Whether this is your first time thinking of adopting a new pet, or you are thinking of bringing a new furry friend into your household after a long time without one, it definitely is wise to take a few minutes to ask yourself if you are really ready for this commitment. Your dog will be a member of your family, and you should take this decision as seriously as you would any adoption. Most pets live 10 to 20 years if well cared for. Sadly a lot of people adopt pets without thinking through the ramifications, and end up giving their pets up. Many dogs that go back to shelters do not survive. Here are some key questions to ask yourself before you decide to adopt:
Can You Afford a Pet?
This is probably the number one most important question to ask yourself, and it’s one that numerous pet owners ignore—to the detriment of their new dog. Think about your monthly budget and ask yourself how much money you have to support a dog. Would it be enough to pay for all of your dog’s needs? Healthcare for dogs is essential, as is healthy food, safe and fun toys, bedding, and numerous other considerations. All of these cost money.
Calculate the actual cost of keeping a dog per year. If you cannot afford it, it is best to wait until you can. When you have a pet, he will love you unconditionally. You are responsible for his well being, and that trust is something that you should return only with the most loving care. That starts from the moment you adopt. All pets require a complete checkup before you bring them home. You may also need to buy vaccinations.
Is Your Home Environment Ready for a Dog?
Does your home have the space that a dog will need to live comfortably and healthily? Many people make the mistake of buying a large dog when they only have room for a small dog. Not everybody even has room for that. Are there any hazards in your household that could injure a pet? What about small children or other animals that may not take well to the pet? Does anyone in your household dislike dogs? Is disagreement bound to ensue over the pet? Nothing is worse than bringing a dog into a household where she will be despised by a family member and possibly abused or abandoned.
Do You Have Time for the Pet?
An extraordinary number of people purchase dogs they do not have time for, or do not care to make time for. They think that the dog should be there for them, but they have no idea what it means to be there for the dog. A pet takes a substantial amount of time and dedication. Your job goes far beyond the feeding and grooming of your dog. You need to be ready to provide your pet with company and affection. Your dog needs you even more than you need him. Domestic animals are very dependent on their owners.
Do You Know What You’re Doing?
If this is your first pet, you aren’t expected to be a total expert overnight. Everyone learns from actually owning a dog. You shouldn’t go blindly into this however—you should start learning about training a dog, spotting behavioral problems, and correcting them through positive reinforcement before you bring home a new pet. If you don’t know what you are doing, you may create problems for your animal and yourself. Most pets are given back to shelters because they have behavioral problems, but did you know the majority of these problems are created by owners who do not understand how to train and care for a pet properly?
A new dog can make a wonderful addition to your household, but first you need to be sure that you truly are ready for a new canine friend. If your budget is in order, your home environment is healthy and safe, you have plenty of time to dedicate, and you have at least a basic idea of how to go about training your dog and taking care of her, you may be ready to welcome a new member into your family.