I have never had the opportunity to be a dog parent, and that’s simply because I have always lived in small spaces, which I think are unfit for keeping a dog. Besides, my busy schedule wouldn’t allow me to give a dog the attention that he or she would need, and I’ve always put the pet’s well-being before my desire to have a dog.
In this post, I’ll discuss some of the aspects that I would mull over if I were to get a dog. I am a cat parent, but to be honest, I love all pets. I wouldn’t have studied veterinary medicine if I didn’t. There’s nothing like the human-animal bond.
Cats are different, they’re independent and they have their own thing, meaning that they don’t require a lot of attention all the time. They do get bored and can even suffer from depression if you don’t interact with them enough, but they aren’t as high-maintenance as dogs. That makes them a good type of pet for someone who has a hectic schedule and who lives in a small space.
So, what kind of dog would I get?
As a vet, the type of dog that I would first consider would be a mixed breed. A mutt would be my first option because they are less prone to becoming victims of hyperthyroidism, heart disease, as well as a variety of genetic health conditions.
Over time, both veterinarians and pet parents have noticed that mixed breeds tend to live longer and be healthier compared to purebreds, but there are some combinations of breeds that can expose them to certain genetic conditions. If you have any concerns in this sense, you can have your dog genetically tested – which I would definitely do.
I would also get a dog from an animal shelter if my living conditions allowed me to. Rescue adoption has grown in popularity over the years and I am honestly happy to know that. You wouldn’t believe the number of animals that get euthanized every year simply because they do not have an owner. While it is true that today the majority of shelters across North America perform euthanasia by injection, the history of this practice is by no means something everyone would like to know.
If I were to get a specific dog breed, I would honestly pick one that has a minimal chance of developing possibly complicated health conditions over time. This would mean that I would choose from the following breeds:
- Australian Shepherd
- Australian Cattle Dog
- Border Collie
- German Pinscher
- English Springer Spaniel
Most of these breeds can live up to 13 years of age. Best of all, DNA testing has revealed that there are few genetic conditions that they are exposed to throughout their lives. The English Springer Spaniel can suffer from minor eye problems, but it’s not likely to develop any serious genetic disease.
Most of these dogs are energetic and agile and they require a lot of exercise. That’s what makes it almost impossible for me at this time to give them what they need.
What type of dog I wouldn’t get
I don’t really like to say that there’s a specific breed that I wouldn’t get as I truly think that every dog should be given a chance to a healthy and happy life. However, the truth is that some dog breeds are more likely to develop heaps of health problems compared to others. Here are some of those breeds:
Pit Bulls are very stable and sweet, but they have received a lot of negative press over time, which means that people are a lot wearier when it comes to adopting them. There are too many Pit Bulls in shelters at this time, which also means that there are too many of them getting euthanized. Like all other purebreds, these dogs have genetic health problems that range from hip dysplasia and hypothyroidism to heart disease and cataracts.
German Shepherds have been very popular in the past, and for a good reason, too. This breed is often considered one of the smartest ones out there, and that’s not an exaggeration. Many German Shepherds are used for police and military work, but they are also amazing service dogs for people who can’t see or for seniors. The problem is that selective breeding led to the transmission of a plethora of genetic diseases. Nowadays, German Shepherds are among the breeds that are most exposed to hip problems, epilepsy, vision problems, digestive problems, and even bleeding disorders. Unfortunately, this is all the result of incorrect breeding.
Many Bulldogs need to go through surgery to have their soft palate shortened, and their nostrils enlarged. Not many Bulldogs can breathe normally, and as cute as they might be, I’m hoping to see Bulldog breeding decrease in the future. At this point, it’s not making things better as it exposes more and more dogs to these problems.
Golden Retrievers also have a variety of genetic diseases, and they range from hip dysplasia to cancer, Von Willebrand’s Disease, cataracts, and anything else you might not have even thought of. As endearing as they might be and as great as they are for families with children, Golden Retrievers have a lot of health problems, and they are more likely to die from lymphoma, bone cancer, and blood cancer than any other dog breed.
How to pick the right type of dog
I’d like to leave you with some pieces of advice on how you can get the perfect dog for yourself and your family.
Consider your schedule. If you live alone or your roommate is simply unwilling to take your dog out for walks or play with him/her, don’t get an energetic dog that needs to run all day long. Just imagine keeping a Greyhound, a dog that’s made for running, in a one-bedroom apartment. If you spend a lot of time at work, don’t get one of these dog breeds.
Consider the dog’s size. While small dogs are more delicate, so they can suffer injuries if they are mishandled or stepped on, they are also more sensitive to colder temperatures. Most little dogs require obedience training as they adopt behaviors that are characteristic to dominant dogs to compensate for their size. Very large breeds need a lot of space to be happy.
What about the expenses? Are you prepared to invest in a dog? You will have to pay for pet food, dog supplies, as well as medical treatments, but you will most likely have to get pet insurance, as well. If you don’t, you might want to know that some medical procedures can make you go into debt — yes, they are that expensive.
Do a little research beforehand. As you might have noticed, in this article I have merely mentioned several health problems that some breeds can develop. But there are many more for each breed. If you’re looking to buy or adopt a particular breed, be sure to read about its needs and potential health problems before doing so.
Whatever type of dog you choose, in the end, you need to know that you are capable of handling the responsibility of being a pet parent. All pets deserve to live in a safe and loving home and should have their requirements met as best as possible. This is the only way they can be happy and healthy.