Are you ready for a new dog or puppy in your family? Owning a dog can be a wonderful experience but it’s also a huge commitment.
Before you pick up that cute little puppy or adopt a rescue dog, it is important to think very carefully about why you want a dog and whether you can provide it with the care it needs. There are some important steps you need to take and questions you need to ask to ensure you are ready to welcome a new family member.
Here are 10 things to consider before choosing your canine friend:
- Are you prepared for the responsibility? Dogs take up a lot of time and energy, are you prepared to spend the next 10-15 years dedicated to taking care of your furry friend?
- Is your lifestyle suited to owning a dog? Dogs get lonely just like humans, will they be left alone all day every day? Do you frequently travel? Do you have children, and if so are they old enough to handle the responsibility?
- Are you patient? Like it or not, even the most well-behaved pups get into mischief. They like to roll around in dirt, eat things you don’t want them to and do not always listen when you are training them. A dog will test your patience and you need to be able to manage their behaviour without getting upset or angry.
- Can you meet the dog’s physical and mental needs? Are you prepared to go on daily walks, are you prepared to train them, socialise them and play with them?
- Do you have the space? Always take into account the size of the dog in relation to where you live. Research potential breeds to get an idea of the dog’s energy level – some breeds are okay lounging around the house, but others need space to run. You also need to consider if your home and neighbourhood are dog friendly? Is there a dog park nearby?
- Can you afford the added expense? Ongoing expenses such as food, veterinary fees (vaccinations, check-ups, and medication) and canine insurance can really add up. You also need to consider the cost of puppy classes and a dog walker if you are away from home all day.
- What do you expect from your dog? Are you looking for a companion or protection? Do you want your dog to join you on trips or leave your dog at a boarding facility when you go away? Remember that not every type of dog is suited for every type of person.
- Is anyone in the family allergic to dog hair? Are you bothered by hair on EVERYTHING from your clothes to your food? Some people are allergic to pet dander or pet saliva. If you’re the type who mostly sneezes during shedding season, you many need consider a hypo-allergenic breed.
- What are some other options? If you realise that you don’t have the time, money or room for a dog, don’t get your tail in a knot! Have you considered volunteering at an animal shelter? You’ll get all the benefits of owning a dog without the responsibility of round-the-clock care. Or what about fostering? You can temporarily look after a dog until they find their forever home. Check out the Animal Welfare League to get involved!
- Do you really LOVE dogs? If you are motivated by your love of dogs and have thoroughly considered all the factors of pet ownership and are ready for a lifelong commitment then stay tuned for next week’s article, what you will need before you bringing your new dog home.
All dogs are different, and all families are different. If you have carefully considered getting a new dog or puppy remember to do your homework and find a dog that fits well into your family.
Licks and Sniffs,