Although owning a dog can be a very rewarding and enjoyable experience, unfortunately not all dogs have the happy life they deserve. If you are considering buying a dog, then you should seriously think about the time and responsibility involved, and the dog’s needs.
The RSPCA state that a dog has five welfare needs that should be met. These are:
Environment: Your dog should have a suitable warm place to sleep, regular opportunities to go out for exercise, or to go to the toilet, a space to hide if it gets scared, and supervision during play and exploration.
Diet: Make sure you know about all your dog’s dietary needs, feed them the correct food, avoid harmful and poisonous foods, and ensure water is available at all times.
Behaviour: Train a dog well, and you will be rewarded with good behaviour. Remember though, that a dog’s behaviour will vary according to age and breed, or even boredom.
Company: Socialising your dog is an important part of its development. If they are introduced to other people/dogs early on, they will learn to accept and not fear them, they’ll also have plenty of people ready to play with them!
Health and Welfare: This is all about doing what you can to prevent pain, injury and disease. You should look out for any changes in your dog’s behaviour, and other signs of distress. Make sure you deal with any signs of stress, and visit the vet as soon as possible if your dog is unwell. You should also be aware of things that may harm you dog, such as twigs or certain types of plants.
For more information about dog welfare, you could look up the animal welfare act, seek advice from a vet, or seek further information from the RSPCA, or Dogs Trust.