Welcoming a pup into your family is a life changing decision – it takes a lot of planning and changes in your lifestyle to say the least. If you’re feeling unsure about whether it’s a good time to adopt a dog into your household, below are a few indicators that’ll help make things clearer for you:
1. You’re Financially Stable
Although you can’t put a price on the joy and experiences that you’ll receive from owning a dog, you should be prepared for both expected and unexpected expenses. Think about things like pet insurance, food costs, supply costs and grooming costs. Research how much these costs in your area and see if such costs are within your month-to-month budget.
2. You’ve Owned or Fostered a Dog Before
With most processes, having some experience makes them a lot easier – owning a dog is no exception. Fostering a dog (or having previous owned a dog) helps with figuring out how your schedule needs to be adjusted when there’s a pet in your household. Additionally, you might even have some supplies lying around that you can use for your new dog.
3. You’ve Done Your Research On What Breed You Want
Just like people, dogs come in many different shapes, sizes and personalities. Owning a German Shepherd is a lot different from owning a miniature poodle. Sites like The American Kennel Club can help you narrow down what breeds will match your lifestyle the best. Additionally, make sure to think about what diseases and illnesses are common in whatever breed you’re looking at so you can plan for preventative treatment as well as an appropriate pet insurance policy.
4. Your Other Pets Can Handle a Puppy
Not every pet will tolerate a rambunctious puppy tearing around the house – some dogs and cats prefer to be the only pet in the house. When you take your dog to the dog park, take note of how they behave – do they stick around other people for the most part? Older dogs? Younger dogs? If they seem to completely avoid puppies and younger dogs, it’s not likely that they would do well with one in the house. In the case of cats, have a friend bring over their pup and watch your cat’s reaction. While it’s true that cats can get used to dogs over time, you may want to reconsider if their reaction is particularly negative.
5. You Know That This Isn’t an Impulse Purchase
Just like with online shopping, you should take some time to think about whether your purchase is appropriate. If you’ve all of a sudden caught puppy fever from playing with a friend’s new pup, take a moment to step back and think about whether you can truly afford to bring a pet into your life both financially and time wise. Dogs are truly a commitment – they can live over 10 years, sometimes even nearing 20 years of age.
While you’re still deciding whether or not wanting a dog is a whim, put together a list of what you’ll need to prepare for welcoming a dog into your life – if you can fulfill everything in that list, you’ll be more sure that you’re ready for a dog.
6. You’ve Discussed It with Your Housemates and Significant Other
If you have a partner or other people that you live with, suddenly bringing home a puppy out of nowhere isn’t the best idea. When you’re not around, it’s likely that some of the responsibility of taking care of your dog will fall to your significant other or housemates. Consequently, making sure you discuss this before hand can help you avoid any situations where your dog is unsupervised for prolonged periods of time. If your housemates or significant other don’t want to take care of your pet at all, that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t go through with getting a puppy – there are services such as Rover where you can hire someone to take care of your dog when you’re not able to.
7. You’ve Puppy Proofed the House
This is pretty similar to baby proofing a house. Put away shoes or any low laying items that you don’t want chewed. Additionally, make sure there are no electrical wires or exposed outlets that your puppy can get at. If there are areas that you don’t want your pet to get into, you can use baby gates to block such areas off.
8. You Have the Patience to Train Your Dog
Having a puppy isn’t always sunshine and rainbows, regardless of how cute they are. There’s almost definitely going to be times where your puppy has an accident in the house, chews up something that they’re not supposed to or is otherwise misbehaving. Being prepared for these situations means you’ll be able to handle them with grace and keep your dog on track to being a well mannered pooch.