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3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Getting a Dog

Think you’re prepared to take the leap into dog ownership? The idea of having a loyal companion by your side is undoubtedly heartwarming (cuddles, walks, and pets galore!), but before you jump headfirst into this commitment, there are a few key considerations to bear in mind. Dogs, while incredibly loyal and adaptable, require a serious commitment from their human companions. Here, we'll walk you through three main questions to consider before bringing a furry friend into your home.


1. Are You Ready for the Commitment?

Dogs thrive when they find stability in a secure and consistent home environment for their whole lives. Those that end up shuffled between shelters or various homes often grapple with behavioral issues as a result. So, before browsing the puppies available for adoption on your local shelter’s website, it's important to recognize that saying "yes" to a dog is a lasting commitment. Dogs can live for 13-15 years (or even longer), which is particularly important to consider if you're adopting a puppy. A lot can change during this period, so it’s important to think through both how a dog fits into your life now and how one will fit into your life as it changes.


2. Are You Financially Prepared?

Dogs come with significant financial responsibilities. From basic necessities like food, collars, and leashes to grooming materials and professional training, the costs can add up quickly.


The first few months, which include getting all the essentials and arranging initial vet visits, can be particularly financially demanding. Vaccinations and mandatory health procedures will also bring additional expenses, not to mention the cost of spaying or neutering your dog. It’s also important to note that monthly medications and specialized diets could be necessary for certain breeds.


3. How Much Time and Energy Do You Have for Training and Enrichment?

Unlike more low-maintenance pets like cats or fish, dogs thrive when given significant time and attention. Though this can vary by breed, it’s important to assess your daily schedule and availability before committing to a dog—that way you can ensure they’re getting the mental, emotional, and physical stimulation they need each day.


As a baseline, planning for an hour a day (of training, going on walks, enrichment, etc.) is a good place to start. And, if you’re someone who works a 9-5, it’s important to consider if there will be someone around to let the dog out mid-day—or to make plans to hire a dog walker so your dog’s needs are met!


Getting a Dog: Next Steps

Bringing a dog into your life can be incredibly fulfilling. By carefully considering the commitment, financial obligations, and time availability, you set both yourself and your future pup up for success. Remember, being a dog owner is not just about having a pet—it's about embracing a lasting companionship that enriches both your life and theirs.

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Considering these questions is a great first step in the process of getting a dog. But there are lots of other things to think through—like what your lifestyle is, what age and breed of dog might be the right fit, and who to get your dog from.


The great news? We’ve got you covered with our newest guide, Finding Fido: Your Guide to Choosing the Dog That’s Right for YOU. In it, we share how to determine if you’re ready for a dog, factors to guide your research, how to choose a breed, how to decide on puppy vs. adult and male vs. female, and more. And, we include several worksheets to guide you as you decide what dog is best for you!


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