10 questions to consider before getting a dog

Getting a dog is not a light decision, so it should be taken with care and consideration. It is unfair to animals to get them in the spur of the moment, only to find that they don’t fit in with your lifestyle, finances, schedule, and so on.

Getting a dog

  1. Are you ready for the responsibility of having a dog? Ask yourself if you have enough time and energy to care for a dog. Dogs need to exercised, fed, groomed, trained, loved, and to have their health needs met. Dogs are pack animals and a dog that is left alone for excessive periods without sufficient stimulation may potentially develop behavioural problems.
  2. Are you willing to commit financially? On average, a dog can cost around up to $2000 a year, so make sure you are prepared for the financial commitment it represents: food, toys, bedding, grooming, veterinary care, vaccinations, pet insurance, puppy school and behavioural training.
  3. Is your living environment suited for a dog? Consider your living environment and how a dog would fit in it.  A large or energetic dog may not cope well in a small apartment if you are not prepared to walk it two or three times every day.
  4. Are you in a stable accommodation? Finding suitable places to live with your furry family member can be a challenge, especially if you are in a rental situation. Not every landlord allows pets to stay on premises. Moving house is one of the most common reasons for dogs to be surrendered, so give some honest consideration as to how you will handle this situation before you commit to caring for a dog.
  5. What is the right breed for you? Not every breed is suitable to every person, household or lifestyle. Choose a dog that will match your lifestyle and needs. Consider the characteristics of the breeds such as the activity level, grooming requirements, life span, cost, and temperament before deciding on a particular breed. For more information about dog breed characteristics, try these online dog breed selectors (PetNet, Dog Breed Selector).
  6. Is your family ready for this big change? Make sure you and the people you live with are on the same page about this project. Talking about not only what kind of dog you would like but also the specifics (who will walk the dog, who will feed the dog, who will clean up after it etc) is a good way to ensure your new friend will be part of the family.
  7. Is your home dog-proof? Ensure that your fencing is secure and keep anything potentially dangerous for your dog out of its reach. Remember that some plants are toxic to animals also. Consult with your veterinarian if you are unsure.
  8. Are you prepared to educate your dog? A dog’s education requires a great amount of patience and time, and maybe some background research too. Regardless of whether you have owned a dog before or not, get some information and consider getting professional help.
  9. Are you ready to go back to school? The safest bet to get a well-educated dog is to take your puppy to puppy pre-school. Not only will he be taught basic obedience and good manners, this is also a valuable chance for him to socialise with other puppies, which is absolutely crucial in this early imprinting stage between 8 – 18 weeks of age.
  10. Do you like outdoors? Dogs need physical exercise. You will need to take it for a walk regularly. Some dogs may require more vigorous exercise, for example, going for a run, swimming, playing fetch, or getting involved in one of the many dog sports -such as agility, tracking or flyball – which also engage the dog with mental stimulation. A well exercised dog gets into less mischief, is more settled, and helps keep their weight in check.