Friday, February 3

Six questions you should ask yourself before adopting a dog


Each dog is unique, but the truth is that the breeds share some characteristics that make them behave and have similar needs. But do you know what they all have in common? That they are a source of affection, company and well-being, so much so that it has been shown that they improve our physical and mental health.

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The least we can do for them is to be aware that bringing a dog into our lives entails a lot of responsibility, which is why it is essential to ask ourselves the following question before adopting one: Am I going to be able to give him a good quality of life?

To find out if we are going to be capable or not, the veterinary team of the Animal Protection Center of Madrid Health with Sofia Ochoa as spokespersonanswer each of the questions that will help you choose a certain type of dog according to your profile and will solve doubts for those who do not know whether or not to adopt a new life partner.

What are my expectations?

“We are seeing a constant bombardment about how good, how beautiful and how wonderful it is to have a dog. Something like: ‘put a dog in your life and you will be much happier’ and this is not the case. If you don’t educate him well, or dedicate time and patience to him, you can end up living with a problem”, explains Ochoa.

The reason why many dogs end up in shelters like Madrid Salud is the lack of information prior to adoption: those people who thought that having a dog was all rosy, without any responsibility behind it, see their expectations frustrated. meeting a dog that runs away, fights with others in the street, barks at home and breaks things.

Is the size of my house and the animal really important?

In the event that the house is very small, for convenience it will be better to adopt a small dog, although in reality, “they must use the home to rest, eat, sleep and be with their family, the important thing is the level of tolerance of the owner to possible damage and behavior and not so much the size of the house”.

According to Ochoa, “once they adopted an animal in the morning and returned it in the afternoon because it was too big.” The bigger the dog, the greater the damage and the sooner it will eat the food that we leave on the counter, but everything will depend on how aware we are that adapting the new dog takes time and education.

Is my lifestyle compatible with your care?

“No matter what breed it is, a dog cannot spend the whole day alone at home. They are social beings and loneliness can even cause them anxiety attacks”, explains the team.

For traveling owners there are two options: make sure that it will be well cared for in your absence or take it with you. If it is small, they can travel in a carrier in almost any means of transport and there are many accommodations -even offices- that allow the entry of dogs.

If it is large, it will depend on the company’s standards. On the other hand, if you are traveling by car and you realize that your dog is not very amused, here you will find different tips so that he loses that fear.

Can I dedicate the necessary time?

If you have a lot of time on your hands, adopting a puppy is a wonderful idea. Of course, patience, tolerance and perseverance should be the key to generating a routine from day one, to educate him and maintain his hygienic care.

However, for those with less free time, adult dogs adapt perfectly to house changes, they are still learning and have already manifested their character, which allows them to know their needs with greater security.

A puppy or a large dog will need more walking time than an adult dog. In addition, “there are more active breeds such as the border collie or the setter, and others that are sofa breeds, although they all need to socialize to a greater or lesser extent,” explains the spokeswoman.

Am I prepared to face their possible traumas?

Hyperattachment, anxiety, fears, phobias or lack of socialization are just some of them. For example, dogs classified as PPP can develop hatred towards animals, since they are sometimes used as fighting dogs; For their part, mistreated dogs are very scared, so being careful with certain movements is essential.

In fact, according to a study made in 2021 by the University of Pennsylvania College of Veterinary Medicine and the Charleston Animal Society, In which they analyzed 23,932 animal records from a shelter in the USA, it was shown that behavior problems and incompatibility with companion animals that were already part of the family group are the reasons why more dogs are returned to shelters.

The toy and terrier breeds were the ones that returned the least, while the herding and pit bulls, the most.

And if I have children?

The Madrid Salud team has no doubts: “Dogs are for adults, their presence is beneficial for children, but always keeping in mind that the responsibility of acquiring a dog cannot fall on a child.”

There are other aspects to take into account such as the importance of not leaving a baby alone with a dog. In addition, the whole family must row in the same direction: “You cannot tell a dog not to get on the sofa and when another member of the family arrives, encourage him to get on, as this causes frustration and, perhaps, also aggressiveness problems”, explains Ochoa.

Do I have enough money to support it?

“At least 500 euros for contingencies,” says the spokeswoman. As there is no social security for dogs, keeping them healthy is a luxury that each one must assume with their own resources, taking into account aspects such as vaccinations or possible accidents.

For example, there are dogs that are more prone to suffering from diseases that will need treatment: brachycephalic dogs such as bulldogs or boxers often have respiratory problems, while large breed dogs such as Labrador Retrievers often develop osteoarthritis.

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