Written by Disha Ramanan
Getting a puppy home, especially for the first time, can make for some of the most joyous moments in one's life. Adding a pet into your family is certainly a reason to celebrate - it's one of the most beautiful feelings in the world!
It's unfortunate, then, that so many animals are being abandoned every single day, and this figure is only rising.
What is concerning is that most people at the outset, feel that getting a new pupper is all fun and games. There is almost no due diligence done on what it actually takes to raise an animal the right way.
So we've compiled a handy checklist that every prospective pet parent should mull over. The next time somebody you know is planning to get a new dog home, make sure you share all the following points with them for consideration.
- Deciding to have a pet is a long commitment. Having one involves a similar level of dedication, discipline, and responsibility as having a child. The pet parent has to provide this not just when the animal is cute and tiny, but also when inevitably it'll be old and quite possibly need your full attention. It's likely your pet may undergo illnesses that are common in old age. It is heartbreaking that the most frequently abandoned animals are senior/ill dogs and cats. Please don't let your future pet be a part of this statistic.
- A dog requires a lot of time, attention and patience from you. More so in the beginning (and especially in case it's a puppy), so that it gets used to its new surroundings and new family
While puppies are adorably irresistible, they also need a very tolerant and consistent attitude from the family during the training phase. If that's not really possible at the moment but you're still sure you want to get a dog, why not consider getting an older dog home? There simply aren't enough people ready to adopt adult animals, yet there are so many advantages to having one - the biggest ones being that they are likely already housebroken and have basic obedience training.
- If you adopt a puppy, before it is entirely house-broken you would have to be prepared to have your house in a mess. Dogs do need some time to be fully trained and even so, they may have accidents sometimes when they eliminate inside the house
Puppies also LOVE to gnaw on things - so make sure you don't leave your stuff lying around anywhere near your pup's reach. Otherwise, get ready for some major destruction! Take the all-important step of puppy-proofing your house before the little one arrives
- As a responsible dog owner, pre-decide with your vet about your new doggo's food requirements. Is it going to be packaged or home-cooked or a mix of both? Another important aspect is to understand which human foods are healthy for your pooch and which ones are an absolute no-no (think avocados, grapes, onions and chocolate - never leave these anywhere in your dog's reach)
- Animals require periodic visits to the vet - these visits take time, effort and money. Also, just like with humans, an animal may require an emergency visit at some point and this may happen at any time - day or night (although we always hope such a scenario will never arise). Make sure you remain prepared for such eventualities by keeping a list of the vets in your area with their phone numbers and working hours, as well as addresses of emergency care providers
- Keeping pets is expensive! As your pet grows up, it will require more food and more resources, perhaps even more visits to the vet. Often, people end up abandoning pets because they were simply unprepared to shoulder the higher costs as their animal grew older. Ensure that you're in an appropriately financially sound position to support your pet as it grows up
- A dog at home needs walks at least twice a day. The average healthy adult dog needs 30 minutes of exercise twice a day. Doing this is a commitment - come rain or shine - are you and your family ready for that?
- With a pet, travelling and/or overnight visits to places as a family might be difficult, unless you choose to stay at pet-friendly hotels. Even so, travelling with pets is tough (both on the pet and you), and involves extra costs. You may decide to leave your pet at a reputable boarding facility, however, this can get expensive too and may leave animals anxious. If you are someone who travels regularly or values travelling and going on vacations, adopting a pet might just require certain compromises
- An important aspect of being a responsible pet parent is having them spayed/neutered when they come of age, upon consultation with your vet. It's a routine procedure, but one that can ensure a long and healthy life for your pet
- If you have children and/or old people at home, it might bode well to bring home an animal which would be able to live in adjustment with your family's needs. Specifically, with small children at home, constant supervision may be required in the beginning both for the child's safety as well as the safety of the animal. Both the child and the animal need to be taught how to interact with the other and require you to be vigilant to monitor their interactions. It's also a good idea to find out beforehand if any member of the family is allergic to dander or fur.
Please remember, none these points is meant to discourage you to bring your future best friend home. This is just a brief guide so that first-time pet parents know what is required of them... We hope with all our hearts you and your new pet have a blast sharing amazing moments and making wonderful memories together.
The unconditional love, happiness and laughter an animal brings home are worth every second of compromise and adjustment you may have to make.
Even your most dreary day can sparkle with hope, all because of that simple look of love in your fur baby's eyes.