Those cute and cuddly canines may be calling your name, but before becoming a dog owner, there are a few things you should consider. Inviting a dog into your home is a long term commitment that should not be entered into lightly. While those tails wag eagerly and those big eyes look so lovingly into yours, these crucial factors should be evaluated thoroughly before becoming a dog owner.
1 Personal Finances
Impulsively adopting a dog from the shelter or purchasing an adorable puppy from the local pet store is often times a regrettable decision. Before becoming a dog owner, you need to examine your financial reality. Being able to afford the immediate cost of a dog is not enough. The question you need to address is whether or not you can afford to care for a dog long term. Can you afford food, toys, hygiene and cleaning supplies and trips to the veterinarian’s office for checkups and emergency care? If the answer is unclear, this is not the ideal time for you to become a dog owner.
2 Time Constraints
Does your work schedule allow the time it takes to care for a dog? While you can hire professional dog walkers to keep your cuddly companions active, dogs, like people, need an emotional connection. Puppies especially need this bonding time, where you learn their personalities, train them and play with them. If your schedule is too burdened with other responsibilities or so sporadically chaotic that you couldn’t possibly dedicate time to spend with your new pet, dog ownership may not be a wise idea for now.
Before delving into the responsibility of becoming a dog owner, you should be certain that you and the other occupants of your home are not allergic to the animal dander. While treatments are available for those suffering from the itching, the hives and other skin irritations caused by allergic reaction, you wouldn’t want to be surprised by an allergy to your new furry friend. Consult your doctor for a test before deciding to become a dog owner.
4 The Household Opinion
If you’re a girl with roommates, a live-in boyfriend, if you're a wife and mother or if you're in any other household situation in which you don’t live solo, consult with all of the occupants before pursuing a new pet. Dog ownership should be a decision agreed upon by the entire household. A furry family member needs love and care from everyone in the house, and everyone needs to be on board with the decision on dog ownership.
5 Your Lifestyle
Would you consider yourself to be fairly active? Or are you more of a homebody who is more sedentary? The answer could determine if dog ownership is right for you, and if a particular breed is more suited to your lifestyle. While all dogs need exercise and time for play, there are some breeds that demand more exercise and some that are biologically apt for less. Do your research before buying and learn about which dog is more your style.
6 Local Laws
Obviously, the decision to become a pet owner is something you need to clear with your roomies, but you may also need to get the green light from local agencies. If you’re considering dog adoption from a shelter, that shelter may assess your living arrangements prior to your acceptance. Depending upon the city or state, you may be required to get the dog licensed, to keep shots updated and to abide by leash laws. If you’re a living in an apartment or within a gated community, there may be restrictions on pets or even more specific breed restrictions on which dogs are permitted. Prior to bringing home a dog, consider what laws, rules and regulations must be followed.
7 Future Plans
While you may be ready to bring a furry roommate into the mix, consider your immediate future. If your lease is ending in a few months or you’re considering a new job that’s further from your home, or you’re planning on taking night classes at the local college...these factors could interfere with you being a good dog owner. While not all scenarios are foreseen, the life changes that you do have on the horizon could greatly upset a dog new to the home. Like people, dogs need time for adjustment. This includes adjustment to a new home or their owner’s new schedule. Do your very best to ensure that the timing of introducing a new dog to a new environment is best for you and for him.
While some people have been dog owners their whole lives, other might be new to the job. Having a dog means companionship and love, but it also means having the finances to afford the responsibility, the time to provide and care for the animal and the right environment for him or her to live and grow. So, before asking “How much is that doggy in the window,” make sure you’re ready. Do you have a furry, four-legged family member at home?