things to consider before getting a dog

Six Things to Consider Before Getting a Dog

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Whether it’s a cute puppy pulling at your heartstrings or a rescue dog in need of a home peering up at you with doleful eyes, if you’re an animal lover longing to welcome a dog into your life, it can be tempting to jump straight in. However, getting a pet is a big commitment. Here are six things you should consider before committing to having a dog.

It’s a Dog’s Life

You may be able to welcome a dog into your home now but take time to consider the length of the commitment involved. The average lifespan of a dog is between 10-13 years, although this varies between breeds. Think of what your life will look like a decade in the future and whether a dog fits in with your long-term plans.

Ongoing Costs

When you first make the decision to get a dog you will focus on the cost of the dog itself. i.e., how much you will pay the breeder or rescue center. While this cost is certainly a factor, the ongoing costs associated with having a dog will have a lasting impact on your finances. Shopping around to get more pet supplies for less can pay off, but can you afford the vets bills if your dog gets sick or injured, or the amount to cover an insurance policy? If you enjoy travel, will you need to pay someone to look after your dog when you are on vacation? Will they attend doggy day care if you are working long hours? These costs can quickly mount up, so be sure you can afford a dog before bringing one home.

Space at Home

Consider the space in your house or apartment before bringing a new dog into your life. A large dog like a St Bernard might be your dream, but if you live in a small studio, this may not be practical. If you are in a rental property, speak to your letting agent before getting a dog. Some contracts forbid pets, and you could be in breach of your contract if you don’t tell them about your new pooch.

Infographic provided by pet sitters Chicago company, Majestic Paws

Each Dog is Unique

Although dogs of the same breed often share temperament, every dog is unique and can be unpredictable. If you have fallen in love with your friend’s gentle French bulldog, remember that another dog of the same breed could be feisty or aggressive. Spend time with any prospective dog before committing to taking them home and speak to the person you are getting the dog from about their life experience. This is especially important in the case of rescue dogs, who may have experienced trauma in their past.

Daily Exercise

Dogs need stimulation and socialization and certain breeds such as springer spaniels can be destructive if they don’t get enough exercise. Be realistic about the amount of time you can commit each day to exercising your pup. A trot around the block twice a day might be enough for a chihuahua but it certainly won’t tire an energetic Labrador.

How a Dog Will Fit into Your Family

A dog is part of the family so consider the effect adding to your brood will have on your life. If you have young children, make sure they know how to behave around dogs such as being gentle and calm. Consider existing pets, too – an elderly cat might not take kindly to a wild puppy invading her space.

Dogs are wonderful companions and can bring a huge amount of joy into your life. If the time is right for you to get a new dog, enjoy getting to know them and building up a friendship that will last forever.

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