Dogs are the most popular pet in the world. They are not only highly social and intelligent but also very loyal and devoted.
Dogs <Canis familiaris> are exceptional as pets. First domesticated from gray wolves at least 17,000 years ago, their history dates back to about 150,000 years based on DNA evidence and genetic fossil records.
After they were first domesticated, hundreds of different dog breeds have emerged with great variations from behaviors, size and shapes to colors and patterns.
Dogs are loving, playful, friendly and ideal companion to humans. They protect their turf and the owners.
In fact, they seem to view their human companions as members of their own family.
The bond formed with dogs is unlike any other pets. Once they are attached to their owners, they will be friends for life. Hence, they are known as man’s best friend.
From the beginning, when humans identified them as hunters and pack animals like themselves, a strong bond of friendship and trust started.
This dog-human bond resulted into the dogs being the first domesticated animals.
Over thousands of years they have been interbred resulting in the hundreds of breeds we find today. These different dog breeds have different temperaments and vary in characters as well.
Nowadays dogs are bred to be good at specific things. Therefore, you can choose between large breeds of dogs to fit your personality and need.
In this day and age, they are part of our life styles. Many people depend on these pets on a daily basis and really appreciate how good they are at what they do.
There are dogs to assist handicapped people and senior citizens, sniff drugs and explosives, find wounded people in disasters, find soldiers and even enemies in the war zone.
Furthermore, there are dogs that herd cattle, hunt, pull the sled and then of course who can forget about the ‘show dogs’.
Like any other pets, they do require care and commitment from the whole family.
Some of them live up to 20 years so it is going to be a long commitment (O:
Having a dog is a great experience however, healthcare, regular checkups, shots, grooming, food and housing, and other expenses like leashes, collars, toys, treats, bedding can be expensive over time.
And then there is always the issue of ‘time’ and obviously the pet sitters while you go on a vacation.
Before you decide to get a dog, ask yourself why you need a dog!
If it is an inside dog, you have to take it outside more often for ‘dog walks’ so that it doesn’t get crammed up inside.
You also have to make sure that your yard is fenced up so that it would not go wandering around if it is an outside dog.
You may also want to get tags and a collar. Include your address, phone number etc in the tag so that even if it runs away or gets lost, people who find it would notify you.
Like any pets, they need your time for physical, mental and emotional health. So, you really should spend time; at least once every day playing with them.
Exercising, grooming and training are essential to have healthy dogs.
If you lack the time, they will be disobedient and aggressive.
Training them to obey commands takes a lot of understanding and patience.
Repetition is the key in training pets including dogs so you need to be consistent with your commands.
This may require a lot of your time and effort depending on the dog breed. You see; some dogs are lot smarter than others.
There are some health risks with having a dog. Toxocariasis and hookworms, e. coli and salmonella are some of the pathogens that are found in their feces and can be transferred to humans. They also get tapeworms and heart-worms as well as other parasites like fleas, mites and ticks.
Another main concern while keeping them is the parvo virus. Parvo is highly contagious and is deadly for them however humans cannot get it.
This virus is mainly transferred through the direct or indirect contact of the feces of infected dogs.
This can be transferred through dog’s hair, paws, shoes, tools or anything else that comes in contact with the infected feces.
The only way to prevent this infection is vaccination.
Being a dog owner means being responsible.
Taking care of the pet, feeding them nutritional food, grooming, regular visits to a vet for shots and checkups is your obligation as an owner.
Neutering and spaying them if you are not planning to breed them, providing them with identification like electronic implants or tagged collar, cleaning up after your dog are some of the major responsibilities you would face.
And then if you are constantly traveling or working, can you give enough time to your canine friend?
Dogs are exceptional as pets but are you up to the challenge of having dogs as pets?