According to research by the ASPCA, around 23% of the dogs owned in America are adopted from shelters. Oftentimes, bigger dogs are more difficult to rehome, mostly because they need more space. When you are visiting the shelter looking to adopt a new family member, don’t rule out a larger breed - they are just as loving and rewarding as the little ones. There are, however, a few things that you will need to consider before taking a big dog home.
Big dogs cost more to feed
It may seem obvious, but big dogs cost a lot more to feed. If you are adopting a rescue dog the size of a Labrador Retriever, then you will need to purchase around 30 lbs of food a month. A Great Dane will need double this. For the average dog kibble, it will set you back around $40. Moreover, if your dog requires a special diet or you want to feed your dog organic food, it will cost even more. On top of this, you will need to purchase treats and the occasional dog chew or bone. Don’t forget you will also need the space to store your dog food. A 30 lb. bag takes up a lot of room. Some people store the food in a tote or container with a lid to keep the food fresh and free of insects. Also talk to your vet about the advantages and disadvantages of grain free and kibble versus wet (canned) food.
Big dogs need plenty of exercise
Big dogs need plenty of exercise everyday, or they will not be healthy and happy. Without this exercise, they can get issues with separation anxiety, and can be destructive. You should expect to make time to commit to walks, playing, and training. Let us take, for instance, the beautiful Black German Shepherd. This is a high energy and active big dog breed that needs at least two hours of exercise every single day. Don’t consider your dog walks a chore though - this is valuable time that you will spend bonding with your dog. Your dog in return will be helping to keep you fit and healthy too.
Big dogs need training
Many big dogs are bred for working and for valuable search and rescue, so they will need plenty of mental stimulation and training. This is imperative, as you need to be in control of your dog all the time. They are not like chihuahua, where you can simply pick them up to get them out of mischief if necessary. Before you take your big dog home, make sure that you arrange for training classes. Halifax offers group and private classes. Ideally your big dog will need to learn all of the basic commands, such as sit, stay, and wait. You will also need to train them to come to you when you call them. Taking them to classes is a great opportunity for socialization and not just for your dog. You too will get to meet lots of other doggy parents and may even make some new friends.
Adopting a big dog from Halifax Humane Society is rewarding and you will be able to share some wonderful walks together every day. Like all canine friends, big dogs give back all the love and affection that they are given, making truly tremendous companions.