February 22, 2023
Dogs are one of the most popular pets in the world with an estimated 12 million in the UK alone. For thousands of years, they have provided unparalleled companionship as well as invaluable working support in a variety of settings. Before committing to a dog, owners should consider and ask themselves whether or not one would be the right pet for them. All pets represent taking on a major responsibility, and dogs are no different.
At a basic level, if you are unable to meet a dog’s welfare needs then it would not be responsible to take one on as a pet or working animal. As a minimum, these needs include providing shelter, appropriate food and water, veterinary care if necessary, exercise, companionship, and some kind of fun or play. Dogs have complex needs and are highly reliant on humans to meet them. Dogs’ wellbeing and health will often decline if their needs are not being met.
Of these needs, companionship and fun are perhaps the poorest understood and most seldom met. Dogs are deeply social animals and while the more traditional pack theory can be questioned, it is imperative that they spend significant amounts of quality time with those they have bonded with. Dogs can bond equally strongly with humans as well as fellow canines, and if they are the only pet in their household then this will have most likely been with their owner and family. Dogs suffer when left alone, so this should be avoided as much as possible. If you are unable to spend most of your day with your dog every day, then another pet may more appropriate.
As excellent a pet as dogs may be, they too deserve the best owners possible. If you cannot meet a dog’s needs, then it is simply unfair for you to get one. If you would like to explore whether or not a dog is the right pet for you, we recommend discussing this matter with an experienced trainer or behaviourist before making a final decision.