A number of research studies have shown that having a pet dog can reduce high blood pressure, cholesterol and lower the incidence of loneliness and depression. More recently a study done by the Mayo Clinic found that dog owners were more likely to have improved Cardiovascular Health than non-dog owners. As companions, dogs provide us opportunities to go outside, exercise and even socialize. These experiences help us to stay fit, reduce stress and make us happy.
But as much as pets like dogs are a welcome sign in our lives, pets have requirements to ensure they too stay healthy and happy. It is for this reason, that before you decide to bring a pet in your home, you want to make sure that it is the right pet for you and your family.
So, What is the "Right" Pet for you?
This all depends on your specific situation. For some, getting a dog or a cat narrows down the field to 2 choices. If you're a dog lover, it makes perfect sense to get a dog. The same goes if you're a cat lover. But like everything else in life, the things we love aren't always the right things for us. Yes, getting a dog may be the right fit for the dog-lover, but have you thought about the age, size, gender or the unique qualities to properly care for your particular pooch?
The "Right" Age
When it comes to picking the Right Age for a dog, this is something that most people have some familiarity. How often do we see a puppy as lovable and cute pets? Most people do! But do you know that puppies require proper care and training? The typical "puppy shot" series usually starts between 6 to 8 weeks old with some newer vaccines requiring intervals of every 3 to 4 weeks between shots.
Puppy training can begin the moment your puppy is able to keep its eyes open and walk, to as young as 7 to 8 weeks old. Formal training in "Puppy School" for obedience training starts around 16 weeks old or around the age when your puppy has completed his puppy shots.
For those of you that prefer for the more mature and older dog, they too require proper care. Although, an older dog won't require as many "shots" that a typical puppy would, a visit to the vet at least once a year is recommended.
The "Right" Size
It comes with no surprise that picking the Right Size for your pet dog is equally important as the dog's age. A large dog requires a larger space or living quarters, unlike a smaller dog. The bigger the dog, the more food they'll have to eat and the more exercise they'll need. This is not to say that smaller dogs don't eat as much, but in relative terms, pound per pound, larger-sized dogs have more weight in them and their larger dimensions present challenges that aren't always easy to solve.
The "Right" Gender
The dog's gender can be the easiest decision you can ever make. You either want a male or female dog. For some, choosing the gender for your dog is a matter of whether you plan to have puppies or not. Although, if your dog is spayed or neutered, having puppies is definitively a, No Go. It just ain't happening.
The "Right" Breed
Choosing the Right Breed is a hotly talked and debated subject in the pet world of dogs. By far, it's the one I hear most often from people who want to own a dog. However, it comes to no surprise that no matter what you tell people about the breed, the Chihuahua-lover or the Pit Bull die-hard will always gravitate to the breed they love the most.
But, what if you're not decided on the breed of dog you want to own? There's work to be done. Luckily, I came up with questions to ask yourself when deciding on what breed to choose.
1. What is your main reason that you are getting a dog?
2. How much time can you spend exercising your dog?
3. How much time will you include your dog in social activities?
4. What is your experience in raising a dog?
5. What is the size of your dwelling?
6. What are the ages in your household?
7. Who will take care of the dog?
8. Will you be away during the day?
9. What type of coat would you want your dog to have?
10. How much time can you devote to grooming your dog?
The "Right" Place
If you choose a Pug or a Bernese Mountain Dog, the size of his bed or crate should be proportional to his size. Then again, just because they're small, the amount and time it takes to properly care for them aren't the same. A Jack Russell Terrier, for example, even though they're small these little dynamos require lots of room to run around. A Maltese for one would be just as happy in both big and small spaces. But if you're looking at a Great Dane as your pet, know that these dogs require a lot more room including his own couch to go with.
As you go through these steps, bear in mind that owning a pet is as much fun and joy after you have done your homework. Undeniably, bringing a pet in your home the moment you're attracted to him happens all the time. After all, there's nothing more exciting than falling in love for the first time! Then again, falling in love for the first time can sometimes put you at a disadvantage if you know little about the pet you're getting.
As a responsible pet owner, you can reap the health benefits that a pet can bring to your life, change how you live your life and enjoy the time you and your pet spend together as lifelong companions.