It’s easy to get lost in the idea of all the good points of having a dog. There are the walks in the sunshine, those cozy nights on the couch, the love and attention; yup, it can be pretty fantastic having a canine in your life. But like everything, there are downsides too. While the pros of having a pet dog may greatly outweigh the negative aspects, they are still things that you need to think about. Whether you already have a dog or you’re just thinking about getting one, take a read below, where we outline some of the common issues that dog owners face, and what you can do to keep these problems at a minimum.
“How much is the doggy in the window?” is a misleading question. There’s the cost of acquiring the pet, but that’s just the beginning of the costs. There will be plenty more, most notably when it comes to food, toys, vaccinations, and so on. Before you get a pet, it’s all about getting a realistic view of how much the dog is going to cost you, so that you’re not hit with too many nasty — and expensive — surprises. If you’ve already got a pet and want to trim down the costs, then look at cheaper alternatives. There are smart ways to buy pet-related goods, which will help you save a bundle. Keep in mind that it’s always worth having an emergency fund for your pet. You never know when an unexpected expense will arise; if they decide to eat a bee, for example, then they’ll need to take a trip to the vet, which is seldom cheap.
Your dog might look and feel like a big teddy bear, but they’re living creatures just like everything else. And that means that they’re susceptible to health issues, many of which are more specific to canines, such as ear infections, dental problems, and illnesses caused by parasites. You can keep your dog in good health by keeping an eye out for signs of anything being wrong, and keeping them clean, especially their teeth and ears. It’s also worth researching any health issues that are common in your specific breed of dog; arthritis, for example, is one that’s more prone in certain breeds than others.
Part of the fun of having a dog lies in their energetic, enthusiastic attitude, but the truth is that this energy can get a little bit tiresome after a while. You just want to have a relaxed night on the couch, but your dog has other ideas; lying down to watch a movie is the last thing on their mind, and they won’t stop running around. If this happens, then you’ll need to find a way to tire your dog out more during the day. Since this means they’re not getting enough exercise, you’ll want to spend some more time out on walks. Most dogs need at least two decent length walks each day, and a longer walk at the weekend. If they’ve used up all their energy then they won’t have anything left in the tank to run around in the evening.
Part of the charm of having a pet dog is that you’ll always have a loyal creature in your life. They’ll give you all the love in the world, and will want nothing more to be near to you. Yet, while this is largely a positive thing, it does come with a downside. For instance, they can’t always tolerate being isolated from you. If you leave the home, they get anxious that you’re never going to return. With most dogs, these symptoms are only minor, yet with others, it’s a problem — the dog can be barking the entire time you’re gone, which annoys the neighbors. You can limit the severity of the symptoms by slowly building up your separation time. For instance, you may leave for fifteen minutes one day, thirty the next, and eventually up until all day.
Away From Home
You can’t have everything in life. You have to make choices. If you decide to get a dog, then you’ll need to accept that there’ll be certain limitations placed on your freedom, which means it won’t always be possible to just do things at the drop of a hat, or to travel as much as you’d like. If you want to take a trip, then you’ll need someone to look after your pet. This can be a friend, or you can come him or her into boarding kennels (though be aware that this can be expensive). Another option is to take your pet with you, at least when you’re going somewhere dog-friendly (such as an outdoors area). There are a few tricks you’ll need to know to ensure this process runs as smoothly as you’d like, but once you’ve got into the groove of traveling with your pet, you’ll find that there’s much to love about having your canine best friend with you.
Destroying the House
You’ve spent a long time making sure that your home looks lovely, but then you got a pet. And then, slowly but surely, the quality of the property began to slip. And how could it not? You’ve not got an energetic young creature running around the property. They’ll dirty up the place and, for a period of time at least, chew everything in sight. Thankfully, there’s an easy remedy to these problems: active management of your home and the dog. For example, your house will be dirty if your dog is left to its own devices. However, if you’re regularly cleaning your pooch and deep cleaning your home on a regular basis, then you’ll be keeping the severity of the issues at bay.
Dogs go through different stages in their life, just like humans, and you’ll need to respond to the issues that each phase brings with it. When the canine is just a puppy, it’ll be all about managing their wild side. When they’re reaching the later period of their life, it’ll be more about handling their depleted energy, health issues, and lack of mobility. Issues such as incontinence can become more pronounced. Look at getting a couple of washable dog pee pads, so that your dog doesn’t make a mess in the home because they can’t wait to go outside. You’ll also have to figure out a fitness regime that isn’t too hard on your pooch, yet still ensures they’re getting their fix of exercise.
Barking All Day
There will be times when you wondered why you bothered getting a dog — the most common (or perhaps the only) moment will be when they just won’t stop barking. It disturbs the peace of the home, and the neighborhood. If you’ve got a dog who just won’t stay silent at certain points during the day, take steps to train them to stop. But how? First, don’t shout at them to stop. They’ll think you’re just joining in with the barking. Reward them when they stop barking; ignore them when they’re making noise. Finally, figure out what’s causing him or her to bark, and isolate your pup from the stimulus. If he or she is barking at other dogs or people, have a friend bring their dog slower and slower into view, all the while you’re giving them treats. They’ll eventually forget to focus on the stimulus.
Your dog can experience the full range of emotions. You’ll hope that the overriding emotion will be one of happiness, but this won’t always be the case. Depending on where you live and the character of the dog, you may have to manage their anxiety from time to time. It can be unsettling to see a stressed out dog, but there are things you can do. For example, there are essential oils that can be diffused to calm down dogs. Also, remember that a little bit of physical contact can go a long way — simply stroking and holding their paw can be effective.
Walking in the Rain
Finally, let’s think about walking your dog. It’s no problem at all to go for a long walk on a lovely, blue-sky spring day. It’s another proposition entirely when it’s windy, rainy, or snowy outside. But like it or not, your dog will need a couple of walks each day! The best, most simple way to stop this from becoming an issue is to invest in high-quality clothing that can negate the effects of adverse weather. Clothing can be incredibly warm, waterproof, and long-standing these days — if you’ve got the best in your wardrobe, then you’ll always be ready to take your dog for a walk, no matter the weather.
Without a doubt, there’s much to love about having a dog in your family. But it’s not all a metaphorical and literal stroll in the park, nope! As we’ve outlined above, there’ll be certain issues that crop up that need to be carefully managed in order to ensure the living arrangements are well-suited for everyone; you, your family, and your lovable dog.