Owning a dog can be extremely rewarding – it’s not for nothing that dogs are known as man’s best friend. They can be loyal companions, energetic playmates, and a comfort when you’re feeling down. Many people who live with anxiety or depression report that their pet helps them deal with their symptoms.
Unfortunately, owning a dog also comes with significant challenges, and it’s only responsible to make sure you understand what those are before you commit.
Health and Wellness
When you have a dog vomiting, diarrhea and other unpleasant facts of life can become a regular part of your morning routine. It’s your duty to know how to help, and to spot when the symptoms are serious enough to merit a trip to the vet.
Fortunately for most bouts of gastric trouble, a dog will happily recover in a day or two. You just need to clean up (many owners favour an enzyme cleaner, that digests some of the molecules that cause staining and smells), make sure your dog stays hydrated with clean, fresh water, and potentially help them out by offering smaller, more regular meals of boiled chicken and rice, or other easy to digest staples.
There will be times when you need to take your dog to the vet, and it’s best to be prepared, so you should register your dog as soon as you get them. This will also allow your vet to make sure your dog is vaccinated up to date, and identify any health concerns you should be aware of early on.
Your dog needs exercise for it’s mental and physical wellbeing. As well letting them burn off some of your dog’s seemingly inexhaustible energy, a good walk provides mental stimulation too and it’s worth making sure you have lots of different options so you’re not taking your dog on the same walk every day.
A walk is also a source of socialisation, so your dog can learn early on how to behave around other dogs – when to play, when to say hello and when to pass by.
You can’t skip a walk or your dog will suffer, so be aware you’ll need to be outside in all weathers, from pleasant summer days, to wintery downpours.
Training can be a challenge for some dogs. While some that have been bred for many generations as working dogs take to commands enthusiastically, others are more spirited and independent. All dogs benefit from training, even if there’s an initial challenge to overcome. Dogs are happy when they know how to fit into your family, when they have clear expectations and know how to fulfil them and training provides all this.
If you’re having difficulty, try to be patient. Your dog enjoys the process of practicing commands even if it doesn’t succeed very often – it’s still play and stimulation, and one on one attention from it’s favourite person in the world – you!
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