19.11.20

Dogs are for Life Not Just Lockdown – Top Tips on Taking on a Dog


Lockdown has done many things to us as a nation. We have started working from home when we never thought we would, we have dabbled in home schooling we probably know the local woods better than we ever thought we would and many of us have decided to get a dog. With the idea of holidays becoming less and less common, and being outdoors in the UK all year more and more normal it makes sense. However, a lot of people are taking on a dig without really thinking about it. So here are some top tips and general help about taking on a pooch!

Costs
It may not be very much fun to jump straight in with the boring stuff but the cost of having a dog is a serious point to kick off with. There are no fixed prices for things because it all depends on the dog but the best way to think about it is imagine having a child. OK, so dogs don’t need clothes but they do need a bed, toys, food, dog sitting and you don’t get vet care on the NHS! It can come as a big shock to people who thought getting a dog would be an amazing idea for lockdown and are now struggling to pay for it. Its worth noting bigger dogs cost more to feed, its obvious but some people don’t seem to work that out. Smaller dogs can certainly be cheaper to own.

Vets
Dogs get poorly just like we do. As mentioned above, vets cost money. It isn't like taking a child or ourselves off to the doctors or hospital. It is important to find a local vet and register, call them before you get a dog to see if they have space. Vets can range in service levels too you get some small simple practices as well as larger flashy places. The larger ones can often offer more and have things like customer apps and other ways to help you look after your dog. Choose one you like and feel you can get on with.

Pet Insurance
While you don’t actually have to have pet insurance like you do with a car it is very wise to get it. Basically if your dog gets ill the insurance will cover most of it. Vet bills can get very big very quickly. Costs of over £800 per visit are common and if you happen to get a dog that needs ongoing treatment you could spend £1000s.

Breed
Getting the right dog is super important. We all have dog breeds we like the look of but we also have to understand not every dog is suitable for us, our family or the area we live in. Spaniels for example…super cute but need a huge amount of stimulation and exercise. Even with spaniels there are different breeds that need different things a King Charles needs less than a springer for example. There are a wide range of dogs once bred for hunting and working that really aren’t suitable for people who can only do an hours walk a day so do your research before making any choices! There are also a number of breeds that seem very cute but have terrible health problems. It is too big a subject to get into there but pugs, bull dogs, French bull dogs and more all suffer from a range of issues but are all highly sought after.

Care
Looking after a dog is simple on one hand and complex on the other. So generally, most people can cope with taking a dog for a walk, picking up poo, giving it a brush and plenty of cuddles. However, there are complex issues underneath this. For example, how much walking does the dog need? What type of food? You can’t give a dog working food if they are not working, raw food can be better for them, how much to feed them is a big learning curve. Keeping a dog’s weight at a healthy level can be a big deal. This is all before we have even looked at training which ultimately affects how much you will love the dog. A naughty, poorly trained dog can be very hard to live with and it can lead to rehoming when it wasn’t the dog’s fault.

Here are some things to consider

- Number of walks needed
- Type and amount of food
- Training
- Behaviour traits with kids, other dogs and animals
- Amount of space needed
- Inherent health issues with breed

This post is really not to say don’t get a dog…they are amazing. They bring an extra level of meaning to going for a walk, they bring interaction and physical contact to people on there own and people in families. A dog can even help with mental health issues. The joy and warmth a dog brings to a home is second to none, but a dog is an emotional being too and it needs lots of love and care and money spent on it so make sure you can provide what it needs before taking the plunge because there are a lot of lockdown dogs needing new homes where people got it wrong.

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