Today we welcome guest blogger Jessica Brody of ourbestfriends.pet, an interesting and informative site for pet owners.
Jessica says, "According to the ASPCA, animal shelters take in 7.6 million dogs and cats each year. Unfortunately, only 2.7 million animals are adopted each year. I’d love to see that number increase.
I’ve been a pet owner for decades. I know the seemingly infinite joy and love that comes from having a pet. But I also remember how nervous I was when I adopted my first dog.
To ease first-time and potential pet owners’ anxiety about caring for a pet, I would love to offer advice on how to be a great pet parent."
She has written the following wonderful article exclusively for us here at loyalpitbulllove.com and I am pleased to share it with you today.
Adopting a dog is like handpicking your new best friend. It's also a commitment to love and care for your pet to the best of your ability. Here's what you need to know to give your new four-legged friend the life he deserves.
1. Breeds and Behavior
It's important to adopt a dog that fits your lifestyle. If you adopt a dog based on looks, rather than size and temperament, you risk years of frustration for both you and your pet.
Breed is a helpful indicator of a dog's temperament, but you don't have to adopt a purebred dog to find a great personality match. If adopting from a shelter, an adoption counselor can identify dogs that fit your wants. You can also adopt from a foster-based rescue. Since fostered dogs are sheltered in a home environment, foster parents have detailed knowledge of the dogs' traits.
2. Adoption Costs
Adoption costs vary widely depending on where you get your dog. Whether you buy or adopt your dog also influences how much you'll spend on veterinary care during the first year.
Buying a puppy from a breeder is the most expensive route. Not only will you spend anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars for your dog, but you'll also be responsible for costs associated with spaying and neutering, vaccinating and microchipping your dog. If you make the mistake of purchasing from a puppy mill or backyard breeder, rather than a reputable breeder who completes genetic testing, you also risk buying a dog with expensive health issues. You can learn how to identify problematic breeders at PAWS.
Adopting from a rescue can cost anywhere from $100 to $200. However, most shelters and rescue groups spay and neuter pets before adopting them out, saving the new owners hundreds of dollars. Some shelters also include microchips and certain vaccinations in adoption fees.
3. Veterinary Care
The adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is just as true for our dogs' health as it is our own. Annual exams, booster vaccinations, dental care and flea, tick and heartworm preventatives are affordable and help prevent a wide range of canine health problems.
Emergency veterinary care, on the other hand, is costly. First-time dog owners should create a pet emergency fund before bringing their dog home. An emergency fund lets you avoid the painful situation of forgoing veterinary care because of financial constraints. Buying pet insurance is another way dog owners can prepare for emergency veterinary care. Canine Journal explains pet insurance in depth.
Your dog will need 30 minutes to two hours of exercise every day, depending on its breed, age and health. Dogs that don't get enough exercise are prone to health and behavioral problems.
Walks are the go-to exercise for many dog owners. To walk your dog safely, invest in a non-retractable leash and comfortable harness and avoid walking in extreme weather. Hot pavement and pavement treated with ice melt can injure your dog's paws.
5. Home Preparation and Maintenance
A dog's home should be a comfortable and safe place. In addition to basics like food and water dishes, first-time dog owners should purchase a supportive dog bed and plenty of toys to keep their pet entertained. It's also wise to dog-proof your home to prevent your dog from getting into unwanted spaces. A dog eating something he shouldn't is not only frustrating, it could threaten your pet's health.
You'll also want to be prepared to clean up after your pet. At minimum, you'll want a vacuum that can handle pet hair and dander (make sure to read reviews online) and a scooper for cleaning waste out of the yard. Grooming tools like a deshedding brush also help keep your home clean.
6. Special Needs Pets
Senior dogs and dogs with handicaps make wonderful, loving pets. However, first-time owners must be prepared to meet their pets' unique needs. In addition to purchasing adaptive devices that let your pet live a full life, you should be prepared to manage increased costs associated with your pet's veterinary care. Senior dogs and dogs with special needs may also mean a messier home due to increased shedding or house accidents. Discuss your new dog's need in depth with your adoption counselor and veterinarian so you can create routines for your new pet's care.
Responsible dog ownership requires a lot of effort. However, ask any dog owner and they'll tell you that it's work that pays back in spades. By planning ahead before bringing your dog home, you set yourself and your new pet up for success.
Image via Unsplash
We thank Jessica once again for this insightful article. Our goal here is always to promote shelter adoptions and the more information we have the better prepared we are to make adoption a pleasant experience for humans and pets alike.
Please be sure to visit Jessica's site www.ourbestfriends.pet/ for more great tips for pet lovers.