Don’t Get A Dog, Or Any Pet For That Matter

Don’t Get A Dog, Or Any Pet For That Matter…those of you who are familiar with my dog, Angel will understand the title of this blog. Angel was a poster puppy for the don’t Get A Dog Campaign, which promotes intelligent, responsible and caring ownership of dogs.

Can you afford a pet?

Basic food and veterinary care for a dog can easily be $1500 to $2000 a year. Then what about training? Emergency medical? Licenses? Maybe a fence? Daycare or pet-sitting? And don’t think cats are necessarily cheaper. Last year I spent nearly $3000 on just one of our cats who was plagued with chronic urinary problems.

Even a hamster, gerbil or lizard can become costly if medical care is needed. And don’t forget the initial cost of cages or terrariums if you’re a new owner.

Before you fall for a soulful pair of eyes, sit down and calculate the costs for the life of the pet. If you are in any doubt that you can cover those costs, then don’t even think about getting a pet!

Can you afford the time?

This is about as important as cost. Why would you get a dog if you’re gone for 12 hours a day? Because you want the company when you get home? Then get a cat. Or two cats. Or a gerbil. They’ll survive quite happily without you for the day as long as there’s food, water, toys, clean litter and comfy bedding, and they’ll be there to welcome you home.It’s asking a lot of a dog, however, to be cooped up for so long and to hold his business til it suits you. And will you feel up to walking a dog before and after work every day? Are you willing to get a dog-walker, if necessary? Do you have the time to train your pet (and yourself)? An untrained animal can be very destructive, which is a major reason pets are brought in to shelters.

If you don’t have a few hours every day to feed, walk, groom, clean, medicate, train, play and whatever else necessary for your companions well-being, then don’t get a pet!

Can you make the commitment?

A dogs lifespan can reach 20 years! That’s unusual, but when you undertake to bring a dog into your home you should do so on the assumption (and hope) that he may be with you for a long time. Average life expectancy, according to the AKC:

  1. Labrador Retriever (12.5 years)
  2. Yorkshire Terrier (14 years)
  3. German Shepherd Dog (11 years)
  4. Golden Retriever (12 years)
  5. Beagle (13 years)
  6. Boxer (10.5 years)
  7. Dachshund (15.5 years)
  8. Bulldog (7 years)
  9. Poodle (12 years Standard) (15 years Miniature)
  10. Shih Tzu (13 years)
  11. Miniature Schnauzer (14 years)
  12. Chihuahua (13.5)
  13. Pomeranian (15 years)
  14. Rottweiler (10 years)
  15. Pug (13.5 years)
  16. German Shorthaired Pointer (13 years)
  17. Boston Terrier (13 years)
  18. Doberman Pinscher (10 years)
  19. Shetland Sheepdog (13.5 years)
  20. Maltese (14 years)
  21. Cocker Spaniel (12 years)
  22. Great Dane (8.5 years)
  23. Siberian Husky (12 years)
  24. Pembroke Welsh Corgi (13 years)
  25. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (10 years)

A properly cared-for cat can expect to reach 15 years of age or more; a gerbil could live for five years; ball pythons 20-30 years; rabbits 8-12 years; guinea pigs 4-7; iguanas 12-15 years. You get the picture! And there’s more to commitment than lifespan. Commitment can mean not going on that skiing weekend because you need to stay home and nurse a sick animal. It can mean forfeiting that new HDTV to pay vet bills instead or using up a vacation day because the pet-sitter can’t make it.Commitment is also about patiently working with Fido til he understands the concept of house-training. It’s about scooping the litter box every day, maybe twice a day; cleaning out your rodents house-quarters and replacing the bedding every week and a host of other things to keep your pet safe, healthy and happy.So, if you don’t think you have it in you to be truly committed to your companion, then don’t get a pet!

There is an upside to this. The joys of pet-parenting are bountiful. The excitement when your pup first learns to sit; the laughter your hamster can bring with his antics; the soft whisper of your kittens whiskers on your cheek; the sense of security when your dog barks at strangers coming to the house; that special bond between you and your chosen pet.

And when you’re ready, we’ll be there to help, give us a call here.

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