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Owning a Friendly Companion in Japan: The Dog

We’ve all had a bad case of puppy fever at least once in our lives, haven’t we?

Well, I’m currently experiencing one right now, and it’s been going on for about 5 months. As much as I would love to discuss why I think dogs are amazing animals and how they are happy pills, let’s objectively discuss the implications of owning a dog in a cramped and urban country like Japan. 

1. Actually Getting Yourself a Little Doggo 

Just like anywhere else in the world, you can either purchase your dog from a pet shop or a breeder, or you could adopt from shelter houses where they rescue dogs. Buying a dog from a pet store would easily cost you more than ¥100,000; and if they are claimed to be pure-bred, then the cost will increase to ¥200,000 or ¥300,000. Whereas with rescue dogs, the average cost to adopt a dog is about ¥20,000. 

How you own a dog is up to you. 

2. Get. A. Pet. Insurance. 

Just like us humans,  pets also need health insurance for prescribed medicines, hospitalization, and whatnot. Without a pet insurance (ペット保険), you could possibly pay about ¥500,000 to cure your sick dog. There are many different organizations and insurance companies that provide several types of pet insurance. 

More information on the different types of companies and pet insurance plans can be found here. 

3. How About Living Conditions?

Depending on which part of Japan you live in, your living conditions may differ. Living in a crowded space like Tokyo where houses and apartments tend to be relatively small, finding pet-friendly apartments or the so-called ‘mansions’ (which is just another type of apartment) may be difficult. Although the apartment you’re living in may be pet-friendly, it is equally important to train your dogs to avoid barking and running indoors as you do not want to disturb neighbours. 

4. Pet Grooming

Depending on the size of the dog you have, the cost differs— and it does not start off cheap. Smaller sized dogs such as a Maltese or a Toy Poodle will cost around ¥6000 for a trim, whereas larger scaled dogs like a Labrador or a German Shepherd will cost you around ¥8500. Unless you are willing to pay this much at a pet salon, perhaps learning how to wash and trim your dog might be a good investment. 

5. Feeding Your Dog 

There are various types of dog food, but I suppose the most common type of dog food is kibble, or grounded meals shaped into pellets. Famous brands are Purina One, Royal Canin, Iams, and more— but do remember that each brand targets specific aspects of your dog. For example, Royal Canin can resolve diarrhea and hyperlipidemia, whereas Iams has an abundant amount of minerals and vitamins. 

Now of course, how you want to train and raise your dog is up to you. You could either train them yourselves, or a training school. What is more important though is to maintain a healthy and loving relationship with your dog. Owning a dog means you have a new family member, one that requires attention and care. Before owning a dog, do realize the responsibilities, sacrifices and efforts that come with this..

A multicultural student that can speak in 5 different languages in one sentence, but cannot speak in one language for one minute. I'm Nikhita Kaushik, and I am a student at Waseda University's SILS programme. The great thing about writing is that it is a form of expression and education at the same time. If my 5'1 foot self can help you learn more or make you smile for the slightest second, then I have done my job here at Her Campus.
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