Walking into a park someday, you might find yourself hanging alone between a crowd of dogs and their owners.
Seeing the joy sparkling through their faces, you might feel how happy they look.
Being a dog person yourself, you might feel left out and thought might strike you “should I get a dog?”
Their joyous expressions might trick you into rushing to the conclusion of getting a pooch for yourself but don’t haste into it and think about if you are really willing to have a pet.
Are you willing to do what it takes?
This question can come as pretty heavy to the ones who are inexperienced and looking to adopt a pet for the first time.
It can be comparatively easy for the ones who have had a lot of experience in keeping a pet.
But still, different dog breeds come with their own uniqueness and requirements and can make even the experienced learn new things.
Having a dog at home brings in a lot of responsibilities as they depend on you for the most part of their life.
Initially, it is fun to be with your pup, play with it, feed it on time and take it out for walks and potty time but as time passes, it might start feeling like a mundane routine.
Dogs are there to be a gleeful part of your family and just like any family member has his own needs of space, time and care, a dog has its.
We will cover some points of responsibilities that fall on the owner’s shoulders so as to make you completely aware of what kind of task it is to own a dog.
A. Pre-Adoption Responsibilities:
This is the time when you are still trying to be sure if you should have a pet dog or not.
These are some points that can help you decide.
Think about your pocket as it can be strenuous to it.
1st year of adopting a dog cost’s about around $1300 and the following years cost around $500 involving everything, from its food and grooming to its medical needs.
Apart from that, every breed costs differently, ranging from $500 to $4000 or more depending on the purity of it and also on the popularity or rarity of it.
- Lifestyle & Routine
Think about your lifestyle and daily ups and downs for work and more.
Will you be able to manage and give the appropriate time and attention required by the dog?
Would you be able to fit its routine in yours?
Dogs are very sensitive when it comes to staying with their owners and they crave to be with them most of the time of the day.
Leaving your pet alone for long can make it anxious and destructive indoors and if this goes on for long then it can also make the dog aloof in nature.
- Home & Space
Having a small house with no attached yard can be troublesome for some breeds of dog as they are really energetic and need more space indoors for staying satisfied.
Many dogs, on the other hand, are very flexible in their adaptability and can stay anywhere making you not feel guilty about not providing them with a good space to live in.
Dogs can be mouthy and if not looked after properly, can turn over to destructive behavior like chewing on the curtains, cushions, furniture and more.
The energetic ones might run in the house whenever they feel like, and so you need to keep the expensive home décor out of their reach so as to prevent any costly damage.
Also, see to it that your neighborhood is dog-friendly and understanding so that they don’t make you feel miserable about your dog when it barks or howls or does any such thing.
- Alternate Care Taker
You should have another person around for taking care and giving company to your dog behind your back.
It can be a relative, a neighbor or a good friend, but you do need to have a trusted person on whom you can rely for your pooch.
It is not healthy to leave a dog alone in the house for too long and it can get tough planning a vacation and having to leave your dog at home for a few days when there is no one to count on for its care.
In the end, if you are really willing to adopt a dog and take care of it, knowing all the troubles it can cause and things that it requires, then you should go right ahead and get a furry little friend for yourself.
Overall, it is just like another person who has its needs and wants and can make your life a blissful experience by giving you a constant pal.
- Suitable Breed
You should look at all the above-mentioned points and choose a dog breed that can fit your household in a way that you both feel satisfied and happy.
This will help you to shortlist the breeds close to your requirements and help choose a buddy right for you.
You can also ask your friends who are experienced in owning a dog and have a similar lifestyle as yours to help you out in choosing a breed.
B. When You Have Decided To Bring a Dog Home:
When you have finalized that you are going to get a dog then these are the points of responsibility you should take care of.
- Look For a Good Breeder
Check online for good breeders in your area and contact them.
You can also ask your friends who own a dog for a good breeder’s contact and get connected.
You might not find a breeder with already available pups and so you can ask him to give you the number of another known breeder.
