9 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Getting a Dog
Owning a dog is an extremely fun and rewarding experience. Having a dog in your home also means a bit of sacrifice for someone else. Unfortunately, many people get a dog without thinking about what that might look like or how their day to day life may change.
Because of this, we’ve put together a list of the top nine questions to ask yourself before getting a dog. If you can answer these questions honestly, you’ll know if you should bring a new dog into your home.
Are You Allowed to Have Pets?
This question might actually be so simple that it is often overlooked. Are you allowed to have pets in your home?
If you live in an apartment, check your lease. Any lease agreement will clearly state their policy on pets. If you live in an apartment that allows pets, still double-check with your landlord.
Many apartments will state that they allow “small dogs,” but what is a small dog? What is the cut off for what they consider to be small? Be sure to clarify these limits before actually getting a dog. This can help you avoid an uncomfortable situation later.
If you live in a house, you can likely set your own rules. But it’s still a good idea to check with anyone else you live with. If you have someone in your home with allergies, you might not be able to get a dog that sheds. But there are many hypoallergenic breeds that even people with allergies can enjoy.
Can You Afford a Dog?
The next question you should ask yourself before getting a dog is can you afford to keep one? The bill for actually buying a dog can range from just a few hundred to a couple thousand depending on where you get the dog from.
Then you have to think about the medical bills. Many adoption agencies will already spay or neuter the dog before releasing them, but breeders may pass that cost on to you. Then there are medications and treatments for things like deworming and pest prevention.
You also have to consider the costs of buying equipment for your dog. A dog will need a leash, a collar, grooming tools, a crate, bedding, and many other miscellaneous items. All this can add up to a lot of money.
Do You Have Time for a Dog?
If you are used to living by yourself, getting a dog will be a huge change of pace. They will also demand much of your time, especially when you first get them.
If you work long hours or have a very busy social life, a dog might be too taxing on your lifestyle. You’ll have to make a choice as to whether a dog is important enough for you to make some changes to your routine.
Will You Be Able to Adequately Exercise a Dog?
Again, working long hours are going to cut into how much time you can devote to exercising your dog. All dogs need at least a bit of exercise. Small dogs might be fine running around your apartment. Large dogs are going to need even more work.
Why Do You Want a Dog?
This might not be an obvious question, but you should consider why you actually want a dog. Are you getting a dog because you are lonely? Are you worried about your safety and looking for a guardian? Whatever the reason is, make sure it’s a good one.
What Will Your Dog Do When You’re Not Home?
You need to consider how you’ll care for your dog even when you’re not there. Will you hire a dog walking service to take your dog out while you’re at work? If you have friends or family nearby, they might be willing to help with your dog. Just make sure you consider this question.
Do You Know What Kind of Dog You Want?
You should also consider the kind of dog you want to own. If you are going to a shelter for a dog, you might not have a choice of breed, but there are other things to consider too.
You should consider the age of the dog you’d like to get. A puppy is a huge commitment. An older dog may also need to be properly re-trained to fit into your lifestyle.
Have you Set House Rules?
If you haven’t had a dog before, you might not have thought about what kind of rules a dog will need. Are they allowed in every room of the house? Will they sleep in bed with you?
Be sure to think of what limits you want to set in the house. Also, be sure to discuss the rules with any other members of your family. If everyone in the house is on the same page, it will make training that much easier.
Are You Ready?
Once you ask yourself these questions, you will be that much more prepared. Raising a dog is a big responsibility. Be sure you’re ready for it.