Jamaica Gleaner - - WELL - LIFE­STYLE WRITER krysta.an­der­son@glean­erjm.com

IT HAS been said that, “No one on earth will love you more, be more pa­tient with your moods or keep your se­crets bet­ter than your dog.” And since dog is a man’s best friend, Out­look de­cided to ex­am­ine all things ca­nine in our new fea­ture: In the Dog­house. This week, we high­light ev­ery­thing you need to know if you’re think­ing of be­com­ing a doggy par­ent. Ac­cord­ing to as­so­ciate vet­eri­nar­ian at Noah’s Ark, Melisa Thomp­son, you first need to con­sider your life­style and if you are able to man­age a dog. “Smaller dogs, and to a lesser ex­tent big­ger dogs, re­quire walk­ing, all dogs need to be vac­ci­nated, so based on your fi­nances, you need to fig­ure out if you can af­ford hav­ing a dog,” she ex­plained to Out­look. An­other fac­tor to con­sider as an as­pir­ing first­time dog owner is the type of house­hold you have and are able to pro­vide for your pet. She notes that the size of your home might be the de­cid­ing fac­tor in the size of dog you get.

“A small home has no space, so those with a small home tend to drift to­wards hav­ing a toy dog or a small dog. With that in mind, you have to en­sure that the house is pet­friendly for your ca­nine. The big­ger house with more yard space tends to at­tract larger dogs. In rare cases, I’ve seen the re­verse, big dogs in small homes and vice versa,” Thomp­son noted. Ac­cord­ing to Thomp­son, the bot­tom line is per­sonal pref­er­ence – af­ter all, they will be­come fam­ily, so the species, breed or size is de­pen­dent on the in­di­vid­ual or the fam­ily type – some pre­fer big dogs, oth­ers pre­fer small dogs, so it’s re­ally all up to you, Thomp­son said. As it re­lates to food and health care, she notes that larger dogs re­quire more at­ten­tion than smaller dogs, so po­ten­tial dog own­ers should con­sider their bud­gets be­fore mak­ing this big step. “Health costs for smaller dogs are more than those for larger dogs be­cause the doses of med­i­ca­tion are smaller. The con­sump­tion level is also lower than a big­ger dog.”

She con­tin­ues, “Depend­ing on the species or breed of the dog, they are prone to dif­fer­ent dis­eases. Large dogs such as Ger­man shep­herds and Rot­tweil­ers are prone to par­vovirus, a dis­ease caused by gas­troen­teri­tis.” Thomp­son con­cluded on a lighter note that dogs, large or small, make the home a hap­pier with their warm and ex­cit­ing per­son­al­i­ties. And chil­dren tend to grav­i­tate to­wards dogs, cre­at­ing a bond that lasts a life­time. So, take a chance and in­vite a dog of your choice into your life. Who knows? You may very well end up hav­ing a ‘paw­some’ time!

Krysta An­der­son

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