If you have decided to take the plunge and get yourself a dog, congratulations! Pets of all kinds are precious–but dogs are the most beloved for a reason. Not only are they the best cuddle buddies they also offer love and happiness. Dog owners and lovers all over the world will attest that owning a pet is a life-changing experience.
As wonderful as it sounds, dog ownership is also a commitment. Owning a dog can be an exciting, and challenging experience. There is more to it than choosing unique names and buying cute toys. You might have pet hundreds of dogs on the street but becoming a dog owner is completely different territory. Even for experienced dog lovers and owners, it is daunting to deal with all the challenges and responsibilities that come along with owning a dog. Much like humans, our furry friends are quirky and unique individuals in their own ways. To deal with these idiosyncrasies is a commitment in itself. PS: the internet, pet catalogs and other dog parents can only tell you so much and we all know how costly consultation charges can be if you visit a professional way too often. Phew.
Fortunately, becoming a perfect dog owner is now a teeny bit easier. Here is a list of challenges that you might have to tackle on your journey to becoming a perfect dog owner:
1. Making lifestyle adjustments
If you have ever interacted with a four-legged cutie, you know they love attention. When it comes to being woken up with sloppy kisses and being cuddled when you are upset or perhaps, being licked in the middle of a meeting, their clinginess seems adorable.
But if it is about leaving your pup for a few days while you are off on a business trip or a vacation, the worry is real. If you do not have roommates, relatives or friends that may be ready to take care of your dog while you are gone, you might find yourself in a sticky situation. Instead of asking a loved one to take care of your pooch, you can choose to find eternal accommodations like kennels. Here’s a huge caveat: an ideal boarding kennel should be regularly sanitized, approved by medical standards and have good reviews.
All in all, to-be dog owner one must be ready to adjust their lifestyle to accommodate their puppy’s needs; this means foregoing long vacations away from home and afternoon siestas and more.
2. Tackling diseases, allergies and phobias
Once you bring home your canine companion, you become responsible for his mental, physical and emotional well-being.
Just like sometimes the season gets us down, animals are affected by the weather too. They too can fall sick, catch a cold and be prone to fatal diseases. The sooner an owner can identify symptoms and get a health professional involved, the chances of the dog recovering is higher. Which means you always have to be on the lookout for alarming signs for your dog’s health.
Some of these illnesses can be breed-specific or lifestyle specific, for which a veterinarian will be able to guide you the best. Other illnesses can be digestive inflammation, blockages, cancer, and more. To know more about diseases your dog could potentially contract, check out this comprehensive primer: Common Dog Diseases, Explained.
As a general rule of thumb, there are certain symptoms that you should always look out for, such as a dry nose, laboured breathing, sudden lack of energy, vomiting, bloody stool, unusual eating habits and a dull coat.
Additionally, just like humans dogs can also suffer from a wide variety of phobias and fears such as sound phobias, blood injection phobias, separation anxiety and fear of strangers. Thankfully, modern veterinary practices have proposed ways of treating common fears and phobias in dogs. If you think your four-legged buddy is showing signs of stress and fear, visit a veterinarian as soon as possible.
All research necessary to help you ensure the overall health of your furry friend is in pristine condition is available freely; apart from that, medical practitioners, veterinarians, nurses can give valuable advice.
3. Get to dog-proofing your house
Even if you live in the simplest, least furnished condo or apartment, your pooch will find a way to get into trouble. Whether it is chewing newspapers or eating leaves, dogs, especially puppies have a penchant for adventure.
According to architects and dog parents, the best way to avoid potential hazards is to pet-proof or more specifically, dog-proof every room of your house.
This includes taking simple steps like ensuring toxic foods for dogs, hazardous chemicals and sharp objects are out of your pet’s reach. Additionally, you could also take another step and install dog barriers indoors especially in the kitchen area.
Pet ownership is a whole lot of work. While owning a little furry friend is a special feeling, being a perfect dog owner is a difficult task. With this guide to tackling the challenges of owning a dog, you can call officially yourself a perfect dog owner.