- Have Patience For The Perfect Dog
In case the breeder tells you that he doesn’t have any pups left for the time being and you feel that it’s the best and most reliable breeder to have the pup from then you can book for a puppy and wait for the next litter.
- Register Your Dog
AKC (American Kennel Club) is America’s largest registry for purebred dogs.
Get a registration application and fill all that is there and send the completed application to AKC.
- Get The Required Documents And Papers Of Legality
When you purchase a puppy, get the AKC registration application from your breeder and check if his part of the application is filled and signed.
If the breeder’s part has been taken care of then you can go home and proceed to fill your part of the application or you can take the breeder’s assistance in doing so.
Be aware of all the dog ownership laws.
- Make Your House Dog-Friendly
Yes, there have to be made some changes in the house when a dog is about to be a part of your family.
Start off by shifting the precious home décor so that the possibility of it getting damaged or ruined is minimal.
Build a good fence around the house as the dog will always try to explore its environment, making it a fair chance that it might slip out of the house.
Getting out on its own can be very risky.
To know the dos and don’ts of how to organize your household for a dog in detail, go check out dog proofing.
- Make A Bed For The Dog And A Playing And Feeding Space
Create a resting area mostly besides your bed where your dog can lie and chill with you.
It can be a dog bed, a pillow or piled up carpets that can make a great resting area for the dog.
Also try to make 2 such areas In case of a big house.
Bring in some toys and chew toys for it to play with. Toys can keep the puppy active and busy.
Buy a good feeding bowl of a suitable size if owning a puppy, so that it’s easy to measure its food and water intake.
Ready your family for welcoming the new member.
C. Post Adoption Of Dog:
When your pup has made it to your home and now it is time to take care of it.
- Let The Dog Adapt To Your Home
Your puppy is not only new to your home, but it is also new to the world and so it will be curious about everything that intrigues its instincts and senses.
Let your puppy sniff each and every corner of the house and guide it when entering your yard or balcony or any open space.
Let it settle down and make it familiar with everyone in the family.
Playing and feeding it are the activities that can make it get close to you more than anyone else.
Think about all the pet dog names and pick the best name that suits your pup.
- Select A Veterinarian
You should find a vet for your little pooch as it is its time to get vaccinated.
Also having a fixed vet to look after the medical aspects of your dog is better as he keeps a track of all the conditions that your dog has been through and what medications have been given to it in the past.
He can keep your dog’s medical history and give you better advice on anything regarding the health of your dog.
- Vaccinate The Dog According To Its Card Schedule
Now that you have met a good vet, sit and discuss the dog vaccination schedule and try to find the one fit for you.
Do make time for timely vaccinations, as it isn’t something to be taken lightly.
Do not insist on your vet put as many shots as can be delivered in one go as it can affect your dog and can be uneasy for it for days.
Dog vaccination cost in the initial year can cost from $20 to $150 and $10 – $100 in the following years.
Vaccines against distemper, parvovirus, hepatitis, parainfluenza, leptospirosis, and rabies are a must and should be delivered to the pup according to the veterinarian’s advice.
- Keep The Dog Clean And Hygienic
Just like everyone even your dog needs daily grooming and need to set some hygiene like fixing a spot for peeing and potty time.
You need to bathe it in every 2 weeks or according to the vet’s advice.
Comb its fur every 2 or 3 days a little to make it look clean and tidy.
Grooming can become difficult around their shedding time which happens with the changing season.
At this time some dogs shed heavily and can make your home a hairy mess.
Brushing its fur with a shedding blade for 5 to 10 minutes every day can help in maintaining the cleanliness of your house.
- Feed The Dog With High Nutritional Food
Food is a determining aspect in terms of your dog’s proper growth and health and so it should be fed with good commercial dog food.
Its diet should be full of protein and less in carbs.
Also, your dog should be fed with food that contains essential fats required by its body.
Homely food like rice, chicken, eggs, fish, and veggies like broccoli, potato, beans, carrot and fruits like bananas, papaya, blueberries, apple and more should also be fed.
