5 questions every 24/7 pet parent must ask before getting a pup

5 questions every 24/7 pet parent must ask before getting a pup Have you been thinking about getting a puppy? A warm, fuzzy body, with a tiny, inquisitive nose and a furiously wagging tail is the stuff that makes all hearts melt. But before you say ‘yes’ to getting home a pup, ask yourself these 5 questions.

#1 Can you afford to keep a dog?

A dog is a living breathing creature, and like any living, breathing creature, it has needs – needs that come at a price. Scan any breeder website and you will get an idea of how much a pure-bred pup costs. Even if you decided to go in for an adoption, there are one-time costs to consider. Your pup needs a bed, food and drinking bowls, a collar, a leash, toys too. You only want the best for your dog. Better to buy good quality products and make the initial investment than to keep purchasing new, cheaper products that won’t last long. Then there is the spaying to consider. And the yearly vaccinations, as well as high vet bills, for the next 13-15 years. What about when you travel? You could take your fur-baby along, at a small cost. Or you could leave your pup in a kennel, but those charge anywhere from 650-1000 per day. Every time you need to travel, you will need to factor in this cost. Unless you have family, which brings us to the next point.

#2 Are the people you live with willing to keep the dog?

If you stay alone, then great; you have all the freedom (with its share of responsibilities, of course). However, if you stay with a family or friends, consider the situation carefully. Is the pup your idea alone or is everyone equally excited? Until your pup is housebroken, there will be pee and poop in the house; things could be chewed up;there could be fur and muddy paw prints on your favourite sofa. A pup is demanding, playful, naughty and will create a lot of upheaval in your daily life. Does everyone agree to this minor inconvenience for a few months? Ah, and don’t forget to check for allergies. Pet dander can severely affect some people.

#3 Do you have the time and availability for the dog?

How much time can you give your new family member? Dogs are social animals and will want to spend time hanging around you. And it’s not all just for play. Daily walks and exercise are part of the deal when you sign up to be a dog parent. A lot of time will be spent in training the dog and teaching it house rules. Even later, once the dog grows up, you have to ensure you are home for its meals. A few minutes are fine, but you can’t delay your pet’s meal by many hours because you decided to go out with colleagues after work.

#4 Where will you get the puppy from?

If it’s someone you know whose dog just had a litter, you can always get one from them. You know the family and you can see that the mother of the pup was looked after well. Breeders are a different story. This business is filled with people with varying levels of ethics. For some, the dog comes first, but in some cases, the female is kept in deplorable conditions and forced to give birth to litter after litter, with severe repercussions on her health.Many dogs get abandoned callously on the streets once their usefulness is over. Visit the breeding centre and have a look at the conditions of the animals kept there. Do not encourage backyard breeding and most certainly do not become part of thiscruelty. Also, insist on meeting the parents of the pup. This way you can check to see if either of them has any behaviour or health issue. The pup might appear healthy, but if either of the parents has a problem, it can be passed on to the pup, leading to more distress and expenses for you later.

#5 Are you willing to research and feed a species-appropriate diet to the puppy?

Traditionally, Indians have been feeding roti, milk, cooked chicken-rice, boiled eggs, etc. to their pet dogs. Then came the era of packaged food. These appear to be great, but are you aware that your dog is NOT getting all the nutrients he is supposed to? Dogs have evolved from wolves, several thousand years ago. A wolf is primarily a carnivore, and so is your dog. Feeding your dog ‘pet food’ is nutritional abuse, even if your dog appears to survive on it. It seems convenient, pouring the ready food into your dog’s bowl. But the food is nutritionally deficient, contains exceedingly high levels of carbs and very little moisture. And your dog will start to show all the modern day lifestyle illnesses that its ancestors never even knew of. Will you feed your dog its species-appropriate diet? Yes, bringing home a pup is demanding and it is a commitment for life.Answer each of these questions honestly and when you are sure, get home a dog; it will be the best decision of your life. Happy parenting!