What Should Firefighters Consider When Getting a Dog?

What Should Firefighters Consider When Getting a Dog
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Imagine this: You’ve just come home from the firehouse. A tail-wagging, gentle creature is running up to you. All your worries and stress will surely go away as you start petting this furball.

In March 2024, firefighters saved a puppy from a house fire in southern Oregon. A local firefighter later adopted the dog. Named Smokey, it will now tour schools and teach children about fire safety.

Are you in the fire service industry and planning on adopting a furry companion? In that case, there are a few distinctive factors that you should consider. For instance, the canine must have a good temperament and low energy levels to align with your lifestyle.

In this blog post, we’ll list a few considerations every firefighter should make before they decide on the dog’s breed.

The Dog’s Traits You Should Consider

Take a look at these intertwined points to better understand what dog would be best suited to a firefighter’s lifestyle:

1. Personality

Evaluating the breed’s personality is crucial for firefighters. For instance, the furball should be:

  • Calm and sociable
  • Intelligent
  • Easily trainable

Finding a canine friend that fits all these criteria will ensure compatibility with your lifestyle. That’s the only way they can match your activity level and living situation. Remember to get a dog with lower energy levels to suit your unpredictable schedules.

2. Breed

You must select a dog based on its breed and size. Examples of the best dog breeds for firefighters include the following:

  • German Shepherds: They are known for their strength and versatility. Hence, they’ve ranked as the ‘top dog’ in 16 American states.
  • Beagles: These smaller breeds are best suited if you live in urban environments and confined spaces.
  • Belgian Malinois: They are an agile, strong, and intelligent breed. Most military and police personnel have this breed as a pet.

The dog’s characteristics and temperament must align with your work environment and lifestyle.

3. Their Training Potential

Firefighters need to consider the dog’s training potential before adopting one. For instance, you should look for the following traits:

  • Response to emergencies
  • Eagerness to learn
  • Obedience towards their human parents

Try to find dogs that can learn specialized tasks and understand rescue techniques. Remember to evaluate the dog’s willingness to work with you and their responsiveness to commands.

The Firefighters Dog Job-Related Considerations

Apart from the canine’s traits, you should also check the following things related to your job role:

  • Impact of Occupational Exposure

Firefighters get exposed to per- and-polyfluorinated substances (PFAS) every other day. It’s usually found in their turnout gear and equipment.

Let’s understand this with the aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) example. You’ve probably used this fire extinguisher while mitigating Class B liquid fires or during training.

But did you know that AFFF contains PFAS? Exposure to this forever chemical can lead to cancer.

The manufacturers knew about the harmful effects but didn’t warn anyone. As a result, victims became furious and filed an AFFF lawsuit to hold them responsible. They wanted justice for the permanent disability and lost wages they suffered.

According to TruLaw, victims are eligible for compensation between USD 10,000 and USD 300,000. However, the exact payouts will depend on the extent of the health hazards, medical proof, etc.

PFAS can remain on your hands and clothes even if you wear protective gear. When you get home, these can get transferred to your dog through their nose or mouth. Research shows that PFAS exposure can also affect canines by reducing the secretion of liver enzymes and increasing cholesterol levels.

Therefore, firefighters should always keep their gear clean and bathe before returning home. Doing so will reduce second-hand occupational exposure to your furball.

  • The Time You’ll Be Able to Give

Adopting a canine as a fire service personnel can be challenging, as it requires careful dedication and planning. Your schedule can be filled with unpredictable on-call hours and hectic days. You can also have 24-hour shifts at a stretch. That’s why you need to consider the amount of time you’ll be able to give the dog.

The demanding work shifts might hinder your ability to offer pet care to your beloved furball. Dropping them off at daycare or with a friend every day can affect the dog’s mental health. They can develop separation anxiety and depression.

Dogs will need constant companionship and attention to thrive. Are you ready to balance the demands of your firefighting duties with the munchkin’s needs? If not, it’s probably not a good time to get a canine companion.

However, if you’re ready to prioritize bonding and spend quality time together, you can give a dog a forever home. Remember to assess your time commitments amidst your busy professional life. That’s because you must spend time training and exercising with them. That’s the only way to foster a fulfilling partnership.

In conclusion, you should adopt a furball based on the breed’s compatibility with your rigorous lifestyle. Remember to analyze the dog’s energy levels and temperament when choosing the breed. All these will help you understand whether the chosen furry friend is trainable.

Apart from these, firefighters should also consider a few job-related aspects. Examples include the vulnerability of your dog to PFAS and your ability to give them enough time.

Choosing a canine companion based on these will ensure you develop a fulfilling relationship with them.

What do you think?

Written by Zane Michalle

Zane is a Viral Content Creator at UK Journal. She was previously working for Net worth and was a photojournalist at Mee Miya Productions.

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