The American Kennel Club explains that being a doggy parent may actually make you live longer.
Dogs help owners cope with stress better and engage in more physical activity. In addition, having a four-legged friend can make you happier.
But even with these positive effects of pet ownership, there are a few downsides.
We’re taking a closer look at the disadvantages of having that wagging tail greet you every evening.
Let’s get started!
How Does Having a Pet Affect a Person?
For most pet owners, having a pet is having another member of the family. For people who live alone, a pet is their family. They provide comfort, joy, peace, and love. There are also healthy effects of pet ownership like feeling less lonely and staying active. There’s a reason pet therapy is offered in hospitals, nursing homes, and cancer centers.
Does Having a Dog Change Your Life?
When you come home from the hospital with a new baby, your life is forever changed. Your decisions change. Your priorities change. Although having a dog isn’t the same as having a newborn, there are a few similarities because you now have to care for another living thing other than yourself.
When you plan a vacation, you consider Airbnb rentals that allow pets. As you apply for jobs, you assess how much time away from home you’ll have to spend working.
While you plan your monthly budget, you think about how much money you need to set aside for vet appointments and dog food. You’re not only making decisions about your life, but you also have a pet to think about now.
What Are the Biggest Downsides of Being a Doggy Parent?
Although there are advantages and perks to having a pet, it’s not for everyone. In fact, there are many people who would love to have a dog but life situations prevent them from being able to make that commitment. From training to finances to travel, there are serious considerations when thinking about having a pet.
Unlike some animals, dogs require training. They have to learn to go use the bathroom outside and that begging isn’t acceptable. They have to learn that they can’t jump on people or dig holes in the backyard. Whether you pay for someone else to train your dog or you do it yourself, it’s a time commitment. Plus, it requires patience, and for some pet owners, that’s a difficult task.
Having a dog or any kind of pet is a huge financial commitment. Purchasing dog food, dog toys, vitamins, and other necessities on a regular basis as well as paying for vet appointments gets expensive. Some people opt for pet insurance, but even that is another monthly bill.
When you have to pay for a dog sitter or dog walker or pay a kennel to board your dog overnight, those are expensive fees.
Being Tied Down
When the holidays come around and it’s time to visit the in-laws or your parents, what will you do with your pet? Can you dog go with you or will you have to board him? Or do you decide not to go anywhere so the stress of travel doesn’t affect your pet?
Similar questions arise when you want to go on vacation. You might not even be able to go on a short overnight trip if you have a pet at home.
How Do I Become a Good Doggy Parent?
But if you’re ready to take on the downsides in order to embrace all of the positive effects of pet ownership, here are a few ways to ensure that you take proper care of your dog and make sure he gets what he needs. These tips will not only make your dog healthy and happy but keep you healthy and happy, too!
Know Common Behaviors and Needs for Your Dog’s Breed
Every dog is different but so is every dog breed. It’s important to know the quirks and needs of your dog’s breed because you’ll want to be prepared for future health issues or understand why your dog needs a certain amount of activity every day.
If you want a house dog that doesn’t need much exercise, don’t get a labrador. If you want a hunting or farm dog, don’t get a chihuahua. Certain breeds are also more susceptible to certain health issues. A veterinarian will give you suggestions for vitamins or activities to do to keep your dog healthy.
Keep a Routine for Your Dog
Just like people, dogs need routine. If you always come home from work and take your dog for a walk, then you need to do that daily. If you always feed your dog as soon as you come home from work, then you need to stick to that time frame even on the weekends. Dogs can sense if something isn’t routine, and this can make them anxious or worried, so keep a routine to keep your dog happy.
Ease Separation Anxiety
At some point, even if you work from home, you’re going to be away from your pet. If your dog is used to you being around most of the day, it’s important to ease separation anxiety when you do need to leave. Perhaps you have a work conference or you want to take an overnight trip to visit a friend. When the routine is interrupted, dogs can have a difficult time adjusting.
So you may need to take small steps to help your dog overcome his anxiety. Leave the room for a few minutes. Then leave the house for a short period of time. Your pet will learn to be less reliant on you and start to feel comfortable when left alone. In addition, you can leave interactive toys to help keep his attention during your absence.
Exercise and Play With Your Dog
Every dog – no matter how small or big or what breed it is – needs exercise. As a responsible doggy parent, you should take your dog out for a walk every day. Visit local dog parks where he can interact with other dogs. Bring a frisbee or chew toy and play fetch. Make this play time part of your regular routine to help you and your pet stay healthy and active.
Keep Your Dog Well Groomed
Not only do you want to keep your dog well groomed so he looks nice, but you also want to keep fleas away. Give your dog baths regularly. Trim his nails. Brush his coat. This grooming also helps you notice any changes in your dog’s overall appearance like a rash or fungus.
Your dog will also itch less if he’s kept well groomed, which means a happier and healthier dog.
Maintain Your Dogs Health
Along with grooming, you also want to maintain routine appointments with your veterinarian. When pets are young, they need to visit the vet more often.
As they age, visits may stretch out to once a year. Listen to the advice of professionals and give the proper medications, vitamins, and nutritious food to keep your dog healthy.
Gives Lots of Hugs
No matter what, give your dog the affection he deserves. Pets long for attention, and if you don’t give it to them, they’ll seek that attention in harmful ways like gnawing on chair legs or ripping holes in carpet. Your dog is part of your family. Give him hugs and kisses just like you would a child.
Is Being a Doggy Parent Worth It?
It’s been proven that dogs ease loneliness, help reduce stress and anxiety, and keep owners healthier. It’s a lot of work to keep a healthy, happy dog, but it’s worth it. For many pet owners, coming home from a long day at work and being greeted by a wagging tail and smiling face can make all their stress evaporate.
A dog laying his head on your lap when you watch television or curling up next to you in the bed are ways these lovable pets show compassion and comfort owners in distress. Dogs can provide the companionship people long for.
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