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Should We Get a Big Dog?

Getting a new dog is a very important life event, one that can be full of different emotions: excitement, wonder, and maybe even a little fear. Transitioning a furry friend into a home is a process of adjustment, but don’t let that scare you away!

Dogs come in all different shapes and sizes, personalities and temperaments. Large dogs bring a lot of fun and energy to your life. Research ought to be done no matter what breed you choose, but if your preference is for large dog breeds, make sure it is a good fit for you before you take the plunge.

Here are five tips to help you in deciding if adopting a big dog is the right choice for you.

1. Questions to Answer

As previously mentioned, anyone considering adopting a new dog should be digging into the books (or online resources). Get a good look into the breed you are considering and see what owners of that breed have to say about them. Do they shed a lot? How much exercise do they need? What potential health problems is that breed likely to develop? Nutritional requirements and are they expensive to feed? All these are questions that are worth considering and spending some time researching and considering.

2. Where Do You Live?

Many times there may be some restrictions related to housing and large dogs. Sometimes they are breed-specific, while some places go by weight. Usually this is limited to apartments or similar types of housing, but depending on your region certain breeds may be banned (i.e. pitbulls). If you are allowed to have a large dog, consider what kind of space they will have access to. Homes with a large fenced-in yard could be great for a large breed, but if you don’t have access to that, you may want to look into a local dog park or places to go on a hike and get outside.

3. Consider Dog Training

Regardless of the breed, all dogs should be given access to training. In addition to ensuring that everyone gets along well without a hiccup, it’s a great way to stimulate a dog’s brain and keep them engaged. If you are adopting an older dog, it’s important to continue enriching them through training. It will also give you more confidence when your pooch is interacting with another dog, children or adults.

4. Find a Good Vet (or two!)

If you live in a metropolitan area, you are likely surrounded by long list of veterinary offices which operate on different pricing and provide different services. Know the map and write down a couple different vets that could be your routine provider and also find the nearest 24-hour emergency vet in case you were to need one.

5. Research Food and Nutrition

Large breeds have different needs than small breeds, and there can be a lot of variability even within big dogs. Large working breeds may have different caloric intake needs and different nutritional needs than relatively smaller breeds. Some large dogs are prone to joint problems, so supplements may be helpful. Does your new dog have any issues that are food related? Will they need to be on a special diet such as grain-free or raw?

In the end, large dogs can be so much fun to have as a part of any family. They bring their own personality and charm, but do your research to make sure they are a good fit for where you are at in your life.

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