By Dr Vinod Sharma*
Owning a puppy brings its own special rewards and responsibilities. Many factors need to be accounted for since it’s an important life decision, welcoming a new family member and the commitment needs to be as much and maintainable for years to come.
Adopting a pet is equivalent to bringing a child into your family. One needs to prepare mentally to make your pet a part of many decisions you make like financial, surroundings, lifestyle, travel, and more. At no point should one be thinking of their pet as a hindrance to life plans, so it is best to think through all details in consultation with an expert.
Let’s discuss some of those factors that can help you make an informed decision as you get ready to become a parent to a fur ball. Having said that, it is recommended to consult an expert / veterinarian to discuss case to case.
1. Size of the Dog
Your place of residence and availability of space is a vital factor before considering size of the dog that you want to adopt. This impacts cost of ownership and standard of living. Also, medication costs can be significantly greater for bigger dogs. Boarding, grooming, food costs, and veterinary fees could also be some of the elements that may directly be proportional to the size of the dog.
When choosing a dog for your family, it is best to be clear about the purpose or role you want the dog to fulfil in your life and your family. Most people keep dogs as companions for themselves and their kids or parents, thus it is advisable to discuss the temperament of different dog breeds with your vet and find a suitable breed that has the correct level of socialization needs and fits best as part of your family. It is essential that your experience of being a dog parent is as pleasurable as is the life of the pet in your house.
3. Exercise Needs
Dogs need daily exercise for their wellbeing and health. However, the amount can vary with the type of dog, also the number of hours of exercise needed are based on their size and can vary from one to several hours a day which means a commitment on time and space both. This could be challenging in times of weather adversities like rain or hectic schedules of your work, so it is important to consider a minimum number of hours you are willing to dedicate to this for your pet.
Dogs are social animals and companionship is the key for their happiness and wellbeing. If left alone for long, they are likely to become bored, sad, and develop behavioural issues. So, think deeply and plan how you and your family can give time to your dog even while being busy. Also, dogs enjoy the companionship of other dogs, but think deeply about your comfort with finances, place, and time before getting more than one dog.
*Author is Head of Veterinary Service Division and Director at Dogs, Cats, and Companions (DCC), Delhi.