Dr, Mark Planco DVM
LTD: As you know, LifeThruDivorce focuses on all aspects of life surrounding Divorce. How can owning a dog benefit someone going through a Divorce? … Dr. MP: Owning a dog is definitely proven to reduce stress, plus provides unconditional love and companionship to its owner. For children, dog ownership helps in all these areas and allows a child to develop responsibility and have a sense of stability while the family structure is changing. Another great benefit to having a dog is exercise — it gets you off the couch and outside, or maybe to a dog park, where both you and your pet have opportunities to make new social connections. And finally, dogs offer a sense of protection to people who may be living alone after divorce. All it takes is a bark to send a powerful message. LTD: How do you feel about Rescue Dogs vs dogs from a Breeder? Dr. MP: I find that while getting a rescue dog comes with great intentions, you’re basically dealing with a pot luck situation. The potential medical cost and unknown behavioral circumstances involved may be a detriment. If you’re really set on getting a Rescue Dog, you must know every aspect of the animal’s past and why it is in a Rescue situation. This is especially true if the dog is going to be around children. I would recommend getting a dog from a reputable Breeder. The average cost may range from $400 to $1000, but you know the real history and condition of the animal. In my opinion, don’t go to a puppy store, some are not reputable and the cost of the dog is expensive. When buying a dog, also be aware that mixed breeds are usually healthier and don’t have the medical problems of specific breeds. LTD: What’s more ideal? A large dog or a small dog? Dr. MP: It depends what your family is looking for. Big dogs provide more outside playtime and small dogs can be “lap dogs”. Small dogs do cost less and live longer. Small dog breeds I recommend are Shitsu and Boston Terrier, both are great with kids and rarely aggressive. Large dog breeds that I like are Labs and Golden Retrievers. If you are looking for a large, no shed dog, I recommend the Standard Poodle.