Puppies can seem like a great gift for the holiday season, but are you ready for the amount of responsibility that gift comes with? If you’ve been considering getting a dog, there are many important things to consider. A dog isn’t a novelty for a season, but a brand new member of the family who’ll be with you for years to come.
Asking yourself if you’re ready to take on that responsibility is the first sign of a great pet owner, and these next five tips will help you conclude whether you’re ready or not. Remember, there’s no shame in wanting to provide the best care you possibly can for a potential new pet, and the circumstances you might be facing now you may not be the same in the future.
- Do you travel a lot?
Dogs rely on you for their social interaction, from at-home cuddles to taking them to the park to meet other dogs. If you’re away from home a lot, your dog could develop separation anxiety or even depression from not getting to spend enough time with you.
If you’re often driving interstate, dogs are easy enough to transport along with you. The family holiday should also include the dog where possible, so it’s important to make sure you’re able to afford things like transporting your dog on a flight using an airline approved pet carrier.
- Are you financially stable for the long-term?
Pets aren’t cheap. There are ongoing food costs to consider, as well as thinking of where you’re likely to be in the future. Do you have a stable job with security? Do you have a savings fund if you lose your job and need to cover expenses whilst you get a new one?
It’s much easier to look after a dog when your financial security is guaranteed. If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, now might not be the best time to take on an extra mouth to feed.
- Why do you want a dog?
Do you think it would be cute for the kids to have a dog? Are you prepared to take over the responsibility of caring for that dog when your kids get bored with the upkeep? If you’ve established a stable home life, you may be considering getting a dog to expand your family. But you’ll need to make sure your reasons are based on the true welfare of the animal and your dedication to looking after it, rather than for novelty reasons.
Bringing a new dog into the family shouldn’t only be a personal consideration, but one the entire family is involved in as well. This helps show younger children that pet ownership is a very serious and mature undertaking – a lesson they’ll take on for life.
- Are you comfortable dealing with a mess?
This is a valid concern, as puppies can cause mass destruction in their paths as they play and grow. You’ll be cleaning up after your dog a lot, including cleaning up their waste. Programs such as puppy preschool will help your dog learn appropriate behavior, but even the best behaved of pooches can play up.
Having a puppy is a lot like having a new child, and they’ll need to learn where to go to the toilet, where to sleep, and how to act within your household. Just like a baby, this can take time for them to learn, so it’s important to consider if you have the patience for this.
- Is anyone in the house allergic?
A new dog is no good if someone in your household suffers from allergies. This can be an uncomfortable experience for both the sufferer and the dog, who may not understand why a family member is avoiding them. Get your family to spend some time with your potential new puppy to see if there are any reactions now before you welcome them into your home.
Taking all factors into consideration
One final reminder (and the most important consideration before you buy a new dog) is to do your research on the breed you’d like to adopt. Personality traits and typical behavior should be paid close attention to as a way to ensure the breed fits in with your family and lifestyle.
Being a responsible pet owner isn’t something to be taken lightly and is an exciting part of life. A bond with a dog is a truly special one that can last for many years when the proper care is shown and is one that touches our hearts for eternity.