Four Reasons Dogs Are Not For Everybody

There are several compelling reasons to have a dog as a family pet. They give their owners unconditional love, their protective instinct helps keep your family and home safe, and they’re great walking or jogging companions. If you love dogs, then your home probably does not feel complete without one. However, dog ownership is not for everyone, and careful thought should be given to the pros and cons of bringing a dog into the family. Here’s an overview of some of the issues to weigh when your kids are begging you to buy them a puppy.

  • Is your family’s lifestyle compatible with dog ownership? Dogs are very social animals, so if everyone is too busy to train, walk, and play with a new pet, then your pooch might not receive the attention they need to thrive and be happy. Dogs that are frequently bored or lonely tend to acquire some undesirable habits, such as chewing on furniture or barking incessantly. Dogs also need to be groomed regularly, taken to the vet’s for periodic shots and checkups, and given preventative medicine for ticks, fleas, and other parasites. Some dog breeds are considered to be higher maintenance than others, so it pays to do your research before deciding whether to take on the responsibility of dog ownership.
  • Does anyone in your family have allergies to dogs or cats? Roughly one in ten people in the U.S. do have pet allergies, so it could be a potential problem. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, dogs produce allergens that are found in their hair, dander, saliva, and urine. Symptoms of a dog or cat allergy can include sneezing, running nose, coughing, wheezing, hives, rashes, or watery, itchy, red eyes. If might be impractical to have a dog living in your house if a member of your family has a pet allergy. The good news is that there are some dogs that are less likely to cause allergic reactions than others, including the following breeds: Bichon Frise, Maltese, Poodle, Schnauzer, Irish Water Spaniel, Portuguese Water Dog, Afghan Hound, several types of terriers, and a handful of other family-friendly dogs. The American Kennel Club is a good source of information on dogs, including ones that have non-shedding coats and produce less dander.
  • Dogs that were bred in less-than-humane conditions and were removed from their mother prematurely may be fearful, neurotic, and have behavioral problems. Buying puppies through reputable, local breeders rather than pet stores that may be associated with large-scale “puppy mills” is usually a wiser approach to adopting a dog. There are plenty of pet stores that sell healthy, well adjusted puppies, but it’s always good to shop around and make informed decisions.
  • Large, rambunctious dogs can be playful and friendly, but aren’t aware of the effect they can have on their human friends. If you have very young children or elderly relatives in the house, an overly exuberant, large dog might not be the best match for your family. If you do have a big dog, one of the first orders of business would be to teach them not to jump on people.

While dogs can be a wonderful addition to the family, dog ownership is a commitment that has one thing in common with marriage: It shouldn’t be entered into lightly!

How To Dog-Proof Your Home

Just as you would take certain precautions in your home if you had a new baby, you should take the same measures when you have a new dog. Without taking some steps to make your home safer for your pets, serious consequences could be suffered. Your dog could have access to things that could harm him like medicines, chemicals, and other hazardous substances. Save your pet and save on unnecessary vet bills by doing your part to keep your dog safe. A few simple precautions can go along way. The same devices that are used to protect children can be used to protect your dog as well. The best part is that they’re easy to install and fairly inexpensive. Some of your options are:

  • Baby gates
  • Electrical outlet covers
  • Covers for power strips
  • Safety locks for cabinets
  • A device to contain electrical cords

There’s other specific precautions that you can take to keep your dog safe and out of trouble: 

Get A Dog Proof Trashcan

Most dogs love to rummage around in the trash. They’re searching for food, of course! If your dog can knock over the trashcan or jump to get the lid off the can, they’ll have access to the trash. Pull-out trashcans are probably your best option. If you can’t install this type of trash receptacle in your home, think about elevating the trashcan on something like a step stool. It could be multi-purpose for both storage and safety.

Limit The Dog’s Access

When you’re not home, close the doors to bathrooms and bedrooms. This way, the dog cannot get into different rooms and destroy anything or eat anything that he’s not supposed to.  

Clutter Is A Danger

If you have a dog that is bound to chew things, you’ll want to put everything away in its place. If your shoes are put away, the dog won’t have easy access to chew them. When chemicals are kept in the cabinets, the dog won’t have access to dangerous things. Not only will putting your things away help you to stay organized, it will keep your pet safer too!

Keep Your Dog From Mischief

If a dog is left alone in an empty house, they have an opportunity to get into a lot of trouble. You’ve probably heard stories from friends where dogs have destroyed furniture, books, and other valuable things. If you keep your dog in a crate while you’re gone for long periods, they’ll learn their boundaries and stay out of trouble while you’re away. 

Dogs are a part of the family too! It’s important to do what you can to keep them safe in your home.