6 Questions To Ask Before Getting A Dog

Should you get a dog? There are many reasons both for and against bringing a furry four-legged friend into your life. While you might feel ready for this step in your life, it’s important you weigh up the good and bad points of becoming a pet owner and what it can mean for you going forward.

In the US, there are over 65 million dog owners, and these might have one dog or several. All will tell you that being a pet owner has both good and bad aspects, but ultimately, they cannot decide for you. Nor should you go into this big decision blind, as you might find that you are not only unequipped for the responsibility of having a pet but that this was a mistake no matter how good your intentions were.

So, what do you need to know about becoming a dog owner? Before bringing your new pooch home, ask yourself these questions.

Can You Afford It?

A biggie and an important question to ask. Dogs aren’t cheap, much like children, and you need to be confident that you can afford to care for them properly during their life. Not only is there the upfront cost of purchasing your new family member, but the ongoing costs of buying food, medications, vet bills, accessories, and more. These are just the basic essential costs of owning a pet. There is also pet insurance, which can help cover unexpected medical expenses, adapting your home to make it safe for your dog, daycare and kenneling options for when you’re away, and more to consider on top of this, and over the year, this can really add up. If you might struggle financially, then it might be worth waiting until you can afford it. You can also look into fostering for a local charity so you can have the benefits of having a dog at home without the financial burden it can bring.

How Much Time Can You Give a Dog?

Unlike other low-maintenance pets, such as cats or guinea pigs, dogs require a lot of time and energy and thrive on human company. You need to be able to give your pet as much time as possible and not have them at home waiting for you to spend a bit of time with them. From walking and training them, meeting breed fulfillment needs, and generally just being in their presence, dogs can take up a huge chunk of your time. Dog lovers do not mind rearranging their lives for their furry best friends, but you need to have enough free time in your life to dedicate to your new dog to ensure that it has everything it needs. Dogs are sentient beings, and they want to be with their owners and engage with them, so you need to be able to reciprocate this care and dedication to give them their best life.

Adopt or Buy a Puppy

This is a polarising question in the dog world, and while some people are staunch advocates for adopting over buying, the reality is not everyone can or is in a position to adopt a dog from a rescue, although you should definitely give it more than a passing thought. Rescue dogs can come in all shapes and sizes and are of all ages and breeds, from puppies right up to senior dogs looking for their last home.

However, there are pros and cons for both, and some families prefer to bring a puppy into their home if they want a specific breed or if they have young children at home, which might eliminate them from being able to adopt. You might want a chocolate labrador puppy to become a play pal you can train around your family life, or you might see a senior dog at a shelter, and their slower pace of life and more chilled demeanor are perfect for your lifestyle. Give both options an excellent exploration to see what is best for you, and then you can settle on the best route to finding your new pup.

Are You Happy To Plan Your Life Around Them?

As mentioned, dogs can take up a lot of your time, but as a dog owner, you’ll find that it’s a joyous commitment. You need to be ready to plan your life around them. No longer can you go out on a whim and stay out for hours or even not come home because you have no responsibilities at home; you need to make sure every decision you make is centered around what is best for your dog and how they will cope. Does the idea of dog-friendly vacations fill you with joy or dread? Sure, there are kennels and dog sitters who can care for your dog during these times, but it is something to consider. Are you ready to schedule your day around dog walks, feeding times, nap breaks, and so on? If so, then now might be the time to see just how much a dog can change your life and give you a love and companionship you can only gain from having a pooch by your side.

Can You Meet Their Needs

Dogs come with many needs, and each is different depending on the dog and the breed. Some breeds are incredibly high maintenance; working breeds such as the border collie, husky, and even the Jack Russel Terrier can require a lot of stimulation each day, or they might become bored and have deeply destructive tendencies. But in general, all dogs require you to meet their needs, and these can include the following;

  • A suitable living environment
  • A healthy diet
  • Exercise
  • Mental stimulation
  • To exhibit natural behaviors
  • To be protected from pain, suffering, and injury or disease

If you aren’t confident you can meet these needs, then it might not be the right time to welcome a dog into your life. It is better to wait until you can offer these to your dog.

Are You Ready To Commit Long Term

A dog is for life, not just for Christmas is a phrase most people are aware of, and this stems from the fact that historically people are gifted puppies for Christmas, and then a few months down the line, these puppies end up being surrendered to shelters because they weren’t ready for the commitment. It’s important to understand that dog ownership is a long-term commitment, and you should be prepared for the responsibilities that come with it.

You must be confident that you are ready to commit to your pet for the rest of their life to give them the best possible life. If you buy a puppy, this can be something you care for for the next 20 years. If you adopt an older dog, this won’t be quite as long, depending on how old they are when you adopt them. But it is still a considerable commitment, and if you cannot be confident that you are determined to love and care for your dog for the rest of its natural life, then hold off on being a dog owner until you are happy and willing to do this.

Bringing a dog into your life can enrich it in the best possible way. Dogs can bring so much love and enjoyment to your life and can be a man, woman, and child’s best friend. However, deciding to be a dog owner should not be taken lightly or done on a whim. You need to make sure you are ready for lifetime commitments so you can meet their needs and give them the best life possible before you bring them into your life.

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