Would a dog be a good idea?(10 Posts)
Didn't grow up with pets due to my DM's asthma, but have always loved them. I've had a couple of cats, most recent one got run over, so I (and DS - v sensible 5 year old) are reluctant to get another cat due to proximity to main roads.
I've always loved dogs, but (a) I don't have any experience in dog ownership, and (b) I work 30 hours a week (3 full days, 2 half days). Is there any type of dog which could cope with being home alone this much? I've talked to dog-owning friends who've said maybe an ex racing greyhound would be ok with snoozing in its basket for longish periods (obviously would have to check carefully that it had been socialised and housetrained).
If dog ownership wouldn't be an absolutely stupid idea, what would I need to do to prepare? Obviously we'd have to organise our day round morning and evening walks (I've talked to DS about need to do this regardless of weather). How about dog training classes? Obviously the dog would need a nice basket, lots of affection, scheduled trips to the vet. But what else?
Any advice gratefully accepted (including "no, it's a stupid idea and you'd just make yourself and the dog miserable" - though obviously I hope it would be a possibility).
Off to get DS from school now, but will check back in later.
Even a greyhound/lurcher would need a dogwalker to come in on your full days at least once to take them out, and of course thats a big expense
Things to think about are what you do at weekends - I think that was the biggest change for us is working the dog into our weekend days and days out.
Thanks - that's a useful piece of input. I was naively thinking "we're around at the weekends" but what about trips to the zoo (no dogs), trips round museums, etc. Good point. I will add it into the thought processes.
Don't get a puppy is the first piece of advice I would give you! They are lovely, cute and almost irresistible but take a lot of work for the first year or two.
Secondly, with the best will in the world, DS will lose interest at some point and won't want to walk on rainy, cold days so it will be up to you to do that - and presumably you'll have to drag your 5 yo (then 6, 7 and so on) with you until he's old enough to stay at home by himself.
I would look at local rescues, sign up with them, explain your needs and lifestyle and be prepared to wait patiently until one turns up that seems to fit. You might have a long wait... but better than rushing in. Many rescues work on a fostering systems so dog will have been assessed in a family environment which will often have dogs/children/cats which would put your mind at rest re. suitability of dog.
Also, think about cost. Apart from cost of adopting a dog, you'll need to factor in dog insurance, all the accessories, ongoing food costs, worming and flea treatments and then spaying/neutering (depends if rescue has already done it). Costs for dog walker, doggy day care or kennels for days out and holidays.
You have to think about what you do about holidays too. Some are ok with kennels (I'd guess a grey would be likely to be ok, don't know). You might have someone who'd be delighted to have a dog for a fortnight but you need a backup plan.
We have a dachshund and we've gradually got him used to spending quite a while alone on a Saturday when we want to do something not dog-compatible - he's the sort of dog who can spend a day sleeping (exercise before and after, obv) or climb a mountain - some dogs are more adaptable than others.
If you can work out something for your full days, it doesn't sound impossible and you're starting off right by asking lots of questions first!
Thanks! Yes, I've lurked on enough threads to know that a puppy would be beyond me, was thinking more in terms of suitably placid rescue dog (big fan of rescue dogs and cats - my cats were a stray who rehomed herself with me, then a rescue cat from the blue cross picked out for his nice friendly nature - the rescue centre seemed pleasantly surprised when I turned up saying I hadn't picked one out from the website on the basis of its looks, and that we wanted to meet the cats and handle them so we could see which ones liked us/which we liked).
I like the idea of signing on with rescues and waiting for the right dog to come up. Also I can ask around about dog walking services. Thanks to DS's dog passion, I quite frequently end up chatting to local dog owners in the park.
Just found the answer to one question though - dog on London to Inverness sleeper would be 80 quid each way when we go up to the north of Scotland to see family (thus probably cheaper than kennels).
