We’ve been considering whether to add a new member to our family lately, and no not the human kind, this baby making factory (that’s me) was closed for business right after Ash was born. We’ve actually been wondering if a little rescue dog might want to come and live with us, and if maybe our cat would like a little friend. Did you know that dogs are the most popular pet in Australia, with almost 40% of households owning a pooch? It’s not enough to just want a dog though, we know this as the mums of a fussy feline. Deciding to bring a new pet into your home should be a decision made carefully, because it’s a lot more work than some people think. If you’ve got a furry friend at home already, you already know what I’m talking about. We tend to become very attached to our pets, but sometimes, our love and affection aren’t enough to protect them. These are just a couple of things we’ve been taking into consideration for our pros and cons list.
Your dog’s diet
Although it’s incredibly tempting to share your dinner with your dog, especially when they’re giving you those puppy dog eyes, it’s really important to be very careful when it comes to choosing what to feed your dog. Many foods that we eat aren’t designed for dogs, and they can do more harm than good. Foods to avoid include chocolate, avocado, citrus fruits, grapes, nuts, onions, garlic and dairy products. If you do fancy giving your best friend a treat, stick to lean meats.
Getting a workout
Just as humans need to do exercise to stay in shape, physical activity is really important for dogs. Some breeds require more exercise than others, but all dogs should go on at least one walk a day. Being active is good for your dog’s physical health, but it also helps to improve their behaviour and boost their wellbeing. You may have noticed how excited your pooch gets when you get their lead out of the drawer. For many dogs, there’s nothing more fun than tearing around the park chasing balls or collecting sticks.
Training your dog
Most dogs are very good at picking up new skills and learning commands, but this does require some effort on your part. Puppies can be cheeky, and it’s best to arrange dog training classes at an early age to prevent bad behaviour further down the line. Classes enable dogs to learn, but they also give them valuable experiences, such as mixing with other dogs. If you’ve got specific problems, for example, your dog keeps nipping people they don’t know, or they bark all the time, it may be worth getting in touch with a behavioural specialist.
Company and companionship
Dogs are incredibly affectionate, and they love human interaction. If you have a pet dog, try and avoid leaving them alone for long periods of time. Dogs can get lonely, and they also experience feelings of anxiety and sadness when they’re on their own. If you work full-time, look into services, such as dog walking, which will give your dog the chance to enjoy some company and let off some steam at the same time.
It may not be possible to prevent every health problem, but as a dog owner, there are lots of things you can do to keep your pooch as fit as possible. Ensure that they have access to a balanced diet, give them plenty of exercise and keep up to date with routine vaccinations. If you have any concerns, don’t hesitate to contact your vet. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Are you a dog owner? We are still undecided. A few of these factors have us wondering if we shouldn’t just stick to being cat mammas, okay well just the one – we’re not likely to go for a walk every single day.