As dog and pet food experts, we have been the proud parents of many wonderful furry companions. While adopting a dog can be a wonderful idea, it’s not the perfect option for everyone. If you’ve been wondering, “should I adopt a dog,” consider the following information carefully.
4 Reasons To Adopt A Dog
At Wag Tantrum, we may be pet food experts focused on providing you with the best (and tastiest) nutritional support for all dogs, but we also love to encourage people to take the plunge and dive into the world of dog parenthood and there are some compelling reasons to consider buying or adopting a dog.
1. Dogs Improve Our Mood
There have been several studies that have shown that dog parents are less prone to depression than people without a dog. When we pet and play with our dogs, we get a healthy boost of dopamine and serotonin, which are neurotransmitters that help us regulate our emotions and boost our mood.
2. Dogs Lower Our Blood Pressure
Let’s face it, life can be pretty stressful, and just spending time with your dog can lower your blood pressure. In fact, some studies have shown that dog owners tend to have lower cholesterol levels than people without a dog. Even those with heart issues tend to live longer lives if they have a dog companion. In general, dogs also help us recover faster from many types of illnesses.
3. Dogs Improve Our Overall Health
When you head outside for your daily walks or toss a ball around your yard or even engage in a good game of tug, this provides you with a great source of cardiovascular exercise and we all could use more of that.
According to the CDC, humans need at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. Spread over the week, this is slightly more than 21 minutes per day. Enjoy two 15-minute walks each day with your pooch and you can reach this goal easily.
4. Dogs Make Us Happier
When you walk through your door after a stressful day at work or school, your dog is always there to greet you and with tail-wagging enthusiasm. Dogs are always happy to spend time with us and always there if we need a companion. Dogs are joyous creatures who want nothing more than to spread that joy with their human companions. If you’ve been looking for a fabulous companion that’s consistently loyal and loving, a dog is a perfect choice.
4 Things To Consider Before Adopting A Dog
While the information above might have enticed you to take the plunge and adopt a dog, before you head out to your nearest shelter or specialty breeder, please consider the following points.
1. Your Daily Schedule
If a dog could spend their entire day snuggled up beside you on the couch, they probably would. Dogs love to be with their human companions, and if you have a busy schedule that keeps you away from home most of the time, a dog might not be the best option to fit your lifestyle.
Even if you work from home, but you travel frequently, you need to think about who can care for your dog when you are away. Is there a good boarding facility nearby? Do you have an experienced dog sitter in your area or friends and family to help out? Make sure a dog truly fits your routine before you make this huge commitment.
2. Your Environment
If you live in a small apartment and don’t have access to a yard, this doesn’t mean that a dog isn’t a good fit for you, but it does mean you should be particular about the breed of dog you choose.
For smaller spaces, smaller dogs tend to be the best fit and it can be a good idea to select a breed that is more sedentary, as you won’t be able to simply open the back door and let me run about and expend their energy. Remember that if you do let them roam about in the backyard, this needs to be a safe fenced-in space which means you might need to invest in fencing or fence repairs.
Even if you do have a large home or a large yard, consider the breed you pick carefully and choose a type of dog that truly fits your lifestyle. For instance, while an Australian shepherd is a beautiful, friendly dog, they have a ton of energy and are best suited to families that enjoy taking long walks, hikes or runs and have plenty of energy to play fetch and other dog games.
Additionally, if you are a renter, it is important to note that not all apartments and rental properties allow dogs, and some only allow small dogs. If you are planning on adopting a large dog or a breed such as a pit bull, this can complicate any future rental situations so keep that in mind.
3. The Expense
As long-time dog parents and pet food experts, we are well aware of the extra expense that accompanies adopting a dog. While puppies and younger dogs tend to be fairly affordable, you still have to pay for license fees, food, vaccinations, teeth cleaning and yearly veterinary exams. If you will need to board your dog or hire a dog sitter, this will be an extra expense, as well.
In general, you can expect to pay about $1,500 per year for dog care. However, as dogs age, they tend to need more frequent veterinary care and it’s not uncommon to spend many thousands of dollars annually to care for a senior dog. Dog insurance is available, and it can be smart to purchase one of these policies when your dog is young.
4. Your Lifestyle & Temperament
While you might love dogs in general, not every person has the lifestyle and temperament for a canine companion. Dogs can be messy, and this means you probably will have more vacuuming and floor-cleaning chores, particularly for breeds that shed a great deal. It might not seem like a big deal, but it is something to think about if you enjoy a very tidy, clean space.
Do you have enough patience for a dog? This is a question you need to ask yourself. Caring for a dog is nearly as complex as caring for a child, and as dogs age, they often will require extra care, such as diapering or providing them with injections of medications, etc.
On the flip side, puppies need quite a bit of training, including potty training, and if you don’t think you are up for these tasks, perhaps a dog is not a great match for you. Dogs are a lifetime commitment, and they deserve all of our love and patience, but, truthfully, not everyone has the temperament to handle living with a dog and that’s perfectly fine.
If you love dogs, but don’t feel that your lifestyle truly suits becoming a doggie parent, why not volunteer for a pet rescue or help out at a dog shelter? You could even offer to do some dog sitting for friends or family so that you can enjoy some cuddly dog time without a huge commitment of time or resources. Volunteering and dog sitting also can serve as a first step toward becoming a dog parent and help you determine if this is the best option for you and your family.