For ongoing costs I'm guessing dogs are 2 to 3 times as expensive as cats. What dog stuff does one need? Cats are pretty easy - food bowls, you buy them a basket which they ignore and sleep on your bed, a toy mouse on a string, but again I'm guessing dogs require rather more.
My dog is cheaper to feed than my two cats. He's little though and a bag of expensive Royal Canin lasts him ages. Previous dog was a greyhound and ate cheap greyhound food.....£12 for six weeks worth of food.
I imagine a lab or other big breed would be expensive to feed.
He has his bed, a few toys, rawhide chew bones and that's it.
Obv inoculations, worming, flea meds to think of as well.
But yes, not been able to do stuff at weekends is a bit thing. We're having a day out tomorrow to a zoo, only possible as dh is finishing work early. Days out as a family have to involve the dog or we have to ask a neighbour to let the dog out. Which she did for the last dog but she's scared of this one so I don't feel I can ask her. So it's going to be a long summer holidays!
I dread to think he much our dog has cost us, but we have definitely gone for more expensive options, so don't take what we pay as given, I'm sure it could be done more cheaply at no detriment to the dog.
Also worth bearing in mind as a general rule of thumb, the bigger the dog, the more expensive things are. We have a big lab (approx 35kg at just over 10 months!) so he gets through more food, the wormer is more expensive as its stronger, the toys need to be bigger etc.
Food and treats: approx £100 per month
Insurance: £40 pm
Wormer/flea: £10 pm
Bed can be got a cheaply as you like, use your imagination to make it comfy. As nice as the sheepskin ones looked (and for over £100 you'd hope they would be) we didnt want to spend that much when we knew it was likely to get chewed and outgrown quickly, so we got a hard plastic one and a cheap duvet, with a fleece/sheet thrown over in winter/summer. Mine also loves his cheap pillows to lie on.
Collar and lead can be got for under £15, but as with anything, you can spend as much as you like.
A brush, toothbrush/paste/dental sticks, old towels and blankets are also pretty essential, but not expensive. Shampoo and a rubber bath mat are advisable for when they inevitably roll in fox poo!
Toys - it depends on the dog. We have to spend more on the 'indestructible' ones as our boy can rip a cuddly toy to pieces in seconds. An antler is a good investment, while they're expensive (arpund £15 for a small one) they will last years compared to to bones.
Our vet is relatively inexpensive - £25 per consultation. However, emergency vets are horrendously expensive - we paid £200 when ours got a bit of plastic stuck in his bottom on a sunday,which took the vet less than a minute to remove. Booster jabs are annual.
I often walk with a dog walker who charges £10 per walk, which I think is the standard rate. Our training was £100 for a 6 week course (1hr x6), one to ones with the trainer were £35 per hour.
Don't under estimate how much work they are, in addition to the expected walking and attention, your washing and hoovering will also go up.
I agree with others that you're best off speaking to the rescue centre about whether there is a dog that would fit your lifestyle. And have a think about whether it might be possible to change your hours or come home at lunch etc to accommodate a dog.
F you can afford it, and can adapt your lifestyle to give a dog the attention and care it needs, they're wonderful, rewarding pets, so I hope you can!
washing hoovering... our dog doesn't shed much or smell, the house doesn't smell but his bedding gets pongy and the vacuum cleaner reeks...DH has just bought an expensive Meile with special filters which we hope will solve the problem!
Oh and another thing, some way to restrain dog in the car - dog bars if he will go in the back of a hatch, or some sort of crate, or a belt arrangement. An unrestrained dog is at risk of injuring both itself and other occupants of the car.
Have you thought about volunteer dog walking? The Cinnamon Trust and Papas volunteers walk for the elderly or ill. They help people stay in their own homes and not have to rehome a beloved pet. They have foster schemes if the client has to go into hospital. Your local animal rescue may need volunteer dog walkers. It could be an opportunity for you and your ds to indulge your love for dogs without all the expense. You might have to get a dog seat belt or dog guard for the car. You would need to check if your ds can accompany you dog walking and the charities will ask for references etc.
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