It is a huge decision to bring an animal into your life for the first time. You want, after all, to make sure that you make a good decision and get a pet that fits in with your family and your lifestyle. However, you must always make sure that you are prepared for your pet, whatever you go for. They deserve to have a proper home in which they can grow, learn, and be loved.
Dogs are one of the most popular pets for a family, and it is not hard to see why. As a whole, they make excellent companions, are loveable, friendly, and easy to train. However, that does not mean that you should rush into a decision.
If you are a responsible would-be owner, you will have no doubt thought about all the advantages and disadvantages of bringing a new dog into your lives. However, before you take the final step, make sure that you have taken the following things into account, to make sure that you, your family and your home are ready for the commitment and responsibility that comes with dog ownership.
Are you going to adopt a dog from a shelter or buy a puppy?
New puppies are adorable, especially a Labrador Retriever pup. The advantages of buying a new puppy from a responsible breeder include the fact it won’t have much of a history, which sometimes is more suitable if you have younger children in the household. It also means you can be assured of the genes and the breed quality, whereas with a rescue dog from a shelter, you can never be entirely sure. However, it is essential to do your homework to make sure they are a reputable and trustworthy breeder. Ask to see their registration details, check out all the details, and, if possible, look at how the puppies live at home and see how well they are treated.
If you do not want the hassle of training a new puppy, and want to give an older dog a forever home, look at adopting a dog from a rescue shelter. These dogs have often been neglected, mistreated, or abused and just need someone to take them home and show them plenty of love and care. Most shelters take the job of looking after these dogs very seriously, so the dog will come to you well trained, well-fed and exercised, ready for you to take on the job as the new owner. The shelters can also assist you in choosing the right dog for you and your family and talk to you about the dog’s medical background and any other issues that they have found.
Are you ready, physically, and mentally?
Dogs are a little bit like children in that they need so much attention, especially during the first couple of weeks when you get to know each other and establish some sort of routine. We all know that dogs have to go for a regular walk, but some dogs have to walk more than others. Is that something that you know that you can commit to? If not, it may be worth looking at other animal options.
There are other things that you may not have thought of. If you are not quite ready for dog ownership as you thought, it may irritate you. For example, some dogs molt a lot, and everything is covered in a layer of dog hair. Is that something that you can deal with? What about the smell of dogs?
Dogs are generally very sensitive creatures and need love and firm, a consistent direction to behave and be their best. It can be challenging to begin with, but once you get into the swing of things and are used to one another, you will find you have a loyal companion.
Another thing to consider is whether you can financially provide for your new dog. It is not just the starting costs that you need to think about, but their ongoing food, entertainment, insurance, kennel, and medical costs. It is far from cheap, and if you are already living on a budget, this can be a significant drain on your finances.
Consider the size of the dog that you are looking at
Some people prefer big dogs, some prefer small dogs, but mostly, the size of the dog you choose to go for should depend entirely on the space available. If you have a tiny third-floor apartment, a Great Dane probably not going to be the best choice. Conversely, if you live on acres of land in a rural area, a big dog might love the chance to roam and have the freedom to run and play.
If you do go for a puppy, be mindful of how big it may be when it is fully grown, or any future housing changes that you might have.
Is your home dog-proofed?
Just like you would when you have a baby, you need to make sure that your home is suitably dog-proofed and safe for your four-legged friend. For example, if you have lots of breakable ornaments or candles lying around, you might want to think about moving them somewhere entirely out of reach – to keep both the dog and your precious belongings safe!
New dogs can be particularly destructive. Puppies are just like toddlers and can chew on just about anything – shoes, curtains, furniture, and older dogs who may have been in rescue centers may find the transition difficult and destroy things. This should be temporary, but it is a reminder to move as much as possible out of their way!
Get down to their level and see what risks you can find. Any loose wires, cables, fittings are attractive and tasty for dogs. Lock any cupboards that they may be able to open and move anything that could be harmful out of their reach, including medicine and cleaning products. Your trash can is also fun for them – so try and move that. Think about moving shoes and laundry to a different room or level of the house so the dog can’t get at them.
Have you got all the equipment that you need?
Dogs need a surprising amount of stuff, and you do need this before they come home. Things you might need to pick up include:
- Leash and harness
- Water and food bowls
- Puppy training pads
- ID tag
- Dog toys
- Dog bed
- Safety gates
- Grooming kit
Ask people that you know for recommendations so you can be confident you have picked the right vet to care for your dog.
Pet Insurance is also worth looking into. If you are buying an older dog, there may be restrictions, so it is worth checking this out before you bring them home. Pet insurance can ease the financial burden of colossal vet bills should your dog become ill or be involved in an accident. No one likes to think of this happening, but it will be worthwhile even if just to give you peace of mind.
As you can see, there are plenty of things that you need to think about before blindly bringing a dog home. As much as we would all love a furry companion in our lives, sometimes, we need to think carefully about whether our lives are set up so that we can give the dog the lifestyle it needs. However, if you can give a dog a loving, forever home, go for it – you won’t regret it!