Getting a dog for the first time is one of the most exciting pursuits in life, but many owners
jump in with both feet, neglecting to look at the bigger picture while they’re at it. Here are
some common mistakes to avoid.

Mistake #1: Getting the wrong breed
Dogs come in all shapes and sizes and while one breed might thrive in your home, another
might be an ill fit entirely. Speaking in general terms, larger breeds tend to live shorter lives
but require a great deal more exercise and food. Because of their size, space is also a
consideration. Having a Rottweiler cooped up in a small home is a recipe for disaster,
whereas a Chihuahua might put up with those conditions without a problem. Assess your
home properly and carefully and do your research before you part with your money. 

Mistake #2: Overestimating how much time you’ve got to spend on a dog
Make no mistake: dogs require a lot of attention. They’re far more demanding than cats, and
a lot more like human babies in many ways. Almost all breeds benefit from human contact,
but breeds like Huskies, Border Collies, Pugs, Jack Russels, Dalmatians and Labradors
require a lot. If you’re at work all day and only able to spend a minimal amount of time with
your animal, investigate whether you can bring the dog to work, or re-assess whether you’re
ready to take the plunge at all. 

Mistake #3: Failing to put a routine in place
Dogs like nothing more than knowing what their day is going to look like. They like to know
when they’re going to eat, where they’re going to sleep, and when they’re going to get
exercise. Owners who chop and change the routine and fail to get the basics right wind up
with unhappy dogs – and wonder why. 

Mistake #4: Skimping on exercise
A happy dog is a dog that’s spending time outdoors running, sniffing and playing. It’s
absolutely crucial. If you don’t have time to exercise a dog regularly, consider breeds like the
Bull Mastiff or Chow Chow, who are more idle than most. That said, all dogs require walking
at some point in the week – and many require it daily. 

Mistake #5: Budgeting incorrectly
Dog ownership can be expensive and many first-time parents underestimate the costs
they’re going to incur. Outside of the actual purchase of the animal, food, bedding and time
are all factors to consider. Before taking the plunge, draw up a comprehensive budget and
then times it by 1.5. If the bottom line week on week, month on month is still feasible, you’re
in a good place.  

Mistake #6: Skipping the vet
There’s one other cost you should keep in mind: the vet. While a lot of people will wait until
their dog is sick to make the trip, your goal should be to screen and prevent potential
illnesses before they occur. 

Mistake #7: Neglecting your dog’s teeth
Halitosis is the condition that causes bad breath and it’s particularly common in dogs. But
just because it’s common doesn’t mean it’s right. Make sure you buy doggy dental equipment you can use on your pup at home. While teeth brushing can feel like a chore, it’s a necessary chore at that.

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