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Owning a dog is a big commitment - do you think you’re ready?

3rd December 2020

We were delighted to partner with our friends at Allianz to create this useful guide to help you make the right decisions for you and your potential new best friend.

1. Preparation Is Key

So, you’ve decided take the plunge and bring a wet nose, waggy-tailed dog into your life. Before you get your new best friend you first need to ask yourself “Do I have what it takes to be a responsible dog owner?” You need to carefully consider whether you’ll be able to meet all of your dog’s needs throughout their lifetime.

The ISPCA encourages anyone thinking of getting a pet to always consider adopting one first.  The ISPCA has so many animals looking for loving new homes here. Rescue organisations always have lots of dogs of all shapes and sizes, breeds and ages in need of a loving home. Remember to always do your homework if you do decide to purchase a dog or puppy so that you avoid any pitfalls.  

Even if you are an experienced dog owner or first time owner the below questions need to be asked:

If you’ve answered yes to all of those questions, it could be the right time for you to become a dog owner. Skip down to find out how much owning a dog will cost.

If you’ve answered no to one or more of these questions now might not be the best time for you to own a dog. You’ll need make some changes that will turn your answers from no’s to yes’s. You are showing you will be a responsible owner by waiting.

If you would like to get hands on experience of what life would be like with a furry friend, why not pet sit for a friend or volunteer at one of our centres. You’ll learn lots about how to care for a dog and get to meet many different types of dogs all looking for a new and loving home.

Get in touch about becoming an ISPCA volunteer by emailing volunteer.nac@ispca.ie or sign up online here

You can also check out the ISPCA’s list of member societies here, who are often looking for volunteers and have rescue dogs and puppies looking for new loving homes.                                                                     

How Much Does Owning a Dog Cost?

It can cost as much as €2,500 per year to responsibly care for your dog.

Some costs vary depending on the size and breed of your pooch.

The next step is to carefully consider which dog will suit you best.

2. Which Dog Suits You Best?

All dogs have their own unique personalities and some breeds are well known for certain characteristics. Like a child, a dog or puppy’s temperament is down to their genetic makeup, their early life experience, they are a product of their environment. You need to take into account your lifestyle and what breed of dog would fit in with it. Almost like a missing puzzle piece!

Did you know? All dogs are capable of becoming overweight but Labradors are particularly prone to it. Just like all mammals obesity is linked to major health issues and premature death. Labs need vigorous exercise daily and the correct food portions. When you understand the health risks and decide upon the breed that will best suit your lifestyle the next step is to decide on where to get your dog!

3. Where To Get Your Dog?

You should first look at your closest ISPCA rescue centres or other reputable animal welfare organisations. Adoption should be your first option as there are always different breeds of dogs and lots of puppies in need of a loving home.

Please do make sure to give yourself plenty of time to find the right dog for you, your family and your lifestyle. 

The ISPCA and the Irish Pet Advertising Advisory Group (IPAAG) are working with all key stakeholders, as not all adverts are compliant with Animal Welfare legislation.  Puppies may have come from a puppy farm or large scale commercial dog breeder where welfare standards may not be met. All adverts for dogs (or any pet animal) must comply with the Animal Health and Welfare (Sale or Supply of Pet Animals) Regulations 2019 and all adverts must contain the following information:

  • The registration number of the advertiser (if applicable)
  • The age and country of origin of the animal
  • For dogs, the microchip number
  • If the dog is being advertised by a rescue organisation they must include their Registered Charity Number (RCN) issued by the Charities Regulator

If any of the above information is not provided please report the advert to the online platform.

4. Meeting Your Puppy 

Have you:

  • Visited the puppy’s home? Never meet anywhere that is not the puppy’s home.
  • Met the Mother dog and seen her interact with her pups and checked that they’re happy and healthy? If the Mom seems overly anxious, nervous or ill at ease, all might not be as it seems.
  • Ensured the puppy looks healthy - clean ears, eyes and coat?
  • Asked lots of questions and enquire about the mother’s health history?

If you are concerned about a breeder, an online advert or if you bought a puppy online that has fallen ill soon after purchase or that has behavioural issues, you can report them to the ISPCA if there are signs of obvious neglect or cruelty.

5. Caring For Your Dog

Bringing your new friend home is an exciting time. Be sure to read up on how to provide the best care that you can. See our infographic below for some tips on caring for your dog. 

6. Insuring Your Dog

As you know by now, owning a dog can be expensive between food, treats, grooming, etc. Vet bills can also drive up the cost of owning a pet. Pet owners spend on average, between €100 - €249 on typical vet bills and €2,600 on their most expensive vet bills.

Procedures are much more expensive than the average vet bill, and are often unanticipated:

  • Pacemaker Insertion: €4,300
  • Cataract Surgery: €1300 - €1500 per eye
  • Spinal Surgery: €1600 - €3,000
  • Hip replacement: €3,000 to €4,000 per hip
  • Cruciate surgery: €1,500 - €2,300 per leg
  • MRI Scans: €1500.00 - €2,200 per scan depending on how many parts of the body are scanned
  • CT scans: €600 - €900 per scan depending on how many parts of the body are scanned
  • Radiotherapy for brain tumours (done in UK as there is no facility in ROI): €5,000 - €6,000

Chronic medical cases also cost a lot per year such as skin allergies, diabetes, arthritis, and kidney disease. These require regular prescription medicines throughout the year and frequent vet visits for check-ups, blood tests, IV drips, X-rays etc.

Some dog owners may see insurance as an additional expense and choose not to get pet insurance. However, by not having pet insurance, you are leaving yourself open to hugely expensive and unexpected veterinary bills.

With pet insurance from Allianz, pet owners can have some peace of mind knowing that if their pet becomes ill or injured, they will be there to assist. You can find out more about Allianz pet insurance here.

Getting a dog is the start of a beautiful and long friendship. There’s no friendship like the one between you and your dog.

Don’t forget, if you need any information on how to care for your dog, give us a call or speak to your local vet or animal behaviourist.

7. Ways you can support the ISPCA

Did you know that most of the ISPCA’s income comes from kind donations and gifts in wills. It is only through the generosity of their supporters that they're able to continue their vital work, helping Ireland’s most vulnerable animals. There are many ways you can help the ISPCA.

To find out more about our vital work caring for Ireland's most cruelly treated, neglected and abused animals, you can email us at info@ispca.ie or call us on 043 33 25035.  

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