Thinking of getting a dog? Adding a furry friend to your family is exciting but also a big commitment. Ensuring you’re fully prepared for dog ownership is essential for your new pup’s well-being and your own. Here are the top 10 things you should think about before getting a dog:
1. Are you ready for the time commitment?
Dogs are not low-maintenance pets. They must be walked daily, played with, trained, and given lots of love and attention. Consider your lifestyle and schedule – do you have enough time to care for a dog properly? If not, a lower-maintenance pet like a cat may be a better fit.
2. Can you afford a dog?
There are many costs associated with dog ownership. Between food, supplies, vet bills, training, boarding or dog walkers when you travel, and emergency expenses, dogs can be quite pricey. Create a budget to estimate these costs annually and determine if it fits your financial situation. Don’t forget recurring expenses like flea/tick and heartworm medication.
3. Is your living situation suitable?
Before adopting or buying a dog, ensure your landlord allows pets if you rent and your yard is safely fenced if you own a home. Think about space – bigger dogs need more room to play and move around comfortably. Noisy breeds like beagles may not work in apartments with noise restrictions. Consider any restrictions specific to your housing situation.
4. Do you have allergies?
Many people have pet dander allergies. Spending time around different breeds can help you determine if you react to certain dogs. Hypoallergenic dog breeds like Poodles may be better suited to allergy sufferers. Take precautions if allergies are a concern.
5. Who will care for the dog when you travel?
A key part of responsible dog ownership is planning for times when you cannot be there, like vacations. Options include doggy daycare, boarding kennels, or hiring a pet sitter to come to your home. Ask trusted friends or family if they can help, and make sure to budget for the added cost.
6. Are you familiar with dog training?
Untrained dogs often develop problematic behaviors like chewing, barking excessively, or having accidents in the house. Invest time in obedience training your new dog, or enroll them in a training class. Patience and consistency are key when teaching new commands. Understand effective training methods before bringing home your pup.
7. Have you selected the right breed?
With hundreds of dog breeds to choose from, it’s important to carefully select one that suits your needs and lifestyle. Consider the size, energy level, grooming needs, and temperament when researching breeds. Bringing home a high-energy herding breed when you live in an apartment and work long days is a recipe for trouble.
8. Do you have kids or other pets?
If you have small children, a breed with a patient, gentle temperament is ideal. When adding a dog to a home with other pets, look for breeds with lower prey drives and less territorial instincts to minimize conflict. Proper introductions and supervised interactions can also help integrate new dogs into family units.
9. Are you prepared to train a puppy?
While adopting an adult dog has benefits, raising and training a puppy is a unique experience. It also requires more time and patience. Potty training, chewing, mouthing, and high energy are just some of the challenges puppies bring. Make sure you’re ready for sleepless early days and diligent training before committing to a puppy.
10. Have you found a responsible breeder or shelter?
Never support irresponsible breeding like puppy mills by purchasing dogs in pet stores. Seek out reputable breeders that health test their dogs if going the purebred route. Alternatively, adopt from shelters or rescue groups like Wags Dog Rescue deserving dog a second chance at a happy life.
Welcoming a dog into your life is one of the most rewarding things you can do. By considering these key points beforehand, you can make sure you’re fully prepared to give your new furry family member a loving, forever home. The time you invest in your decision will pay off exponentially in fun adventures, unconditional love, and years of memorable moments with your cherished canine companion.
Do even more to help dogs in need by donating to an organization like Wags Dog Rescue.