Deciding to enjoy the company of a loyal canine companion is a big undertaking that, although thrilling, shouldn’t be made in haste or without considering the numerous responsibilities that ownership will bring.
To be clear, many loving owners dive right into the adoption (or purchase) process and never look back; however, others experience clouded judgement as a result of the aforementioned initial excitement, and soon enough find that a dog isn’t right for them. This mistake can be financially costly, inconvenient, and most important of all, unfair to the dog.
Let’s take a look at three questions that you should ask yourself before admitting a dog into your family, to determine whether or not a faithful pet is right for you.
Is Your Home and Neighborhood Right for a Dog?
The home and neighborhood wherein a dog will live is of the utmost importance for both the owner and the animal itself.
In truth, dogs can live most anywhere in the world so long as a loving and dedicated owner provides for them. But the reality is that living in a sixth-floor apartment located in a crowded city will make ownership much more difficult than if one lived within a wide-open home in a suburb.
Make sure that your home and neighborhood is right for a dog by reflecting upon whether or not you are willing to work to assure the animal’s happiness and comfort. This may mean taking the elevator downstairs in the middle of the night so that your dog can go to the bathroom, or making a daily trip to the park.
If comfortable living cannot be assured in a specific neighborhood and home, it’s probably best to forego adopting or owning a dog.
Can Your Budget Handle the Costs of Ownership?
Owning a dog can be costly, and to avoid grief, distress, and financial issues later on, you should assure that your budget can handle the inherent strain that will be experienced.
Set-aside monthly funds for food, toys, treats, and unexpected day-to-day expenses (generally one month’s cost of food), while maintaining a large emergency fund for unexpected vet visits (at least $500). Also be sure to plan-ahead for adoption fees, the cost of the pet, the cost of preliminary veterinary vaccinations and inspections, and any registry costs as dictated by a local government.
This planning will work to assure that you don’t need to part ways with your dog unexpectedly due to financial constraints, and also, that your wallet won’t be a source of concern due to ownership.
Can Your Schedule Handle the Burden of Ownership?
Maybe “burden” is a strong word, but in its most basic form, that’s what dog ownership is in relation to schedules—an endeavor, albeit an awesome one, that requires a notable amount of time to properly fulfill.
Will you be home to let your dog out as necessary? Will you be able to take time to not only feed your dog twice per day, but fill his or her water, take him or her on walks, play with him or her, and provide an ample amount of attention?
There’s nothing wrong with admitting that these things simply won’t happen, as many hectic schedules today cannot handle a dog. It’s once again valiant to make this determination before a dog is adopted, as opposed to putting him or her through the confusion and disappointment of finding another new home.
These questions are certainly important, and before adopting a dog, you should answer them honestly and completely. Should a furry friend find his or her way into your home—and ultimately, your heart—the experience will be equal parts rewarding and fun.
Here’s to a happy and healthy life for your dog!