If you are thinking about becoming a dog parent, but you are concerned about certain issues, we have good news for you. Most of the fears that keep prospect dog owners hesitating are manageable. In order to do that, the first step is to ask yourself what are the issues that prevent you from enjoying a canine companion. Anticipating undesirable situations and setting your expectations in a realistic frame will help you avoid potential problems.
The United States has the largest population of pet dogs in the world, estimated to be 46.3 million in 2012, followed by China and Brazil, according to the American Pet Products Association’s National Pet Owners survey. Pet ownership, which increased by 10% between the 50s and 90s, experimented a drop in the last year evidencing that the latest generations of householders encounter even more obstacles than before. The American Humane Association conducted a survey with the goal of understanding the barriers of pet adoption, helping people solve them, and reducing the alarming number of pets that are euthanized each year. The outcomes of this study coincide with the results obtained from other researches conducted in others part of the globe.
The the top five dog ownership barriers and their solutions are the following.
While veterinary expenses vary according to your dog’s characteristics, health condition, and the place where you live, they are the most concerning issue for 30% of previous dog owners. The latter also list other costs such as care, food, training, daycare, etc, as a barrier to having a dog in their life. While it is true that the bill is always more than expected, you can anticipate and solve this problem by buying pet insurance to reduce the unpredictable and manage health care expenses with fixed monthly or annual payments.
For 26% of the participants in the survey, traveling is the most important barrier related to the lifestyle of previous dog owners. Those who have never owned a pet consider their vacation as the main reason why they are not willing to embrace this responsibility. When traveling with your dog is not a choice, finding the right boarding service can be the solution. This task is not necessarily an easy one, since it depends on the personality of the owner and sometimes the temperament of the dog. The worst feeling for a dog parent is associated with discovering that the furry member of the family endured hard times while the rest enjoyed a perfect vacation.
Certain dog day cares, walkers and sitters offer or are affiliated with boarding facilities. This could be a very good starting point on your search for the adequate boarding service for your dog. Accustoming your pets to occasionally attending day care or staying with a dog sitter or walker is an effective way of preparing them for your absence.
Both those who have previously owned a dog and those who never have agreed on the fact that money is the first obstacle and lifestyle the second that prevents them from currently welcoming a dog into their lives. Nevertheless, they differed on what they thought was the third concern. While cleaning up after the animal is a serious worry for 30% of the people who have never owed a dog, the pain and grief associated with the death of a pet is the third important barrier for 20% of previous dog parents.
The grief experienced after their dog’s death is the third concern for those who have lost a four-legged friend because, in most cases, this normal emotion is present even after twelve months of the pet’s passing. There is no exact way of avoiding this feeling completely, as your pet has played an important part in your and your family’s life and the fond memories you had together will live forever. Preparing for this event consists of simply knowing that the grieving process has several stages and that it is not always easy to overcome, sometimes requiring professional help. It is for this reason that some associations provide bereavement support and counseling. There are several options that could help you overcome the sense of emptiness and move forward with your life. Volunteering in shelters, fostering and helping homeless pets is a positive way of keeping alive the memory of the love you shared with your dog while experiencing the joy of having a canine companion.
Concerns are particularly associated with shedding and pet hair, which could be a problem for those with allergies. Selecting a low shedding dog is a way of reducing the spreading of pet hair and the risks of allergies. For instance, some dogs, belong to a breed considered as hypoallergenic. Many growing families opt for this kind of breeds to anticipate allergy-related problems for their children.
Behavior & Training
A dog trainer can help you house-train, i.e. eating and bathroom scheduling, as well as teach your dog manners and obey basic commands. Barking is way of communication that often could express fear, alarm, aggression, playfulness, or demand of attention. This is a natural behavior that should stop when you ask your dog to do so. Noisy dogs could be a problem for people living in apartments, and can be solved with training as well as by reducing the time the dog spends alone at home. Sometimes a dog sitter, walker or day care is a good investment that can help your dog socialize as well as reduce their levels of stress when in presence of new people, dogs or situations, and consequently control excessive barking. Aggression is a concern for any dog owner. However, this is manageable with adequate training and with the help of a dog behaviorist. Sometimes dogs are surrendered to shelters by their owners for being aggressive or difficult to handle. Uggie, the Hollywood star is an example of this. Dog associations and shelters provide rehabilitation and training to make these dogs adoptable and in most of cases they become extraordinary pets.
For all those of you who already overcame the barriers to dog ownership and think you are a “dog parent ” we have good news: you are not alone! Most dog owners consider their pet a member of the family, so they give them presents at Christmas and include their dog in greetings cards and family pictures. Some of them also give them presents on their birthday and have their picture in their house, workplace and/or wallet.
Since dogs are an integral part of our life and culture which, in certain cases, determine the type of car, house, or vacation trip that we buy, feel proud of being a dog parent and help others who are still hesitating to get more pooches out of shelters and matched with loving families.