The Young Professionals' Guide On How to Look After A Dog

More young professionals are seeking companionship from a loyal lap dog or a low-energy breed that enjoys lounging indoors and doesn’t require extensive exercise.

If you’re a young professional who works from home most of the time and is serious about meeting the responsibilities of looking after a dog, then a dog may be a good addition to your life.

Owning a dog comes with a multitude of benefits:

  • • Beyond being some of the most loyal companions, it has been clinically proven that dogs can improve mental and physical wellbeing in profound ways. Some are even used in therapy and as personal support pets.
  • • If you care for your dog correctly they will show you unconditional love and affection. They can alleviate feelings of loneliness and stress, and promote overall emotional resilience and positive mental health.
  • • Regular exercise, which comes naturally with dog ownership through daily walks and playtime, not only benefits the physical health of your dog but also of you the owner. Exercise is also known to boost mood and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
  • • Moreover, the responsibility of caring for a dog instils a sense of purpose and routine - particularly beneficial for young professionals navigating the demands of a career.
  • • Dogs have a unique ability to foster social connections, whether through interactions with other dog owners at the park or through participation in dog-related activities and events. This social aspect enriches the lives of dog owners and strengthens community bonds.

Here is some advice on picking the right companion and how to care for them:

  • • Choose your breed carefully. Breed plays a significant role in ensuring a harmonious relationship between you and your dog. While energetic breeds might not be the best fit, there are plenty of low-energy breeds that thrive in relaxed home environments.
  • • Dogs thrive on routine, which may also help with your busy working hours. Not only does it provide a sense of stability and predictability for your dog, but it also helps you manage your time more efficiently. Set aside dedicated time slots for feeding, walks, playtime and grooming, ensuring that your dog's needs are consistently met amid your busy schedule.
  • • While you’re sitting at your desk, ensure your dog has mental stimulation to stop them from getting bored and behaving badly. Puzzle toys and interactive activities are a great way for them to use their minds and energy.
  • • Even if you’ve picked a breed that needs minimal exercise, it’s still beneficial for all dogs to get out for a walk daily - this is also good for you.
  • • Feed your dog a balanced diet, this will vary depending on their size, age and activity level. Avoid giving them bits from your plate and instead offer them nutritious dog food and minimum treats. If you’re unsure what to feed your dog, consult your veterinarian.
  • • It's essential for your dog to maintain regular check-ups with the vet. In addition to vaccinations and parasite control, discuss with your vet preventive measures such as dental care and nutrition.
  • Grooming is important to ensure your dog’s overall health and wellbeing. Regularly brush your dog's coat (this is especially important for long-haired breeds). Avoid worms, fleas and ticks with regular preventive treatment. Bathe when necessary, and take care of their teeth to avoid dental issues.
  • • While you may have a busy work schedule, it's crucial to prioritise socialisation for your dog at an early age to prevent potential behavioural issues in the future.
  • • Invest time in training your dog to obey basic commands such as ‘sit’ and ‘stay’. Positive reinforcement techniques, such as treats and praise, work well for training and building a strong bond with your pet.
  • • Make time for quality time with your dog - this can be cuddling on the sofa, playing fetch in the garden or going on a hike. Forming a close bond with your dog where they can trust you is very important.
  • • Invest in pet insurance and keep your vet's number on your phone, this will help in emergencies if your dog is injured or ill.  
  • • If your work schedule becomes particularly demanding, consider hiring a dog walker. These professionals can provide your dog with the attention and exercise they need, alleviating any guilt or worry you may feel about leaving them alone during long workdays.

What to do if you’re going away

Never leave your dog on their own without a responsible person to care for them.

If you’re going on holiday or for the weekend, it’s important to make sure your dog is well-cared-for when you’re away. Arrange (well in advance if you can) for a family member or trusted friend to look after them. If this isn’t possible, you could use a pet sitter or take them to a boarding establishment. Tell them about your dog’s needs and any special requirements they may have.

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