5 Questions To Ask Before Getting A Dog
They’re excellent companions, they’re huge amounts of fun, and they love you unconditionally…. Life can truly be a whole lot better with a dog by your side. And on top of all that, there are even some proven health benefits of ownership –– some of which may surprise you! According to a scientific article from The American Kennel Club, time with our canine friends can reduce stress and lower blood pressure; even just looking at your dog can raise oxytocin levels.
For all of these reasons and more, it’s thrilling to adopt a dog into your home. With that said however, there’s also a lot to consider. So before making the firm decision to add a furry friend to your family, give some thought to the following questions to ensure you’re making the right choice for you and your family (and most importantly, the dog!).
Is this the right time?
It’s imperative first and foremost to ensure that it’s the right time to introduce a dog into your home. The dog will require time to settle in and adjust to new surroundings and people, regardless of how old or young they may be. So, if you have any significant events coming up –– such as a house move, a major vacation, or a new baby on the way –– it’s best to delay your decision. Owning a dog takes a lot of commitment, and it’s important for you to be fully present for the settling-in period.
Are you choosing the most suitable breed?
With so many choices, it’s important to do your research and find a suitable breed for you and your lifestyle. In a previous article we outlined how important ‘Choosing the Right Dog Breed’ is, and discussed the importance of considering factors like what space you have available, how often the dog will need exercise, and how the dog will fit into your routine. Think about grooming needs as well, and what you’re willing to do to keep up with all the hair.
Research into breeds as you consider these factors is essential, particularly given that there are a lot of common misconceptions out there –– such as that smaller dogs need less exercise, when in fact larger dogs are more likely to tire easily.
What will it cost?
You should always consider the cost when weighing commitment to a new dog, because it is often higher than people expect. Although precise figures vary depending on breed and other factors, overall, Sound Dollar estimates that the annual cost of owning a dog is between $1,000 and $1,500. Aside from the initial cost (or donation), it’s important to take into account a dog’s needs throughout their life.
This means food, vaccinations and vet bills, toys and treats, and plenty of miscellaneous costs associated with things like the occasional overnight stay at sleepover camp, or the need to replace the dog’s… shall we say, favorite slippers. It may also mean pet insurance payments, or professional grooming and training services. As you consider all of this, it may be useful to create a sort of dog-only budget through which you can comprehensively assess the costs.
Where should you find your dog?
Dogs should always be sought through reputable breeders or rescue centers, and never purchased online. Should you choose a breeder, always ask to see the mother; any mixed litters and breeds or evidence of illness is a warning sign, and should be reported. A reputable breeder should have no issues with allowing the mother to be seen interacting with the puppies.
Should you choose to adopt a rescue dog, the process is a little bit different. The Pet Cube blog recommends you be prepared for a home check, an interview, and for a gradual process of meeting available dogs and finding the right match for you and your lifestyle.
Can you commit to a dog?
As mentioned, a dog represents a huge commitment –– so we want to reiterate that it’s incredibly important to ask yourself if you are willing to go all in for your new friend. They require a lot of love, patience, and an enormous amount of attention. Be prepared to walk your dog in all kinds of weather, accept puppy mistakes, put in the hard work, and clear up after them. They are completely dependent on you to keep them safe and happy, so it’s imperative to be honest with yourself about what you’re able to handle.
Getting a dog is a decision that should be carefully considered. We hope the questions we’ve outlined above help you to make the right choice, and that you find the perfect canine companion as soon as you’re fully ready to take the leap!