This is a partnered post.
Thinking of adopting a dog? Becoming a dog owner is a big commitment and can require a lot of planning. Here are just 10 things to consider before getting a dog.
Can you afford to own a dog?
Owning a dog comes with lots of costs – you need to be able to afford food, toys, grooming costs and vet bills. Veterinary treatment can be the biggest cost and may vary depending on the breed and age of the dog. Pet insurance may be able to make veterinary treatment more affordable by spreading out the cost. Make sure that you’re in a good financial position to be able to cover these costs.
Have you got the time to look after a dog?
It’s important that you’ve got enough time to spend with your dog too. If you spend long hours at work, it could be unfair on your pet, unless you’re able to get a dogsitter. Dogs are very social animals and can get very needy (especially puppies) so you need to be certain that there’s someone around for the large part of the day to stop your dog getting lonely. Some breeds of dog may be more comfortable being left on their own for long periods.
Will you be able to take your dogs for walks?
All dogs need to be exercised. You need be certain that you’ve got the time to go on these walks and that you’re physically fit enough. Some dog breeds need long walks daily – these include German shepherds, Labradors and border collies. Other dogs such as pugs and greyhounds may be content with shorter walks and so may be better suited for those that don’t have the time or energy to go on long walks. Some people do hire people to walk their dogs – this could allow you to still own a dog without having to go on walks yourself, but you need to be certain that you can afford it.
Are you getting a puppy?
Many people like to buy dogs as puppies. This allows you to train and nurture them from a young age. Puppies are certainly cute – but they’re a lot of hard work. You need to be able to dedicate time to looking after a puppy and you need to be prepared to deal with the high energy and destructive behaviour (puppies will naturally want to chew everything and you’ll need to train this habit out of them). Puppy training classes are popular and a great way to help your pup’s development whilst meeting other dog owners.
Will it be a pure breed?
A lot of people also like to buy pure breeds. Pure bred dogs are more expensive to buy than mixed-breeds and there could be a waiting list for breeders – you can usually find adverts online such as these purebred chocolate lab puppies for sale. Make sure to buy from a breeder with a good reputation.
Will it be a rescue dog?
Many people like the idea of buying a rescue dog. These are dogs that may been abandoned or neglected and have been put in a kennel. When taking on a rescue dog, you may have to be prepared to deal with bad behaviours that they may have picked up in the past – these can be difficult to train out of them (although, contrary to the saying, it is possible to teach an old dog new tricks!). There is a growing need for more rescue dog owners and they can often make very loving pets – the reason they’re in kennels is often due to past owners wrongdoings and not due to the dogs themselves.
Do you have kids or other pets?
If you have kids or other pets, you want to make sure that you bring home a dog that will behave friendly towards them. Most dogs are friendly towards kids if raised from a puppy – it’s only if you’re buying an older dog that you may need to worry about behaving aggressively to kids. Bullmastiffs, rottweilers and greyhounds are a few dogs that you need to be careful of if they’re older (especially if they’re rescue dogs). Similarly, some dogs may try to attack other pets. Cats may feel threatened by certain excitable dogs – even if these dogs don’t attack, a cat may run away from home if it feels it’s no longer comfortable at home, although may be able to reserve part of the home as the cat’s area such as upstairs to prevent this (doing this will give your cat a safe zone that they can retreat to if needs be).
Does everyone in your home want a dog?
You may be eager to get a dog – but does everyone else want to take on the responsibility. If your partner is reluctant, it could put a strain on your relationship. A dog needs to be welcomed as part of the family and this involves everyone being on board with the decision to adopt a dog. Make sure to discuss the decision thoroughly before making any commitments.
Have you dog-proofed your home?
You’ll likely need to prepare your home for getting a dog. This involves buying a dog bed and dog bowls, as well as getting rid of any potential hazards. This may be particularly important when bringing home a puppy – just as you would with a small child, you need to hide anything dangerous that they could put in their mouth either by raising it or locking it away. Some people buy stairgates and cupboard locks, whilst others are able to train their dogs without these.
Have you chosen a vet?
It’s worth signing up with a veterinary clinic the moment you get a dog. Puppies will need to be vaccinated within the first few weeks, whilst an older dog may benefit from an initial check-up. Start shopping around for vets before you commit to buying a dog – compare pricing and make sure that they are reputable. There are sites dedicated to vet reviews, which can be useful to read.