With Christmas now over, most of us will be enjoying time with friends and family and making the most of the final days of the holiday season before January starts and we all have to head back to work.
However, while many people will be relaxing over the next few days, the opposite will be true for those working at dog homes up and down the country. Because at this time of year, rescue centres have to deal with an influx of canine arrivals after families buy dogs as Christmas presents and then realise they are unable to deal with the responsibility of these pets.
This serves as a stark reminder of how important it is to think carefully before taking the leap and bringing home a pet pooch. Therefore, if you're thinking of buying or adopting a dog in 2013 here are a few key considerations you need to bear in mind before making your decision.
No potential pet owners should ever underestimate just how much time you need to devote to looking after a pet pooch.
Not only do you need to walk your canine companion twice a day usually for at least 20 minutes, but you'll also need to dedicate time to feeding, grooming, playing, trips to the vet and training classes.
What's more, dogs are very social animals and should not be left alone for any considerable amount of time as they will get bored, depressed and possible destructive.
Therefore, if you work full-time or have any other serious commitments, you need to think carefully about whether you will have the time to raise and take care of a happy, contented pooch.
Although the actual cost of buying a dog ranges immensely, the real expense that you'll need to consider is how much you'll need to spend taking care of your pup on a day to day basis.
This includes basic costs such as premium dog food, bedding and puppy toys, but you'll also have to factor in unexpected extras such as emergency veterinary bills.
And to ensure your pooch stays happy and healthy you'll also need to take out comprehensive pet insurance, as well as paying for vaccinations and worming and flea treatments.
Dogs can live for anything from eight to eighteen years, so before you bring home your pup you'll need to make sure you can make this lifetime commitment to them.
Although dogs make faithful companions, they also bark, chew, dig and misbehave at times, so you'll need to be committed enough to forgive your pet and dedicate the time to training and raising them well.
What's more, dogs need exercise even when it's cold, rainy and windy, so you'll need to be dedicated enough to head out on walks whatever the weather and however tired you may be.
However, if you do decide that you're ready for a pet pooch and are a committed owner, you can rest assured that chances are you'll be rewarded with a loving, faithful and devoted pet.
Written by: Hannah Dyball