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What are the problems with getting a dog?

Bone Broth For Dogs

If you’re thinking about adding a pet — especially one that will live indoors your entire life — it may help to know what you should expect. What are some of the problems associated with getting a dog? Read on to learn more!­ ­

Pets Are for Loved Ones

“I don’t want any pets,” I said firmly when my mother asked me what kind of animals I wanted at our house. “They take up too much space.” It seemed like such a good answer until I started researching this article. Now I’m changing my mind…and so is everyone else who has ever had a cat or a dog because they’ve all ended up becoming part of the family. In fact, there was even someone who got two cats instead of just one after we moved into our new home, but that’s another story entirely.

A study by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) shows that Americans have already spent $62 billion over their lifetime on vet care. This means that most people spend far more money than they intended on caring for their dogs. So why do we keep them around? There are many reasons. Some families simply love having a furry friend around that gives unconditional affection and loyalty, while others get attached to certain breeds or types for specific reasons.

And then there are those who think owning a pet reduces stress levels and keeps us healthier overall. Still other people consider dogs as part of the furniture and view them as something akin to children. But whatever the reason, once you decide to own a canine companion, you can never go back. Here are five things to think about before making your final decision.

First off, puppies are cute and small, right? Not always. Puppies grow fast and become very active little balls of energy. If you choose a puppy, make sure you buy enough food and supplies per month to support its growth from tiny pup to full-grown animal. Also, think about how old your pooch might be when you bring him home. Older dogs tend to sleep more during the day and may require less exercise. Finally, remember that puppies need lots of training classes. They also must be socialized properly with humans, other dogs and strangers. All these factors add up to big expenses for pups.

Second, size matters. Even though we often associate bigger pets with being better loved, smaller ones aren’t out of luck either. Owners of Chihuahuas, Pekingese, Yorkshire terriers, dachshunds and similar varieties report that their pets receive special treatment due to their diminutive stature. Plus, smaller dogs generally cost less. If you’re willing to wait awhile, they could end up saving you a bundle in vet bills alone.

Third, purebreds or designer mixes? That depends upon whether you enjoy doing research or prefer to let someone else handle it. Both options come with pros and cons. Purebreds offer consistency among members of each breed, which makes them easier to groom and maintain. However, purebreds are usually expensive to purchase since breeder fees are built into the price tag.

Designer mixed dogs are cheaper than purebreds, but they vary greatly within breeds. For example, you probably wouldn’t pay quite as high a fee for Labradoodle puppies as you would for Border Collie kittens. Another drawback is that if you adopt a shelter mutt or mix, you won’t necessarily know anything about its background.

Fourth, health issues. Just like human beings, dogs sometimes develop genetic defects. These congenital conditions can lead to serious illness or death. A simple test called a pre-spay/neuter examination helps eliminate females at risk for developing uterine cancer. Unfortunately, only half of shelters conduct spaying and neutering procedures. As a result, male dogs are left intact, increasing the likelihood of aggression between males and sexual encounters with female strays.

Fifth, costs. Adoption fees differ widely depending on where you look. One organization charges anywhere from $100-$500, and adoption taxes are extra. Shelter prices range from free to $1,000 or more. Most local shelters will allow you to visit without charge, although donations are appreciated.

Many rescue groups rely heavily on public funding for survival. Others operate strictly through private funds. When choosing a particular group, find out how they raise money and ask questions. Is there a waiting list? How long does it typically take to get a new member adopted? Do donors cover medical costs? Ask potential adopters to fill out questionnaires regarding temperament and grooming skills. This information will save time later and give prospective owners peace of mind.

Problems Exist with Getting a Dog

Health risks aside, getting a dog isn’t necessarily easy work. First comes the search for the perfect breed match. Choosing a dog based solely on looks or personality traits, for instance, can actually cause major behavioral problems down the road.

Then there’s the matter of obtaining the best quality food, water filters, collars and leashes available. Next, you’ll need to train your dog or puppy on obedience techniques. And finally, you’ll need to provide adequate housing and prevent accidents involving toys, medications and sharp objects. Although buying a puppy is preferable over older dogs, it doesn’t mean that every situation calls for one. To avoid unwanted surprises later, check out different sources for adult dogs. Perhaps you’d be happier adopting a senior citizen rather than purchasing a young stray.

Even though you may have chosen wisely based on personal preference, appearance and budget constraints, chances are good that your choice may not fit well with your lifestyle. After selecting a breed, perhaps you realize that your dog needs a lot of attention every day.

Maybe you have allergies to fur products or asthma caused by dust bunnies. In addition, you may discover that your dog requires regular medication for joint pain. Maybe you hate cleaning cages or dealing with odors. Whatever the case, you shouldn’t feel stuck. Visit several shelters and rescues near you. Talk to experienced volunteers to see firsthand what type of commitment goes along with taking care of a pet. Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, schedule a meeting with a few representatives and ask plenty of questions. Remember to keep in mind both your wants and needs when looking for a great dog. Above all, you should feel comfortable having one in your lives forever.

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