We’ve put this guide together to identify what might be some of the biggest or most common problems dog owners might face.
It could be very useful to those who are thinking about getting a dog, but want to weigh up the potential problems that might come with it, and whether they are willing to take on that responsibility.
(NOTE: this is a general information guide only, and is not professional advice, or a substitute for professional advice. A qualified vet or animal expert is the only person qualified to give you expert advice in regards to your pet/s)
Biggest Or Most Common Problems A Dog Owner Might Face
As an introduction, a dog’s rough life stages might be divided into the following (although it can differ depending on the breed and the individual dog):
- Puppy (0 to 4 months)
- Adolescent (4 months to 18 months)
- Adult (18 months onwards)
- Senior (when the breed starts reaching the end of it’s predicted lifespan, and/or starts experiencing age related health issues)
There’s some problems that might be common to a particular stage, whilst there’s other problems that might general problems relevant to the dog’s entire lifespan.
We’ve listed the problems under the different headings below.
It helps simply being aware of them in the first place, but you may also choose to read up and do some extra research of your own so you can be prepared in the event that any of the problems might happen.
Most problems are completely preventable or fixable with responsible dog ownership.
Some problems such as genetic behavioral defects just as one example, may need to be assessed by a vet or animal behavioral expert who can determine the best course of action to take.
(*Note that some of the listed points aren’t necessarily problems, but rather things that may frustrate or annoy some owners if they haven’t fully considered the real responsibilities of adequately caring for a dog)
During the puppy stage, some problems that might arise might be:
- Toilet mishaps whilst the puppy is being toilet trained
- The puppy may try to tear up and bite items around the house (shoes, electrical cords, clothes, and so on) whilst they are exploring and learning proper non-destructive behaviors
- Crying, and/or barking whilst the puppy is getting used to it’s new surrounding and getting used to sleeping alone in it’s bed
- There will be a time investment for puppy school
- A puppy who doesn’t have a fully developed immune system yet or has some type of other health condition may get sick and require to be taken to the vet (where there will be a time and financial cost)
- You may find out that the breeder has knowingly or unknowingly sold you a puppy with pre-existing health issues, in which case you will have to address the issue/s with the breeder
During the adolescent stage, some problems that might arise might be:
- There will be a time investment to take your dog to basic obedience
- You will settle into the routine required and responsibility required for socializing with, feeding, filling up water, exercising, and letting your dog out to go potty
During the adult stage, some problems that might arise might be:
- You will have to positively and responsibly reinforce some obedience behaviors if your dog starts behaving in a disobedient or troublesome (constantly pulling on the leash whilst walking, being too physical with visitors or friends that come around the house, and so on)
- A dog may start displaying undesirable traits related to their breed such as guardian/territorial behaviors that could be intimidating or dangerous for friends, one-off visitors, and strangers
During the senior stage, some problems that might arise might be:
- Age and health related conditions that may limit mobility, cause discomfort or pain to the dog (such as arthritis), or incur additional vet costs.
- Saying goodbye to a dog if they naturally reach the end of their life, or, if a condition or illness forces them to be euthanized.
General Problems To Consider
Some general problems that may come up during a dog’s life might be:
- Ongoing or one off financial costs for things such as puppy vaccinations, microchipping, registration, desexing, vet check ups, vet emergencies, dog food, flea treatment products, health insurance, puppy school, obedience, extra dog training, grooming, and so on
- Wanting to make proper and responsible decisions on the type of dog food the dog receives – this can take a lot of time and research
- Annoying or destructive behavioral issues like barking, whining, scratching, destroying property, digging, and so on
- Hazardous behavioral issues like snarling, biting, and being aggressive towards humans and other dogs (it could be an irregular or situational thing, or it could be ongoing)
- Breed related health and genetic issues
- Some friends and family may be scared of your dog because of a phobia, or something else
- It can sometimes be hard to plan going away and holidays around having a dog (it helps if you have friends or family who can take care of them while you are away)
- Life circumstances such as having to move rental properties, or having to move geographic locations for work making it very difficult or impossible to continue caring for a dog (which you should definitely plan ahead for as a dog should be a forever commitment, and not given up for re-homing without a very good reason)
- Starting a family and having children, and these circumstances changing whether you can have a dog around the house (again – this should be considered beforehand)
- Shedding/dropping hair, and having to constantly vacuum and clean up hair on the floor, on furniture, in the car and so on
- Doggy smells, especially when some dog’s get wet
- A dog may run away, or simply get out of your yard and get lost – which can be a harrowing experience to find them sometimes
- Feeling guilty about leaving a dog alone for 4 hours or longer at home, or for not exercising a dog a particular day or for a few days if the owner is genuinely busy or having to honour work commitment (these are considerations that really need to be made before getting a dog)
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