Pretty much everyone loves a puppy! They're adorable, cuddly, fun, and silly. Even when puppies are doing something naughty, they're still cute. Unfortunately, even if you're ready for 24/7 cute (I mean, who isn't), that doesn't necessarily mean you're ready to be a lifelong companion for a dog. If you're trying to figure out if you're ready for a dog, you're already taking a step in the right direction by doing research. The best way to determine if you are ready to welcome a new furry friend into your home is to analyze your environment and emotions. You must consider if a dog will be happy and comfortable in your home and if you and the rest of your household are comfortable, ready, and responsible. Here are some questions to ask yourself before getting a new dog:
AM I FINANCIALLY READY?
A crucial part of determining if you are ready for a dog is to analyze your financial situation. Dogs cost much more than the initial adoption or re-homing fee. You must consider expenses such as food and treats. Dogs need quality food, the cost of which depends on the size and age of the dog as well as the brand of food. Treats are essential for training, making it necessary to always have them on-hand. Vet bills are also necessary expenses. Puppies need to go to the vet often for shots and check ups. After dogs reach about a year in age, they visit once a year (possibly more if there are emergencies) to ensure they are healthy and up-to-date on vaccinations. Dogs also require monthly heart worm preventative. Putting your dogs on heart worm prevention protects them. Heart worms are extremely harmful to dogs. It is expensive to treat them after the dog has contracted them, so preventative is important. Dogs also need toys and supplies (collars, leashes, beds, etc.). Training is also strongly encouraged as it can ensure the safety of you and our dog. Dogs can be a large financial toll. Assessing your financial situation is key for determining if you are ready for a dog.
DO I HAVE THE TIME?
Dogs require significant amounts of time and attention. If you work long hours, frequently go on business trips, or are a mostly on-the-go person you may not be ready for a dog. Dogs need to be trained, cared for, played with, and loved. Your dog should not live lonely and locked in a kennel. Not only is that a poor quality of life, it also can cause behavior problems in the dog. You should also ensure that you have time to devote to training your dog. Dogs need to be trained so you, your dog, and those that interact with it have a positive experience. It is especially important to train your dog for when you take it into public. There are also walks, vet visits, clean up, feeding, and general care to factor into the time you must devote to your pup. Of course there will be times where you cannot play with your dog one day and sometimes it may have to be in the crate for a little extra time, but make sure you can regularly have time to devote to your furry friend.
IS MY FAMILY READY?
If you live with other people, whether it be family or a roommate, you should consider them before getting a dog. If any members of your family have a fear of dogs or an allergy, consider them. If a dog will physically or mentally harm a person in your home to have a dog, hold off. Be sure to consider if the other people in your home are mentally prepared for a dog. Dogs can be loud, destructive, and can make messes, no matter how old they are. Discuss with the people in your home if they are okay having a dog in their home and be considerate of them when making the decision.
If you have young children in your home, even if it is "their dog," you should be prepared to take primary care of the dog. While dogs can be useful in teaching your children about responsibility, you should assume responsibility when the child looses focus or fails to complete a task. Be prepared to train a dog if you have children as dogs can get crazy at times and you may need to have control.
If you have another dog it is drastically important to consider both or all dogs involved when potentially introducing a new pup into your home. Determine if your dog(s) are well behaved around other dogs, including in your home and around food. If you are introducing an adult dog into your home, ensure they are good with other dogs as well. Fights are always possible, but can be avoided if you are prepared.
AM I EMOTIONALLY READY?
Dogs can be an emotional toll. Of course they are fun, cuddly, and great to be around, but they are a large responsibility. As previously stated, they can be loud, destructive, and messy. They demand a large portion of time and attention. It is crucial to be sure you are prepared to handle difficult situations before welcoming a new furry friend into your home.
It is also important to determine if you are ready to open your heart to a dog. If you recently suffered the loss of a pet, you may want to give yourself time to heal before getting a new dog. Keep in mind that no two dogs are the same. You may want a new dog that is exactly like your previous one, but that will never happen. Assess yourself and your emotional situation before you welcome a new dog into your life.
This post is, of course, not intended to show dogs in a negative light or to discourage people from getting an animal. However, dogs are a large responsibility and there are many factors to consider before adopting a dog. Analyze yourself and your environment before getting a new companion. Consider your happiness as well as the pup's before making the commitment to care for an animal.
Keep an eye out for upcoming posts about how to choose the right dog for you and what to do now that you have a dog! Also, feel free to post any questions you may have for us in the comments.