THE ever-increasing numbers of dogs which are abandoned every year is proof that getting a pet, almost like starting a family, is not something to be done on a whim and there are various things that should be carefully considered before taking the plunge.
First of all, prospective dog owners need to realise that, as the old campaign said, they are for life.
These days, dogs can live 15 years or more and you have to be sure you will be able to offer them a safe home until death do you part.
Another thing people tend to forget is that not all dogs are alike. Different breeds and personalities can be better suited to different people and ensuring you will get on is the key to a harmonious relationship. If adopting, ask previous handlers about the dog to avoid surprises later on.
On a similar note, dogs of different breeds and ages have different amounts of energy.
It might not be a good idea to go for a St Bernard or a Pointer for example if you live in a tiny flat in the middle of a city.
Another thing to think about is how much time you’re out of the house. If you work long hours, it isn’t fair to leave a dog locked up alone in the house all day.
The whole family must agree on the matter too, if one person wants a dog while another hates them it is bound to end in tears.
Finally, don’t forget the cost. Pets are not cheap and vet’s bills, food, equipment and kennel or dog-sitter fees all have to be factored into the budget.