Dog indoors with lit Christmas tree in background

Are You Ready for a Dog?

Never has it been more important to make the right decision regarding dog ownership. Animal Behaviourist, Kirsten Dillon, explains why.
With an estimated 3.5 million additional dogs being bred and sold during the UK Covid crisis, coupled with Christmas on the horizon, now more than ever, we should be evaluating whether adding a dog to our lives is the right thing to do.
Rehoming shelters are overrun, and trainers and behaviourists have waiting lists of many, many weeks. Never has it been more important to make the right decision regarding dog ownership.
Dogs can add so much value to your life and are wonderful companions, however there is a lot to consider before making such a big commitment. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before purchasing or rehoming a dog:
  • Are you prepared for a 15-year commitment? Modern veterinary medicine, coupled with excellent nutrition means our dogs are living much longer, healthier lives.
  • Can you reasonably commit to the cost of dog ownership? Pet dogs are a luxury item and there are really no shortcuts. Veterinary care, high quality food and good equipment are essentials, not optional extras. The PDSA estimate a dog will cost between £50 - £80 per month minimum!
  • Can you give your dog the time they need? Dogs are not little humans that grow and become more independent. They need care, training and attention for the length of their life. Physical and mental enrichment are daily requirements.
  • Are you ready for the addition of a dog to alter your current household and family dynamic? Is everybody in the home fully committed? How will dog ownership affect your nearest and dearest?
  • Can you offer your dog companionship? Dogs should not be left for longer than 4 hours and a quick visit from a dog walker is no substitute for this social creature.
  • Are you happy to clean up after a dog for its entire life? Not just toileting messes, but drool, muddy paw prints and dog hair on everything? Dogs are NOT for the house-proud and landscape gardeners.
  • Can you accept that the dog you like the look of may not be the best choice for your lifestyle? Research, research and research some more before you choose your breed.
  • Do you actually LOVE dogs? Or are you in love with the idea of a dog?
Lastly, remember that good breeders and rescue centres will not rehome to anyone in the run up to Christmas so carefully consider anyone that will. A dog is for life and not just for Christmas.
By Kirsten Dillon
Animal Behaviourist & Canine Specialist