Many dogs in shelters and foster care have ended up there because of ill-prepared owners that did not take into account the financial and time considerations that need to be made when bringing a dog into the family; this is especially true with puppies. While no one wants to think about the not-so-pleasing qualities that come along with dog ownership such as destroyed furniture, fleas, medical emergencies, allergies and illness, they are common setbacks experienced by pet owners. As someone that is thinking about bringing a new pet into your home, you need to carefully weigh out the pros and cons as to whether or not you, and your family, is ready for the increased responsibility that goes along with dog ownership. Below are a few topics to discuss before taking the final step in finding a new family member.
- Why do you want a dog?
- Do you have time for a dog?
- Can you afford a dog?
- Are dogs permitted where you live?
- Is your present lifestyle conducive to dog ownership?
- Do you know who will care for your pet when you leave town for vacations?
- Do you know what being a responsible dog owner means?
- Finally, the ’til death do us part question, are you ready to keep and care for your dog for the rest of his/her lifetime?
Contrary to popular belief, you family with 2.5 kids will be just as complete whether or not Fido is around. If the only reason you want to have a dog is to keep up with the Stuart’s next door, you should probably stick to watching animal planet and playing with other people’s pets at the dog park.
Running Susie to and from various sports practices while getting Bobby back and forth from music lessons while trying to tidy up the house and cook dinner, is not going to leave you enough time for another canine family member. Dogs are social creatures and want to be involved with the family dynamic. If you are away from the house for long periods, travel out of town frequently or are constantly on the move you may want to consider a cat or other solitary creature. Dogs can not be ignored when you have had a bad day or just because you are tired. They require constant love and care, and what you put in, you will get back 10 fold.
In addition to regular veterinary examinations, healthy dogs need to be licensed, trained, groomed, fed and insured – the need for additional insurance is especially true for bully breed owners. These basic costs do not even take into consideration the extra fees involved when dogs are ill, injured, require special care, damage goods/property or for special procedures such as dental exams and microchipping. These costs can add up fast, and despite your best efforts, you will never be able to plan for an unexpected medical emergency, should one occur.
Many rental communities do not allow dogs, and those that do often have breed restrictions based on size and/or breed characteristics. Some landlords will also require additional pet deposits to be made, which are usually not refunded at the end of your rental period. Make sure you are aware of these regulations before bringing a pet home.
If you are a student or just had a baby, now may not be the right time for you to add another member to your family. School enrollment, military deployments and you job may force you to change locations regularly, and it is wise to wait until you are settled into one place to adopt a dog. Dogs require mature owners that are going to be able to be attentive to their needs.
Assuming you travel, you will need to figure out if you have a reliable friend or family member that would be willing to take your dog in during times which you can not be around. Otherwise, you will have to rely on the use of kennels and boarding which can be both costly to you, and traumatic for your pet.
Having your pet spayed or neutered, obeying community leash and licensing laws, and keeping identification tags on your pets are all part of being a responsible owner. If you are thinking about bully ownership, these things are key. Of course, giving your pet love, companionship, exercise, a healthy diet, and regular veterinary care are other essentials in making sure you have a well-socialized and happy dog.
When you adopt a dog you are making a commitment to take care of that canine for the rest of his/her life, which can be up to 20 years depending on the size and age of the dog. If making a commitment to meet a friend for dinner a week out seems like planning too far ahead for you, get a robotic dog or a DigiPet.