The Benefits of Owning a Dog: A Guide for First-Time Dog Owners

Getting a Dog: Things to Consider

Having a dog is one of life’s greatest gifts. To love a dog and get unlimited love in return is something to cherish. If you’ve never owned a dog before and you’re considering it, owning a dog has many benefits.

Here at Forever Puppy, it’s our mission to help all dogs get loving forever homes. If you’ve decided to get a dog, know that it’s a big commitment. However, it will change your life in ways you might never expect.

Dog with family

The Benefits of Owning a Dog

If you’ve ever owned a dog, you’ll have an idea of what’s involved. But like anything in life, one person’s experience can be very different. Dogs are individuals and each breed has its quirks. Here are just a few benefits of owning a dog:


Coming home to someone who is always happy to see you is hard to beat. Owning a dog can reduce feelings of anxiety and loneliness. They are a constant companion for all of life’s ups and downs.

Having a dog can also help you foster better social connections. Nowadays there are so many dog-friendly cafes and restaurants. There are also dog events, days out and so much more. There’s no reason you and your dog can get out and meet new people regularly!

Improved Mental and Physical Health

Pets help boost our mental health! A 2022 survey found that “around 87% of dog owners stated that owning a pet made them mentally healthier.” 

Having a dog also helps to increase physical activity levels. One study found that “pet ownership has been found to have a positive influence on owners’ physical activity, with pet owners showing a higher frequency of physical activity than non-owners…pet owners may have higher levels of social support, life satisfaction, happiness, mood, and self-regulation and lower levels of loneliness than non-owners.”

New Routines

When you get a dog, your routines will change. A lot of what you do will have to factor in your dog (s) and their needs. You’ll form new habits and change things to account for what you’re able to do with your dog.

Things like walks before and after work will become your new routine, and weekend adventures are all part of the package!
walking dog couple

So in summary, dogs can help:

  • Reduce stress 

  • Encourage you to move

  • Improve your health

  • Form new relationships

  • Make you more mindful

  • Spend more time outdoors 

The Responsibilities of Dog Ownership

We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention responsibilities. Dog ownership isn’t all an adventure. It can be challenging, and there are things you’ll need to work on. 

When I first got my puppy, I freaked out. He was my first dog and although I’d done loads of research and tried to get ready, nothing quite prepared me for the reality. A collie probably isn’t the best choice for a first-time owner. Don’t get me wrong, I’d had dogs as a child, but getting your own is different.

It was a challenge. And when people mentioned puppy blues, I didn’t realise they were a thing. But we figured it out. We got into a routine and week by week we got things dialled. It was great to be able to go through milestones and work on training, but I’d recommend preparing and thinking hard about what kind of dog you’re getting. It takes a lot of time and commitment. That said, I wouldn’t be without him,” said Lauren, one of the Forever Puppy Team.

Considerations when picking your puppy

Aside from the commitment to caring for your dog, there are other things you’ll need to consider.

Financial Commitment

Like most things in life, owning a dog costs money. You need to make sure you can pay for food, pet insurance, toys, accessories vet fees, daycare/dog walking and training. You might not choose to cover all of those, but there will be times when you need to pay out for things. 

Making sure you have enough money to care for a dog is an important aspect of owning one. 

Time Commitment

Dogs need time, care and attention. From training to daily walks, you need to make sure you have enough time to give your dog what it needs. Even if that means getting a dog walker or bringing your dog to daycare, it’s important to consider if you have the time for a dog.

Of course, some dogs need more time than others. Breed, age and temperament will factor into how much time and attention a dog will need. You need to consider exercise, grooming and training needs and where you’ll include this in your routine. 

Lifestyle Changes

Getting a dog means you’ll have to make certain changes. You’ll also need to consider things like your ability to rent, how long you can be out of the house, what to do if you go on holiday etc. 

You also have a legal obligation to provide the right care. Under Section 9 of the 2006 Animal Welfare Act, owners must make sure that their animal:

  • Lives in a suitable environment

  • Gets fed a suitable diet

  • Can display normal behaviour patterns

  • Can be housed with, or apart, from other animals

  • Must be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease

Dog sleepinh woman working on laptop

What Dog Should I Get? Choosing the Right Breed:

One of the hardest things about getting a dog is choosing the right breed for your lifestyle! Here’s where research comes in. If you like a particular breed, dive in and find out all you can. Join Facebook groups, talk to breeders, look on forums and make sure you check out the Kennel Club’s A-Z Breed Guide!

Here are a few things you’ll want to consider:

  • Age - are you going to get a puppy or an older dog?

  • Health - Do they have any common health concerns to look out for?

  • Gender - Would you prefer a male or female dog?

  • Size - Do you want a small, medium or large breed?

  • Grooming - What kind of grooming needs do they have?

  • Space - Do you have enough space at home and locally for the dog?

  • Exercise - What level of exercise are they likely to need?

  • Family - Are they a good family dog?

  • Temperament - What are the characteristics of the breed you’re interested in?

  • Your Reasons - Why do you want a dog in the first place?

  • Your Hobbies - Will the breed be suited to doing these with you (e.g. long hikes)

dog and child sleeping

We have plenty of guides that should help you decide which dog to choose. Here are a few suggestions:

Think you’re ready to own a dog? If you’ve weighed up the pros and cons and have the time to dedicate to the newest member of your family, then don’t look back!

Owning a dog is one of the most wonderful things you can do. Ready to find your new dog?

Find your perfect match on Forever Puppy.
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