“Moooommmm…. Pleeeeeease can we have a dog?” It’s a frequent refrain in many family households. Indeed, if you have kids it’s very likely that at some point they will have asked you whether they can bring a canine into the family. However, getting a dog is a considerable commitment financially, and emotionally. Not to mention all the time and effort that’s involved in taking care of them. That is why before you get a dog, you must carefully consider all the aspects of dog ownership that you can find below.
Can you afford a dog?
The very first question you need to ask before getting a dog is whether you can afford one. Indeed, if you choose to buy a dog you will first need to find the initial adoption or breeder fee, which can be significantly more if you choose a pedigree breed.
Then you will need to pay out for all the equipment you will need such as lead, food and water bowls, toys, and a bed, as well as getting your dog vaccinated at the vet and microchipped. Indeed, to be sure of the highest chance of getting your dog back if they are ever lost, microchipping is a crucial practice.
If you choose to get a puppy your costs will be even higher because you will need to invest in things like puppy pee pads to help them toilet train and to protect the floor in your home, and when they reach the right age you’ll need to pay for spaying or neutering as well.
Then there are all the monetary and yearly costs owning a dog will incur. These include food for your dog, whether you choose wet food, or completely dry food, as well as treats, and veterinary care. Such things can add up over time and can be a considerable amount to find. Rover.com currently estimates the initial cost of owning a dog from around $1000-$4500, with regular yearly costs coming in at anything between $450- $3500!
Is your home suited to housing a dog?
Another important question to consider before bringing a dog into the family home is whether the home in which you live is suitable. Space is a critical issue here, and the amount of space your dog will need will depend on its size and breed.
Some properties, in particular, like detached houses in suburban areas make perfect homes for larger dogs because they provide them with plenty of space inside and out, including a garden.
That is not to say that you cannot successfully have a dog in other types of accommodation such as apartments, but you will need to think about the size of your pet more carefully, as well as the noise it’s likely to make, and how often you will have to take them outside to toilet if they do not have access to a garden.
Do you have enough time to care for a dog?
Time is something that we all seem to be pretty short on these days. The thing is that caring for your dog properly will require a significant amount of time. Firstly you will need to make time to walk them at least twice a day, as well as make sure they are fed and have access to clean water.
Dogs will also require lots of attention and play during the day, and those with long coats may require grooming to stay comfortable and minimize shedding as well.
Lastly, dogs don’t tend to be emotionally independent like cats or some other types of pets which means they will want to spend a significant amount of time with you during your day. This means if you are a family that isn’t home a lot due to work and social commitments, getting a dog as a pet may not be the best idea.
What type of dog will best suit your family?
One of the most crucial questions to ask yourself before getting a dog is what size and breed would best suit your living situation and your family. Currently, there are 199 dog breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club, so there is a huge selection to choose from.
When it comes to deciding on the type of breed to go for you will need to consider a range of factors. Size is one of the most important aspects, as large dogs like Great Danes will have very different environmental, food, and exercise needs than smaller ones like Pomeranians. Very large dogs also tend to have a shorter lifespan because of the stress placed on their bodies so this is something you should factor into your decision as well.
Behavior is also a factor that you will want to give some serious consideration to before choosing a breed of dog. This is because while every dog is an individual pedigree dogs have often been bred for specific behavioral traits, so you can generally assume how they will act. For example, silver labs which you can read all about on this web page are known to be particularly friendly, especially with children. This makes them a great choice for a family dog. However, some dogs such as Pitbulls have been bred for hunting and fighting which means they may not be a suitable choice for those with young families.
Where will your dog go when you are on vacation?
Another issue you will need to think very carefully about before deciding to bring a dog into the home is what provisions you will make for their care when your family is on vacation. There are several options to consider here, the first of which is to vacation in dog-friendly spots in America that you can drive to, something that will allow you to take your pup along with you when you go away. Great examples of this type of vacation include campgrounds in National Parks. Although you will need to familiarize yourself with the safety protocols of sitting in such spots due to risks like open fires and wildlife such as bears that could pose a danger to your pet.
If taking your dog on vacation with you doesn’t suit your family’s needs, boarding them at a kennel could be a good idea. Kennels are places that are set up especially to house dogs while their owners are away, and each dog has its own small heated space with somewhere to sleep. The kennel owners are responsible for checking, feeding and exercising your pet for you, and many will have additional facilities such as large enclosed outdoor spaces and sometimes even pools where your pets can get supervised fun. The downside of kennels is that they can be expensive, and your dog has to be out of their familiar surroundings, as well as mix with other unfamiliar dogs during playtime, which can be stressful for them.
Last, of all, you may wish to opt for a dog/house sitter. This is where a person or couple (for a fee) comes and stays in your home to take care of your pet while you are away. There are plenty of reputable sites where you can book a background-checked dog sitter to look after your pet in your own space.
How will you train your dog?
Lastly, before bringing a dog into your family you must consider how you will train them. Some people like to attend dog training classes with their pets which teach them the basics of discipline such as sitting, fetching, lying down, and the command ‘no’. Indeed, it is advisable to do this because neglecting to train your dog can cause a lot of problems both for you and your dog, down the line.
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