mental stimulation. It is important to make sure they get plenty of exercise and quality time with their humans. Failing to do so often results in an unhappy pet which can make for one unhappy owner! Exercising your pet will help curb destructive behavior that often stems from anxiety.
In addition to exercise, it is important to maintain good health for your pet. While some have more health requirements than others, at the very least they should be spayed or neutered to prevent overpopulation and also have an annual checkup and vaccinations. These checkups will help ensure that any minor illnesses won’t spiral into something serious that can’t be cured. While costly, preventative wellness checks are well worth the money. Your vet can also provide your pet with a microchip, which is an identification marker injected into your pet if they ever get lost. This chip is registered with a company, and if your pet ever gets lost, any vet will be able to scan them and find their owner. Unlike dog tags, this chip can never be removed and will be with your dog for the remainder of its life. It is a great safety net should your pup ever decide to go exploring the world on its own!
Also keep in mind that while it might not be necessary to have your pooch professionally groomed, it is important to bathe them every so often and have their nails clipped to prevent injury to themselves or to others. Along that same vein, especially for dogs with floppy ears, it is imperative to check their ears for mites or infection and clean them often. Ear infections can become serious if left unattended. And, of course, their teeth need to be tended to as well. For dogs with severe dental disease, your vet may suggest a professional cleaning. To maintain proper dental hygiene, most vets can supply toothpaste made just for dogs. It may take some time for your dog to get used to it, but some dogs learn to love it!
Lastly, dogs need to be socialized to help avoid any aggression issues later on. If your dog already displays aggressive tendencies, it is best to get the advice and assistance of a professional trainer. This will prevent further headaches later on down the road, as you don’t want to be in the middle of a dog fight or worse, have your dog attack a human.
While having a pet is undoubtedly a lot of work, with patience and proper budgeting, it is an enjoyable experience that will provide you with unconditional love and companionship for years to come. ©
Elizabeth Parker – Author of Finally Home, Final Journey, My Dog Does That!, Bark Out Loud!, Paw Prints in the Sand,Paw Prints in the Sand: Mission Accomplished, Unwanted Dreams, Phobia, Evil’s Door and Faces of Deception. Available on Amazon.com!