Dogs can be great companions and a source of unconditional love. Interacting with canines has proven to help reduce stress, brighten moods and can help teach young children responsibility. And for dudes, let’s face it, dogs are chick magnets! But even with all that good stuff, do you really have a lifestyle that is suitable for pet ownership? It’s not enough to simply want what you want and then go for it – have you thought about where you stand in each of the following categories?
Adoption fees and first year exams and shots are only the tip of the iceberg. Can you afford to keep your pup healthy? Can you afford the pet deposit if you’re apartment will even let you have a dog? And don’t forget food, medications if any, bedding, toys, and boarding/pet sitting, if required. Sure, just like with a child there are ways to help cut costs like receiving hand-me-down leashes, crates and the like but toys that can help keep your pup engaged and out of trouble are not cheap. Do your research and then be candid with yourself to see if this is something you can afford to do.
Do you like to run off for a weekend getaway at the drop of a hat? Will you be willing to truly make the sacrifices needed to make the dog a part of your life? This will involve taking the pup with you on excursions or leaving him/her home or with friends. Remember that some hotels might merely allow pets on the premises but some are specifically dog friendly, so do your research before heading out. Also note that some State and National parks might allow dogs but only on specific trails – make sure to double-check campground allowances, too, before setting out.
Do you really have the time to commit to a dog? Canines not only need loads of attention they also need social interaction with other dogs and humans, too. Does your work give you the time to come home for walks or would your dog be left alone all day? Even if your work keeps you out all day it doesn’t mean you absolutely shouldn’t get a dog but it is a good idea to have a friend or neighbor come over whenever possible to make sure the pup stays socialized.
Do you have your own place and a steady job? Sure, the world economy is volatile right now and who knows what the future will bring? But if your life is currently in a constant state of flux you’d do well to reconsider and maybe wait until you’re a bit more settled. Also it is far too common to see couples get a dog but then get rid of the dog when they have a child. There are ways to sucessfully have both so if you’re hoping to start a family don’t avoid getting a dog just for that reason, but also make sure you’re really ready to commit for the long haul.
There are so many dogs out there that need good homes but it’s important to look at your life situation to see if it’s truly feasible to bring one home. It’s a big commitment – one that’s ultimately very rewarding but also one that should be made with care and some forethought. If it’s really what you want and you think you could be a good pet owner then set a goal, make the changes needed in your life and go for it. Also remember that if you love dogs but don’t feel you can handle the responsibility you can volunteer at local shelters or become a pet sitter in your spare time. Dogs need love and care, and you can help provide that even if on a part-time basis.
Written by Emily Rankin. Almost ready for a dog? Cut expenses other ways, like car insurance. www.carinsurance.org.uk