At 62%, Australia continues to have one of the highest household rates of pet ownership in the world. For Aussies, dogs remain the most popular type of pet with almost two in five households (3.6 million) owning a pooch. But knowing which canine companion is actually best suited for our many different lifestyles and stages can be tricky.
From city living nesters to globetrotters with continuously itchy feet, or from new and young families to retirees and even seniors settling in, there are many lives dog-owners lead.
The decision to bring home a dog warrants careful consideration and far too often the breed isn’t suited for the lifestyle of the owner. This is usually because the owner priorities the dog’s physical characteristics/aesthetics or ideations of what the dog will be like, instead of what is going to be best for the owner’s lifestyle. This can sometimes then result in (conscious or unconscious) resentment and even neglect of the dog, which isn’t healthy for either dog or owner. Owning a pet is great for your physical and mental health, brining unconditional love and joy to a household, so it’s imperative to consider all aspects of your life. The most important advice I give people who are interested in homing a new dog is to ask themselves these key questions:
- Do you live in a house or a high-rise apartment?
- Do you have a garden, small balcony or neither?
- Do you work full-time?
- Do you travel often?
- Do you live in the city, country, beach or suburbs?
- Are you active?
- What stage of life are you in?
- Are you an independent, starting or growing a family or are you retiring?
- How much can you afford to spend on food for your dog each week?
It’s also important to answer these questions keeping in mind of your lifestyle right now, not just what you hope your lifestyle will be like in the future.
Once you’ve answered those questions clearly (and honestly!), it’s time to educate yourself on the dog breed you have in mind and understand in detail about the environment that breed thrives in. Then ask yourself one final question, “Will this dog be happy living alongside the life I lead?”
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