Having a family dog will bring you and your family members lots of joy, but that doesn’t mean you should get a four-legged friend without giving the idea some serious thought first. Since the pandemic began, it seems like more families are getting dogs, which is great. But before making the leap, there are some crucial things you need to consider.
Whether you are adopting or buying a dog, you must be fully committed. Bringing a new dog into your home is a lifelong commitment. You have to be fully prepared to take on such a big responsibility, and the younger members in your family must be ready to own a dog.
Everybody must be willing to take good care of the animal, and it is vital that you feed the dog regularly, train him or her, and create a safe environment in your home for your new furry friend. Without a doubt, puppies are cute but don’t let their puppy eyes fool you, they are a lot of work!
Further reading: Microchipping pets: Everything you need to know.
1. Can I Afford a Dog?
Even if you are getting a dog for free, you are going to have to spend a small fortune on food, vet bills, and potential surgeries. A dog will need plenty of shots and antibiotics throughout its lifetime, which can cost you a pretty penny. If your dog has an adventurous side, you might have to pay for x-rays and surgeries.
Dog’s tend to eat a lot, and if you want your dog to remain healthy, you will want to buy healthy kibble and other dog treats on a regular basis, like the food advertised on websites like Scratch. Make sure that you are financially prepared before taking on such a big responsibility. However, there are other things apart from dog food that you must also keep in mind. Most people invest in a dog crate nowadays, and you will want plenty of chew toys, a quality leash, and some collars too. Don’t forget to consider the cost of owning a dog in their senior years. You can expect frequent visits to the vet, especially if they get sick regularly.
If you and your family spend a lot of time away from your home, you might want to put your dog in a kennel. Consider finding out how much your local boarding kennel charges before getting the dog.
2. Is There a Reputable Vet in Your Area?
Finding a reliable vet that will take proper care of your dog is vital. Having a professional who has plenty of experience taking care of dogs is very important. You can expect your furry friend to get sick now and again, plus, they might ingest something they shouldn’t or get into a fight with another dog, so they may need treatment.
Most dog owners create a good bond with their vet, which is great because it will make you and your new pet comfortable. So consider taking a quick trip to your local vet before welcoming a dog into your home. Find out if they stock dog food for the type of breed you want to get. Don’t hesitate to ask them for advice on what dog ownership is like, and consider asking them what they charge, so you can get an idea of the amount of money you will have to pay out over the coming years.
If there isn’t any veterinary clinic close to your home, ask yourself what you are going to do if the dog needs urgent medical attention.
3. Will I Need To Take Out a Pet Insurance Policy?
Vet care can burn a hole in your wallet, so you might want to take out an insurance policy that will cover most of your dog’s medical costs. Even if you have budgeted for general examinations and the shots and vaccinations your dog will need, you must also consider the cost of unexpected emergencies.
Accidents will happen, but serious accidents might require medical attention. Watching a dog suffer is not a very nice feeling, but being hit with an expensive vet bill can make matters worse. Pet insurance can help your care for your four-legged friend, so you should think about making contact with an insurance company, to ask them about the different pet insurance policies available. If you think the price your local vet charges is expensive, wait until you get hit with a bill from an after-hour clinic. Reputable pet insurance companies will give you money upfront to help you pay for your dog’s medical bills, so it might be worth your while checking out the different policies available before you bring a dog home for the first time.
4. Are All Your Family Members On Board?
You should only get a dog if every single person in your family is committed to taking on such a big responsibility. Everybody has to chip in, which includes training, feeding, and walking the dog regularly.
Creating a training plan before the dog arrives will help you get off to a good start. Dog trainers who train their client’s dogs using positive reinforcement techniques will encourage new owners to start training their puppy immediately, so you will want to know exactly what to do from day one. There are plenty of dog training videos uploaded to streaming services like YouTube which will help you get an idea of what to do. A well-trained dog will not only help you and your dog communicate better, but they will be able to stay focused at all times. Consistency is key to training and disciplining a dog.
Find out if any of the people living in your home have any pet allergies. If a child gets a stuffy nose, starts to itch or wheeze when they are around dogs, you can’t bring a dog inside your home. Some kids can have an asthma attack after their allergies flare up. Consider getting your children tested before bringing an animal home.
5. Do You Have the Time to Exercise Your Dog Each Day?
Dogs need regular exercise for both their mental and physical health. Depending on the breed, will depend on how often you will need to exercise your dog. If you live in a small apartment without any garden, where will you bring your dog to exercise? Most large breeds will want a place where they can run around and play. You can expect to bring most dogs for at least one walk each day, so make sure you have the time.
If everybody in your home is willing to help out, dog ownership will be a lot easier. However, getting a dog can be very exciting, and everybody might be up for the challenge during the early stages, but owning a dog is a long term commitment. Ask yourself will everybody still want to walk the dog regularly five years down the line?
Dog’s are a fantastic addition to most households, but before you take the plunge into dog ownership, it’s important that you take a step back first. Look closely at the facts, and what it takes to own a dog. Consider asking your friends and family members who already own a dog about the advantages and disadvantages of owning a dog.