Buying your first dog can be one of the most exciting moments in your life, but the responsibility of becoming a dog owner should not be underplayed. Below, we’ve put together some questions that you must ask if you’re considering becoming a dog owner.
Can we afford a new dog?
One of the first things that you should think about before you buy any pet is the cost. Of course, if you choose one from a rehoming centre, then you’ll likely pay nothing or just a small donation to the charity, but the cost of one is only part of the financial equation. For example, vets bills can be very expensive, especially for puppies and dogs with health conditions.
If you’re worried that you won’t be able to pay for regular care, then having it insured and paying a monthly sum could be the best option. On top of this, you should think about the cost of dog food, accessories, treats, accommodation when you’re away, and adjustments you’ll need to make to your home.
Is our home suitable for a dog?
A great way to determine whether or not your home is ‘pet-friendly’ is to crawl around on all fours. Yeah, it sounds silly, but it can help you see your property in a whole new light and alert you to dangers or potential problems if you were to bring a dog into your home. For example, you may have wires laying around behind television sets, your back door may always be open, or you may have fitted a new carpet upstairs that you wouldn’t want a dog to sit on.
Making adjustments – like decluttering your home, adding a baby gate and briefing the family on keeping doors and windows closed whenever possible – will make you more suitable and prepared for dog ownership.
Oh, and also consider small children and other pets, as these could have an impact on your dog and its ability to relax and settle. Some breeds are better with children and cats than others.
Will it be compatible with our lifestyles?
Take a good, hard think about your current lifestyle and ask yourself whether it’s compatible with owning a dog. For example, if you work long hours and don’t get home until the evening, then you probably shouldn’t get a dog, as they’d be left on their own for hours on end. Likewise, if you’re a social butterfly and regularly host parties and get-togethers in your property, you may want to reconsider whether a dog is right for you, as they require a calm and relaxing environment.
Where will it go when we go on holiday?
If you enjoy spending weekends away and regularly go abroad for a week or two, then ask whether a dog would really fit in with your lifestyle. Of course, you could take your dog with you when you go on camping trips or countryside breaks, but it’s likely to be more expensive and cause inconvenience when you want to go out and about. Make sure that you have a reliable and trustworthy family member or friend who would be willing to look after your dog when you’re away from home. If this isn’t possible, then research into local dog kennels and dog sitters, but remember that these options may unsettle your dog and cause distress.
There are lots of questions to ask before you consider a dog, so be sure to discuss them with your family and friends. Whatever you decide to do, have fun, and share photos with us on Twitter at @Fuzzable when you’ve chosen your new furry friend!