Dogs are wonderful creatures, they come in all shapes and sizes, and every dog has a unique personality. They make great pets, but come with a lot of responsibility, so think carefully before you adopt one to be sure you’re prepared for responsible pet parenting.
1. A dog is for life
The most important thing to remember is that a dog should be with you for life. Dogs on average live 10 to 15 years, depending on the breed and size of the dog, as well as potential health problems.
You should be fully prepared to take care of the dog, pay any bills, and love the dog as part of your family. You also should make plans and ensure you have a caregiver for your dog if you can no longer do so.
2. They are a financial responsibility
Dogs are not cheap; the cost does not end with the adoption fees. You will need to be prepared to spend a lot of money on vet bills if they get sick or injured – insurance is always a good idea. They will also need food, and you will need to buy them a bed and accessories like leads, collars, and harnesses.
You might also want to buy them lots of toys too, but there are plenty of ways to save and find discounts if you’re going to spoil your dog. As long as you remember to save up money for potential surprise vet bills, the rough monthly cost can be calculated, so make sure it is a price you can afford.
3. Every dog needs training
No matter what type of dog you get, training is essential to ensure their behavior doesn’t negatively affect other people and pets. Not every dog needs to be fully trained to run an obstacle course, but basic training is essential to ensure good behavior. Training your dog basic commands will keep them safer too. You should be willing to put in the effort to train your dog.
4. They need your time
Dogs are a bit like children; you should not leave them alone for long periods. They need regular exercise and to be allowed out to go to the toilet. They are also very social creatures and will be lonely when you leave them alone.
If you work full-time long hours, a dog is not a suitable pet. You also need to think about how your situation could change over the next 10+ years, will you still have time for a dog in 5 years or 10 years from now?
5. Your home should be suitable
If you are confident you have the time and money to spend on taking care of a dog and giving it the love, training, and resources that it will need, then the final step is to look at your home. You need to be sure your home is suitable for a dog and that the people you might live with, or other pets, will accept a dog into the home.
If you have children, make sure they don’t have allergies. It is upsetting how many dogs are abandoned or given up because people buy a dog and then find out their child is allergic to dogs. This is unfair on the dog, so think about this before you get a dog, not after! If you want to adopt a dog from a shelter, find out what kind of home it is looking for and make sure you are compatible.
If you are buying a dog, do your research on the breed first and find out about the breed’s typical behavior and temperament.
Adopting or buying a dog is a big decision to make, so make sure that you have done your research thoroughly and are confident that you are ready for responsible pet parenting so the dog will be part of your family for life.