Weight–Anywhere from 2 to 200+ lbs. depending on the breed. Chihuahuas are the smallest breed, while mastiffs are the biggest.
Height–From 6 to 36 inches at the shoulders.
Life Span–The average life span of a dog is 8-12 years, although some breeds may live as few as 5 years (example–great danes) to as long as 20 (chihuahuas). These are simply the averages; the actual life span of a dog depends on genetics, health, and breed.
Pros–Dogs tend to be playful, clean, affectionate, silly, loyal, sweet, smart, trainable, fun, adventurous, and versatile companions. Only one phrase can fully describe how great of a pet a dog can be: dogs are man’s (or women’s) best friend.
Cons–Dogs can be smelly, need a lot of care, can destroy things if you leave them alone or if they’re puppies, they can be expensive, loud, and need a lot of time and training.
Care Level–8/10–Dogs need a lot of daily care. Every day, you have to feed them, let them out to go to the bathroom, clean their dishes, give them water, play with them, train them, and walk them. When they’re puppies, they need even more care. But the benefits and joy that come out of dog ownership far outweigh the slight inconveniences. A dog will be a loyal and true friend to you, so they’re worth the extra care.
Start Up Cost–Dogs can cost anywhere from $300 to thousands to start up with. The source you obtain a dog from will greatly influence the price. Dogs from shelters may be under $50, while purebreds can be a thousand dollars or more.
Cost Per Year–Around $500. The cost per year also varies greatly. A large breed will require more food and bigger accessories. If your dog has an emergency, this will add to this cost.
Training–Dogs can be trained as little or as much as you want. Some dogs don’t ever learn tricks, while others know over 100. At the very least, dogs should be leash trained, potty trained, and learn basic obedience.
Allergies–Being allergic to dogs is common. If you’re considering adding a dog to your family, remember to visit an animal shelter or similar place to see if anyone that will be living with the dog is allergic.
Exercise Needs–7/10 Dogs need a daily walk. This can range from a short journey around the block to a long jog, depending on the breed. Surprisingly, some smaller breeds of dogs like Jack Russells need more exercise than large breeds, such as great danes!
Space Requirements–Dogs can be happy living in an apartment as long as they have some space to explore and get adequate exercise. Keep in mind that some dogs, especially herding breeds, will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to be happy and healthy.
Supplies–If you have decided that a dog is right for you, here are the things you’ll need before bringing it home.
♥ Crate or dog bed (personally, I’ve found that crates work best for your dog. Dogs love a little space they can call their own. In the wild, they had dens. In a house, they have a crate.)
♥ Dog food and water dish (ceramic or metal work better than plastic. Plastic dishes are chewable, worse for the environment, and can get scratched [if they get scratched, bacteria can grow in the scratches]) These dishes should not be able to be tipped over. Dogs can and will spill their food and water, so be on the safe side and get a dish they can’t tip.
♥ Collar and leash (you should be able to fit two fingers between the collar and the dog’s neck. Adjustable collars are best for puppies. If you have a puppy, be sure to check the tightness of the collar often, because puppies grow very fast. Never use a metal choke chain on your puppy, and only use it on a grown dog for training. These collars can strangle your dog if it is left unattended.)
♥ Dog toys–dogs love tennis bass, rawhides, and chew toys. Make sure to watch your dog while it is playing with its toys. If they rip up a soft toy, they could choke on pieces. They could also choke on bones or other toys, so keep an especially close eye on your dog when you give it a new toy.
♥ A vet. You don’t actually have to go out and get a vet, but set up an appointment before or within a few days of getting your dog. the vet will do a physical exam on your dog and vaccinate it if needed.
♥ Dog food–make sure to get the kind it has been eating. If you suddenly change its diet, it could get diarrhea. If you want to change to to a new food, do so gradually over a week or so.
Dogs–Because dogs are pack animals, most enjoy the companionship of other dogs. If you have a small dog and a large dog, be sure they don’t play too rough because the larger one could hurt the small one.
Cats–When you think of a dog’s enemy, cats immediately come to mind. Dogs can get along with cats–especially if the cat is there before the dog. Obviously, a puppy will adapt more readily to the company of another species. Either way, most dogs will need to be trained to accept cats, or any other species of pet for that matter.
Birds and Small Mammals–While really small critters (such as canaries, mice, hamsters, and gerbils) should not ever interact with your dog, rabbits, guinea pigs, and ferrets can interact with your dog as long as you are closely supervising the pets. Keep your dog on a leash and have someone hold the small mammal. If your dog seems excited, get the small pet away from it quickly: one quite bite from a dog could harm your critter. Birds should not interact with dogs because they can peck the dogs and hurt them.
Notes–In most US states, it’s required that you get your dog a rabies vaccinating. If you get a dog, make sure it gets vaccinated if it isn’t.
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