6 things you should know before getting a dog
Thinking of getting a dog? It’s never been more popular to own a dog in India, and it’s not hard to see why. They are great companions, loyal to the end, and with the right care they can even become a part of your family.
However, owning a dog is a big commitment, and there are many things you should know before buying your pup. Make sure you do your research. If you don’t know where to start, then don’t worry - we’re here to help.
How to pick the right dog breed for you
Don’t pick your dog just based on the way it looks. Breed is more than skin deep, and different breeds often have significantly different temperaments and health needs. Some are better with children than others, for example.
The best thing to do is speak to someone who knows about the dog you want to get before committing to taking care of it. This could be someone who knows a lot about the breed of dog through their own experience, or someone who works as a trainer or at a rescue shelter. Let them know about your home and lifestyle to ensure it’ll be the perfect match.
The top dog breeds in the UK are Labradors, cocker spaniels, and German shepherds. But many new Hybrid breeds, such as the Labrador-poodle (‘Labradoodle’) are also very popular. In cities, small dogs such as chihuahuas and Pomeranians are very popular.
If you want to know more about a breed, look in our library. We have a number of books on dog breeds in our library.
- Dog breeds: the new compact study guide and identifier
- The Concise Guide to Dog Breeds
- The Handbook of Dog Breeds
Know when to exercise your dog
Just like humans, dogs need regular exercise. While some dogs might seem happy to laze around all day, they need to be taken for walks at least twice a day. This is true whether it’s monsoon season or if there’s a heatwave.
Beware of the weather. On hot sunny days, take your dog out for a walk early in the morning or around sunset. Tarmac can get very hot when baked in the sun, and since dogs don’t wear shoes like we do, even short walks can be unbearable when the day is at its warmest.
During rainy periods, it may be advisable to keep your dog indoors. Before monsoon season, you should consult your vet about your dog’s housing (especially if they are kept outside) and exercise. Whatever they recommend, be there to reassure your dog during thunder and lightning, and make sure that you keep your dog and its living quarters dry so it doesn’t get sick!
Beware of poisonous foods
Dogs love to eat. It’s probably the one thing they love more than play! But as tempting as it might be when they look at you with puppy-dog eyes, you should refrain from giving them human food. Like us, dogs don’t react well when they’re provided with a poor diet, and food that isn’t meant for them is not balanced for their complex nutritional needs. You don’t want to have a poorly puppy!
A lot of human food is seriously poisonous to dogs, such as onions and chocolate, can be fatal. If you think your dog might have eaten something it shouldn’t have, you should see a vet immediately.
Dogs get lonely
Dogs can be left to entertain themselves for short periods of time, chasing their tails, playing with toys, or barking at whatever interests them. However, they require regular contact with their owners to remain happy and healthy.
If you work long hours and would have to leave a pet alone all day, you may need someone to get your dog for you. This is because they get lonely, and can react by taking out their frustration furniture, carpets, or by chewing anything they can get their teeth around.
Have you considered a rescue dog?
In the UK, it’s popular to get a rescue dog (a dog from a shelter or a charity) as opposed to one from a pet seller.
Rescue dogs can fit into a family just as well as a dog from a pet seller, and you can also be assured that you’re adopting an animal in need.
There are many charities and NGOs in India devoted to helping dogs find homes, such as X, Y and Z. If you’re thinking about getting a dog, why not get in touch with one? You could end up changing a sad dog’s life for the better.
Don’t forget the cost
Dog food might seem cheap from a distance, and getting a dog (especially if you adopt) might not require you spend a rupee. But dogs can become expensive quite quickly.
Vets fees can mount up far quicker than you expect. Routine visits are one thing, but treating unforeseen health problems - such as illness, infections, or broken bones - can cost a lot of money. Pet insurance is not very popular in India, but many companies offer it and it can ensure that your pet gets the right care at the right price in the event that your puppy gets poorly.
Other costs - like paying for grooming or walking, if you don’t want to do either yourself - can also cost more than you expect. Do your research before getting a dog, and, if possible, speak to friends, family or colleagues who own dogs already and see how much they are spending. You could save yourself a surprise!