It's Never Too Late to Get a Dog! How to Prepare, According to Longtime Pet Owners
Just keep in mind that a pet is a lifetime commitment.
If you’re one of those folks who want to get a dog, good news, there’s virtually nothing holding you back from doing so. The catch, however, is you need to commit to it — for better or worse.
Taking in a pet isn’t something anyone should do on impulse. As these dog owners pointed out, there are important factors you must consider before making this big and important decision.
Determine if a dog is a commitment you can handle practically and emotionally
Consider your current lifestyle. Are you capable of taking care of a dog? Are you willing to make adjustments and sacrifices for its sake? No one is exaggerating when they say taking care of a pet is a serious responsibility. You have to feed your dog, bathe them, and look after their needs.
For Janine Abellanosa, fur parent to Panpan, a mix of Shih Tzu and spitz, and Ash and Snow, both Huskies, it was important to assess whether she was truly ready to take care of someone aside from herself.
Janine had to rethink her priorities when she took in Panpan as her everyday life practically changed overnight. “My schedule and routine changed big time," she said. "From waking up late to waking up early because I have to walk [Panpan], from splurging money on my clothes and other stuff to saving it for [my dog's] food and vitamins.”
Pet parenthood also requires maturity and selflessness. You need to be extra patient and attentive because you’re dealing with a living being that cannot communicate with words.
Andrei Dizon, fur parent to Meatball, a wirehaired dachshund, said, “At first, it was very difficult to understand what [Meatball] needed whenever he seemed uneasy. It honestly pushed my patience to its limits. However, as soon as I studied his routine and the way he expresses his needs, it started to feel as if we knew how to communicate with each other.”
Check your finances and see if you can sustain a dog’s needs consistently
Here’s how much you’ll need to take care of a dog per year: around P40,000!
This covers proper food, grooming trips, and vet expenses, among others. While it's possible to cut this down, keep in mind that it should not come at the expense of your pet’s health and well-being.
As Andrei said, “While budgetary concerns may tempt some to [scrimp on dog food], [there’s a real risk of] getting their pets sick. And having a sick pet is much more expensive than investing in quality dog food in the first place.”
Janine echoed this sentiment, explaining, “Having the right nutrition is the most important of all. As a fur mom, I made sure that I give my [dogs] the right food intake that they need, and the vitamins and boosters that they must have.”
Giving your pets proper nutrition entails extra effort, especially since you'll have to check, assess, and understand the different kinds of dog food available in the market. Take a look at reliable and trusted pet food brand Royal Canin.
It has an extensive list of food products tailored to a dog's age and breed size. Royal Canin even goes the extra mile by offering options that address dogs' skin, coat, or digestive conditions. Check out some of them here:
Know the dog you’re planning to adopt
While having basic knowledge about dogs and their needs helps, it’s equally important to learn if they have any special needs. Certain breeds require specific types of care so it's best to know what these are for your dog. This way you’re not going into this blind.
Eunice Tanamor, fur parent to Choo, a Maltese — a breed of dog that requires daily brushing and regular grooming and is prone to dental issues — emphasized, “Research first what breed of dog is compatible with you.”
If this isn’t possible, just like in Andrei’s case as he got his dog as a gift, make sure to put in the work in taking care of your pet once it’s in your care.
“In the beginning, I didn’t really focus on specific factors. Getting a pet was more like whether or not I felt ‘something’ when meeting a pet for the first time, sort of like lukso ng dugo.” he said. “[Still], I knew that regardless of breed, all pets will require my utmost care and attention.”
Ensure that you have the space for a dog to live comfortably
Aside from making space in your life for your pet, you need actual space in your home, too. For her part, Janine checked if her house was spacious enough for her dogs to move around and sleep in. She made sure to “pet-proof” their surroundings, too.
“I became more [mindful] of my surroundings,” she explained. “I need to make sure that my dogs won’t be able to chew random things on the floor, and make sure that nothing [in my home] can hurt them.”
Eunice even made the extra effort of creating a space in her home for Choo. “The first thing that I bought was his bed followed by his food bowl,” she shared. “And right after one week, we made him a mini house for him to play around and sleep in.”
Andrei, who likened his early days of pet parenthood to “having a baby on the way,” said: “I bought tons and tons of dog accessories like dog food, a bed, a kennel, dog treats, and toys! I got so excited and bought so many dog essentials. Thankfully, we had an extra space at home to store them in and to repurpose as a general pet area.”
Despite the numerous things you have to consider prior to getting a dog, pet parenthood is pretty rewarding when done right.
In the words of Andrei: “If you are not mentally and emotionally prepared for the responsibilities, getting a pet can actually be harmful to both the pet and its owner. If you’ve made the big decision and are more than ready to welcome a [dog] in your life, then, by all means, enjoy every second of it.”
“Instead of seeing the responsibilities as chores, consider them as a language of love. Trust me, it’s worth it.”
Learn more about Royal Canin and its products at royalcanin.com/ph. Follow Royal Canin PH on Facebook.