Dogs are serious commitments. Not only will you be stuck with their beautiful, fluffy little faces for the next decade or so, but you’re giving a serious chunk of your time to them on a daily basis. If you’re living a seriously busy life, it can be harder to find the time to give your pup the attention and quality of life they deserve. If you think is a dog on the horizon, keep these time constraints in mind before you commit.
Regular checkups with the vet are essential to check your pup is running like a well-oiled machine, so you have to be at least able to commit to those trips. Then, be sure to add in the odd emergency trip for the time they accidentally-on-purpose decide to snack on a bee, or find their way into the secret chocolate stash. And then there is always the possibility that they might develop a health problem with requires even more regular treatment, which you would need to be able to find time for.
A dog doesn’t come ready trained, and it’s only with time and patience that you can help to mould your dog into the perfect companion. While they’re young, a couple of sessions at around 15 minutes each everyday is essential. And this needs keeping up even as they get older so they don’t get bored or start pushing boundaries.
Unlike cats, dog’s can’t self-groom. You’ll need to brush them anywhere between daily or weekly, depending on the breed, and they’ll need baths, hair trims, nail trims, and ear and eye cleaning. They’ll need de-worming, and to have the best flea and tick treatment administered to keep them healthy and safe. This can take a few hours every week, unless you’re willing to spend the money to outsource it to a professional groomer.
At the very least, dogs need two walks a day of at least 15 to 20 minutes each, although some breeds need far more. If you’re not at home most of the day, finding time to ensure your dog gets an appropriate amount of exercise can be tricky. When they’re under-exercised they get bored and destructive, frustrated and potentially aggressive, and it puts them at increased risk of obesity.
Dogs learn and socialise by playing. While it’s great for them to see other pups at the dog park, they also need to play with their humans – it’s even a great way to train them to respect you while you play. If you don’t have time to play, they’ll become bored and destructive, and your home will bear the brunt.
A dog needs love and affection. When you’re not around they can get seriously lonely – they are pack animals after all. So if you plan on leaving them crated for eight or nine hours while you’re at work, you should probably reconsider. They need company and cuddles in order to be happy.
Dogs aren’t just for cuddling in the evening when you get home from work, they need care day in, day out, and there’s a lot to do. If you don’t think you currently have time to give them the love they deserve, why not leave it a few years, and volunteer with a shelter in the meantime to get your cuddle fix?