Key Considerations Before Getting A Dog

Each year more than a million dogs are relinquished to shelters because their owners weren’t prepared for the responsibility of caring for them. Dogs are taken to shelters for a myriad of reasons – from minor issues like housetraining to major ones like aggression and social anxiety. Typically, these issues can be avoided through owner education and proper training. So, if you’re thinking about getting a dog, consider these key factors first.

1. Am I Ready For The Long-Term Commitment?

The average life expectancy of a dog is 11 years based on this study. During that time, a living being will be under your care and protection, making it not only a long commitment, but a serious one! Not being ready to commit to pet ownership is one of the leading causes of rehoming.

2. Can I Afford To Own A Dog?

On average, dog owners pay anywhere between $1,000 and $2,000 per year for a healthy pup, not to mention the upfront cost of buying a dog which can range from $2,000 – $5,000 or adopting a dog at $100 – $500. Additional costs that new dog owners frequently don’t consider before purchasing a dog include licensing, fencing, crates, training and obedience classes, grooming, treats, toys, medications and microchips.

3. Do I Have Time To Care For A Dog?

Before adding a dog to your family, be sure your schedule can accommodate for one. The leading cause of behavior issues in dogs is isolation and boredom, which is typically the result of a busy owner. Make sure you take into account multiple daily walks, obedience training, weekly grooming, and lots of cuddles!

4. Is My Home Pet-Friendly?

Have you checked your lease? Research shows that 82 percent of residents have had trouble finding pet-friendly housing. Be sure that you are allowed to have a dog in your home, and that your house or apartment is equipped to handle a dog. Remember that depending on the dog, certain things like space, neighbors and outdoor areas should be taken into consideration.

5. Is My City Pet-Friendly?

If you are active and always on-the-go, make sure you live somewhere that you can bring your dog with you. It’s unfair to leave your new furry friend at home alone all the time, so research pet-friendly restaurants, parks, and other social spots before making the commitment.

6. Do I Have The Patience To Train A Puppy?

Training a puppy is no easy task. It takes time, patience and persistence. If you are concerned about dog training, consider getting an older dog that likely already has been trained to some degree and is more mature than a new puppy.

7. Do I Want To Adopt Or Shop?

Do you want a certain breed of dog? Are you looking for a hypoallergenic puppy? Do you want to know about the dog’s past? All these questions factor into whether you should buy a dog from a reputable breeder or adopt from a responsible rescue. It’s important to remember that neither choice is better than the other, and what is most important is to find a dog that fits your lifestyle.

8. Is My Breeder, Dog Store Or Rescue Responsible And Reputable?

To ensure that the dog you are bringing home is healthy and well cared for, do your homework ahead of time to determine the breeder, dog store or rescue is reputable. It’s easy to get distracted by the cuteness of the dog or feel like you are “saving” him from an unsafe situation but buying or adopting a dog from an irresponsible source puts you at risk for an unhealthy dog and only supports their negligent business.

9. Have I Found The Right Dog For Me?

At the end of the day you need to be sure that the dog you are bringing home is the perfect dog for you. Even after doing your research, you might fall in love with a pup you weren’t expecting. The good thing is, even if it isn’t the breed you were planning for, you’ve done your research and now have a strong understanding on how to care for your new dog.