Fix your dog’s mealtime with suitable gaps and go for your vet’s advice on the number of meals that have to be given and the amount as well.
You should also get your dog some treats and munchies as, like us, even dogs like to eat something that is different from its daily meal.
- Provide For Fresh And Clean Drinking Water
Water is the most essential element that plays a vital role in keeping your dog healthy.
It keeps the bodily functions smooth and your dog active.
But it can also be home to a lot of vicious bacteria, virus, and worms and so you should prohibit your dog from drinking water from just any source.
Make your dog drink a lot before heading outside so that it doesn’t have to drink from outside.
Also in the summers, keep your dog’s water intake up so as to prevent dehydration.
Always fill it’s bowl with fresh and clean water.
- Housetrain The Dog
Now that the dog has adapted to your house environment, it needs to learn the house etiquettes.
Start by fixing a place for peeing purpose.
Go stepwise in teaching it different commands.
Start with the easy and basic commands like sit, stay and go, then move on to the further commands.
To know more check out the 10 Basic Dog Training Commands Your Dog Should Know which will help you and your dog build a good master and pet relations.
- Give The Dog Appropriate Play And Exercise Daily
You need to devote time to your dog daily by playing with it and also, training and exercising it.
Playing and exercising can help build good relations between both and also keeps the dog active and healthy.
It prevents the dog from gaining undue weight which can be harmful in the long run.
Playing outdoors can help in keeping the dog jolly and calm indoors.
Insufficient play can make the dog feel restless and destructive.
- Groom The Dog Regularly
Groom the dog regularly in every 2 to 3 days as it helps in spreading the natural oil throughout the fur and nourishes it, making it healthy and good looking.
It also prevents the clogging of oil and sweat in various parts of the skin, which can promote bacterial growth and give way to infections.
Grooming can be a hectic task when it comes to hairy breeds like Siberian husky but it can also be very simple in case of breeds like a greyhound.
- Observe health patterns
Always keep your dog under a vet’s surveillance so as to keep a log on its health and maintenance.
Go for a whole body checkup in every 4 to 5 months time and for small checks every month or 2.
This will help in increasing it’s lifespan.
- Observe the changing behavioral patterns
You can also make out the difference in its behavior if you have always monitored it.
This change can be a warning sign, it tells you that something isn’t going right.
It can be something related to an internal problem like pain or irritation in some part of the body.
Or it can also be something external like not getting the right amount of exercise or food.
It can also be an agitation against an unfulfilled want or desire.
Try to find the reason behind its sudden change in behavior or visit an expert who might be able to tell you what might be going through your dog’s mind and body.
- Give the dog what it requires
Looking after your dog is a must but also pay heed to its psychological needs.
You should spend as much time with your pooch as you can, not only by indulging into some activities but also lying down with it, talking to it, teasing it and even just being quiet and observing the surrounding environment with it.
Treat it on doing well in any activity or training and when it picks on something new that you wanted to teach it.
Be its best friend as it will always truly be your, no matter what.
- Let Go When It’s Time
This the hardest part of a dog owner’s life.
When you have played all your part right and built a bond that you could never before with anyone else.
When the one that started from a little pup and became your best friend has to go, it can be disheartening.
You seem to forget all the hard times you went through with it.
You seem to look for its mark in your house.
The chewed up corners of the furniture doesn’t infuriate you anymore but it reminds you that there used to be a good friend here.
You realize that nothing has ever shown love to you in such a selfless manner as your pet and in your memories, it rests.
Keeping a pet can be hectic and mundane sometimes as the routine goes on and grows on you but at the end what you achieve is a wonderful friend who loves you more than anything and looks after you like a watchful protector.
All in all, it is an experience everyone should go through at least once in their life as it makes you learn a lot and reveals many things about life that you didn’t know.
What are the responsibilities that you think we missed here?
Comment below as your comment may help a lot of dog lovers.