Owning any dog is, naturally, going to come with its own set of responsibilities. Every breed is somewhat different in terms of their needs, as well. However, if there are any types of dogs that you should take more care to ensure that you’re ready for, it’s the big ones. Big dogs can overpower humans, and they can also take up a lot of room and resources that many owners aren’t prepared for. As such, here are a few tips on how to ensure that you’re ready to take care of an oversized pooch.
Get ready for everything to cost more
With a big dog, you’re going to need bigger resources to help them meet all of their needs. This includes bigger beds, bigger crates (if you’re using them), bigger and hardier toys to deal with the fact that they bite with much more force. Then you have to consider larger doses of vaccines, pet medications, and more. Do your research into how much it costs to own a dog and expect to be on the higher end of the spectrum of those costs if you own a big dog.
They eat a lot more
Everyone wants their dog to be happy and healthy. However, in order to achieve that, you have to be ready to meet a lot of demands. With big dogs, people are often surprised how much they end up spending on food alongside all the other costs. A raw meat diet is often recommended for big dogs, but there are some trustworthy big dog foods. Don’t try to make it into any kind of guesswork, however. Talk to your vet about what foods they recommend and specific portion sizes that you should leave out for them.
They need more exercise and space
If you’re looking for an apartment dog, then you should not be looking at the bigger breeds out there. There are some people who can manage to live in a small space with a big dog but it’s not ideal. They need a lot of space to run around, to play, and to find spots to rest, even when they’re at home. Big dogs require a lot of exercise and you can get dog toys specifically for larger and more active breeds that can help you meet those needs. Of course, walking is where they’re going to get the bulk of their physical activity.
Walking is a challenge if you’re not ready
One lesson that most people are going to learn as their big dog grows is that the dog is stronger than them. As such, if you lose control of them when walking, it can be legitimately dangerous. Even if your dog isn’t aggressive, they can head out into the road or come into contact with dogs or people that are hostile. As such, a dog harness allows you to better control them without as much force and doesn’t have as much potential for harm as collars or chokers. Teaching them to heel on command is also essential, however, to make sure you’re not fighting them the entire way through your walk.
They all shed, they all need grooming
All big dogs shed. This is a truth that you’re going to find is nigh universal. As such, you had better ensure there isn’t anyone who is allergic to pet dander in the home. Furthermore, you’re going to want a dog hair vacuum to make it easy to scoop up that dander or you will find it sticking to everything you own. Frequent grooming is also a must to keep things from getting too messy to keep up with.
Training is essential
This isn’t to say that there is any dog that doesn’t need some training, in terms of listening to commands and socialising. However, big dogs are, as mentioned, stronger than most people, and have a lot of potential to cause harm or destruction even when they mean well. As such, it may be worth investing in professional dog training to make them more obedient and easier to control.
There’s nothing to say that owning a big dog is any less exciting, fun, or fulfilling than living with a smaller dog. You should simply be prepared for the additional effort and thinking that it can take. Similarly, very small dogs take a little extra prep and care to own as well. The lesson here is: know what kind of dog you’re getting and what you need to do to be a better owner to them.
I’ve always wanted a husky because I love their big fluffy coats and ginormous personality but living in a 1 bed flat with 3 cats makes it pretty much impossible to own one right now. Hopefully, when we move out, we can adopt one and I’ll definitely keep this article for advice.
My wife and I also used to walk a malamute when we ran a pet sitting business. And she was beautiful, playful and always happy to see us. Big dogs are amazing with big personalities but like you say, they need that extra bit of care and attention compared to smaller animals.