Adopting a dog may be one of life’s most rewarding experiences. Nothing matches a dog for loyalty and unconditional love. Of course, adopting a dog is not without its obligations. You’re responsible for all aspects of your dog’s life, from food and obedience training to exercising your dog and providing proper health care.

Adopting a Dog: Is it Right for You?

Owning a dog is not a decision to be made lightly: there are questions to answer before you bring a dog home. Are you willing to invest the time and energy needed to care for a dog? Exercising with your dog should be a daily event: do you have the time for regular walks?

Other questions you should ask include:

  • Am I willing to care for a dog for its entire life?
  • How will other pets react to a new dog?
  • Can I properly care for the size of dog I want?
  • How energetic a dog do I want?
  • Do I want a puppy or an older dog?
  • Do I want to be grooming daily or weekly?

Exercising with Your Dog

Along with feeding and grooming, exercising with your dog is one of the primary responsibilities of having a dog. Fortunately, exercising with your dog is one of the most enjoyable aspects of sharing life with a dog.

Exercising with your dog can take many forms. Walking the dog is always good exercise, but you can also play catch, throw Frisbees, play tug-o-war with a rope or even splash around in water together. Whatever method you choose, providing your dog with physical activity helps him spend his excess energy, stress and anxiety, and, consequently, promote his overall health.

Traveling with Your Dog

Because a dog is a full-time commitment, caring for your dog is important even when you’re on vacation. Although traveling with your dog can be exciting for both you and him, it does require more preparation than traveling alone. You’ll have to pack dog supplies, plan scheduled stops for exercise and choose a dog-friendly hotel.

Traveling without Your Dog

Traveling with your dog isn’t always possible. Maybe your dog hates to travel. Or, maybe you have to go on a business trip and you can’t bring him along. Either way, don’t feel guilty about leaving him behind: do what’s best for your dog. If your dog gets carsick, travel won’t be very enjoyable.

If you plan on traveling without your dog, then you have to arrange for dog care. This may be as simple as asking a friend to be a dog sitter. However, if friends and family aren’t available, you may have to hire a professional dog sitter. Dog kennels are also an option when traveling without your dog.

Dog Clothes and Dog Toys

Dog accessories are part of the fun of having a dog in the family. Along with dog toys, dog clothes can be both fun and practical. If you live in a cold climate, dog clothes can keep your dog warm in winter. Dog clothes vary from sweaters to jackets and can even include dog boots for those icy, slippery streets.

While not all dogs like dog clothes, those that do really seem to enjoy dressing up. Dog clothes can make owning a dog more enjoyable, especially around the major holidays when you can dress up your dog in a costume. Dressing up your dog in dog clothes for Halloween can make a great addition to your costume while dog clothes for Christmas, like Santa hats and reindeer antlers, can add extra cheer to your holiday party!

Coping with Your Dog’s Death

Coping with death is possibly the hardest part of having a dog. After loving a dog for ten or fifteen years, his death can be particularly hard to deal with.

Those who don’t understand what it means to love a dog can misunderstand the need for coping with the death of a beloved pet. The dog has become part of the family and his absence leaves a heartbreaking hole in your life. Take the time to grieve and gather your loved ones around you for a memorial where you can look at pictures and remember the good times spent with your loyal friend.

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