Dogs at home

Does a Dog Fit My Lifestyle?

Test yourself with our '30-day dog challenge'


Dogs are great! They bring companionship and activity into your life. They can also bring joy, widen your social network, and become your best friend. But dogs also bring a whole lot of responsibility. They are dependent on you for their food, walks and company. It’s a bit like having children, but ones which never grow up and require even more care when they are sick and in their old age. Bringing a dog into your means a big change for the whole family.

To experience some of these changes and responsibilities, we invite you to go through a 30-day dog challenge to see if you are ready to bring a pet into your life. Of course, every dog  is individual and not all dogs require the same care, but the 30-day challenge gives you an appreciation of some of the things which you might experience when you own a pet and help you to decide whether you are ready to bring a dog into your life. Your challenge, should you wish to accept it:

This article is part of the Responsible Pet Ownership series

IMAGINE that you are already a dog owner:

Day 1:

Pick up some dog poop

7 days a week 

It’s polite - Nobody likes to step in it, and it limits the transmission of diseases.

Tip: Reade more about 'Giardia – invisible guests'

Day 2:

Go for walks twice a day, even on rainy days

7 days a week 

Dogs need regular outdoor exercise to keep them fit and stop them from getting bored.

Tip: Read more about 'Springtime 
– Keep your dog on a leash'

Day 3:

Don't leave the house for longer than 4 hours

Get prepared 

Your dog needs to go to the toiletas well as needing your company.

Tip: Read more about 'Dogs and their needs'

Day 4:

Weekend? Get up early!

7 days a week 

Your dog needs to be fed and taken for a walk.

Read more about 'Dogs and their needs'

Day 5:

Try to incorporate your 'dog' into a workday

Get prepared

Are you able to take your dog to the office? Or do you have a dog sitter/walker to take care of your dog? Plan out your workday with a dog – when do you go for a walk?

Read more about 'Dogs in the office'

Day 6:

Remove 'dog hair' from your clothes

Get prepared 

Dog`s fur loves to stick to clothingremoving it before going out is part of a dog owner’s life. Do you have a lint brush at home?

Read more about 'Moulting - Dogs & Cats'

Day 7:

Regularly clean out the 'dog bowls'

7 days a week 

You don't like to eat from dirty dishes; your dog won't either.

Read more about 'Dogs and their needs'

Day 8:

Read a book on dog behaviour

Learn more 

Dog training is an essential part of dog ownershipthere is a lot to learn.

Read more about 'Clicker training for pets'

Day 9:

Talk to other dog owners about their dogs

Get prepared 

They can tell you a lot of stories to educate and prepare you.

Day 10:

Miss a party because your dog sitter has let you down

Get prepared 

Sometimes you will miss out on fun because your pet needs you.

Read more about 'New Year's Eve –  Minimising your pet's stress'

Day 11: 

Teach your dog the basic commands

Learn more

Sit, stay, come, all are useful for your dog to know. Read up on how to train your dog.

Read more about 'Clicker training for pets'

Day 12:

Put some cash into your pet emergency fund/insurance

Better safe than sorry 

If your dog gets ill it can be expensive; having a bit of cash stored away offers some security. Calculate how much of your pay check you can put aside.
Read more about 'What to do if you suspect YOUR dog has eaten poisoned bait'

Day 13:

Read your rental agreement on pet keeping

Better safe than sorry 

 Are you allowed to keep a dog in your rented house/apartment? 

Day 14:

Take your puppy to puppy classes

Get prepared 

All puppies should be properly socialised and puppy classes are a good start. Find a good puppy school in your neighbourhood. 

Day 15:

Make your garden 'dog secure' so your pet cannot escape

Better safe than sorry

secure fence will give you peace of mind when your dog is in the garden.

Read more about '
Swimming pools pose a danger to pets and wildlife!'

Day 16:

Remove plants from your garden that are dangerous for your dog

Better safe than sorry 

There are several plants that are poisonous. Better to remove them! 

Day 17:

Get up every 2 hours during the night

Get prepared 

When your dog gets ill you may need to let him out in the garden during the night (dog diarrhoea alert!). Set your alarm clock to do a test run.

Read more about 'When your dog has a cold'

Day 18:

Go to a pet shop and calculate the cost of everything your dog needs

Get prepared 

The initial cost can be quite high. Can you afford the initial costs?

Read more here 'Financial aspects of pet ownership'

Day 19:

Make your car 'dog ready'

Better safe than sorry 

Transport box, safety belt for dogs, car seat cover… there are many things you need to prepare.

Read more about 'Travelling with your Dog by Car'

Day 20:

Pet a wet dog and take a whiff

Get prepared 

Wet dogs do not have a pleasant smell; better be prepared! 

Day 21:

Imagine your favourite shoes being chewed

Get prepared 

Puppies in particular love to chew anything especially if they are teething.

Day 22:

Plan a dog-friendly vacation so your dog can come too

Get prepared 

Can you reach your vacation destination by car, find a dog friendly hotel and plan fun activities? Try it out.

Read more about 'What do dogs enjoy doing on holiday?'

Day 23:

Calculate the costs for a dog sitter/kennels so you can go away for the weekend

Better safe than sorry

You can take a break, but you need to make sure your dog is well taken care of.

Read more here 'Financial aspects of pet ownership'

Day 24:

Get educated about dog overpopulation

Learn more 

Getting your dog neutered is part of being a responsible ownerthere are already too many dogs in shelters and on the streets. Read up on the problems of dog/cat overpopulation. 

Day 25:

Clean away a 'wee accident' on your new carpet

Get prepared 

Young dogs in particular have accidents – but soap and water will usually do the job.

Day 26:

Cook dinner for your dog as they refuse to eat pet food

Better safe than sorry 

Dogs’ stomachs have off-days like ours; you need to be prepared to whip up a dog friendly dish. Find a recipe and try it out. 

Day 27:

Shower/bath your dog after they have rolled in fox poo

Get prepared 

And just imagine the lovely smell it brings with it… urgh! 

Day 28:

Take an allergy test

Better safe than sorry 

Dog hair may lead to an allergic reaction; make sure in advance that you do not have an allergy. Make an appointment at your doctor and get tested. 

Day 29:

Visit an animal shelter

Get prepared 

Managed to stick to the challenge this far? The animal shelter is the best place to look for a new companion. Take trip to the shelter and have a look around.

Tip: Read more about 'What makes a good shelter'

Day 30:

Take a walk through a pet cemetery

Better safe than sorry 

Come to terms with the fact that at some point you will have to say goodbye 

We challenged you to take on a 30-day test run of pet ownership, to 'try before you buy'. 

Download and Share

Here you can download our '30-day dog challenge' and share it on your social media channels.

FOUR PAWS 30-day dog challenge

FOUR PAWS 30-day dog challenge

Do you feel Ready to take care of a Pet?

Find out more: How to become a responsible pet owner 

Why do you want to have a pet?

Discover the motivations behind pet ownership HERE!

What pet best suits my lifestyle?

To help you best pet for your lifestyle and preferences, FOUR PAWS has created this quiz, to give you an insight into what pet might be perfect for you. Find out more HERE!

Can you afford a pet?

Owning a pet is not a short-term commitment – some of our companions have a long lifespan, which allows for many years of enjoyment, but also expense so it is important to consider the long-term costs as well as the short-term ones. Find out more HERE!

Where should you purchase your pet from? 

There are many ways where you can acquire a pet, make sure that you find the best solution for yourself and one where the animal’s welfare is put first. Read more HERE!

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