5 things to think about before you get a dog

Let’s talk about puppies. They are cute and awesome and are the embodiment of the word “aaaw”. But it’s not as easy as it seems. I’ve seen quite a few owners who realized all too late that they didn’t really think this whole thing through. Having a dog means you are responsible for another being. You need to know what you are getting yourself into and plan everything properly.

So, before you get a dog, there are a few points I’d like you to think about. It’s not what breed you should get or if you should buy a puppy or find a shelter dog. That all comes later.

I would like you to think about these 5 points:

  • Why do you want a dog?
  • Will you have enough time?
  • How about your finances?
  • Do you or someone in your household have a medical condition?
  • What would your life with a dog look like

It’s really important to think about stuff like this before you get a dog or a cute little puppy… Let me explain…

cute black and white puppy - before you get a dog

1. Why oh why…​

Let me start by saying that the “why” is the most important point.

If you actually don’t want a puppy and are just giving in to your children’s demands, you might be setting yourself up for a lot of trouble. Or it might be an awesome decision – if your children are really ready. However, before you get a dog, you need to have an honest family discussion. You have to be sure your kids are capable of taking care of a small puppy.

Like most vets, I’m not ok with people having dogs as a substitute for children. First of all, dogs are not small humans, they see the world differently. They ARE different. I’m all for getting a dog as a companion. That actually has many scientifically proven benefits for you. Just please don’t make the mistake of treating your pet like a small child. It can end in a disaster. Get a book on canine behavior. Make sure you understand them before you get a dog.

Secondly, dogs are not happy when treated like humans, believe me. Some can even develop stress-related health problems.

You really need to be honest with yourself.

There was an awesome TV series called It’s Me or the Dog with trainer Victoria Stilwell. If you want to know how bad can it get if you treat your dog like a human, I highly recommend watching it 🙂

Being single and wanting a dog as a companion? Go for it. Having a dog as a new family member? Awesome. Wanting a buddy for walks and to cuddle with? Yes. Just remember a dog is a dog and deserves to be accepted as such.

2. Time flies by…​

Dogs are pack creatures. As a species, they have an instinctive, deeply ingrained compulsion to gather with others. They need company to be happy. It’s crucial for their well-being.
This means you need to have time for them. For walks, for play, for training, for visits to a vet…

Let me ask you a few questions. Will you leave your dog alone for more than 8 hours a day? Will you have the time to walk him for at least an hour every day? Will you have the time to take your puppy to a vet regularly? Will you have the time for a few hours of puppy/dog training course every week?

These are important questions you need to consider before you get a dog.

Sometimes people think that having a bigger dog in a small apartment is bad for the animal. I have a friend who had a German Shepherd in a tiny 1-bedroom apartment and it was the happiest dog in the world. In the morning, before she went to work, they spent 1 hour outside walking and playing. As soon as she came back from work they went to a training class or into the nearby woods. And they went for a short before-bedtime walk in the evening. Tiny apartment and a big dog? Not a problem at all 🙂

You need to have enough time for your pet.

3. Let’s talk money…​

Having a pet will cost you money. There’s no way around it. When you think about it, it’s pretty obvious, yet people tend to forget to take it into consideration. How much depends on many factors – where you live, what breed you want to get…

You can read more about the financial part in my post How much does having a dog cost.

Before you get a dog, you need to set aside a budget for pet care, pet health, and medical emergencies.

4. Other people living with you…​

If you want to get a puppy, you should consider other people living with you.

Do you or someone else living with you have some sort of allergy? Or maybe some other medical condition? Please talk to a doctor first.

From my experience, people with other types of allergies tend to have problems with animals as well. For example, if you have a hay allergy, in time you may also develop an animal allergy.

Also, if you live with your older fragile grandma, getting a big enthusiastic Hovawart puppy is probably not the best idea 🙂

5. Everyday life…​

As the last exercise, I want you to try to imagine your everyday life with a dog. Do your research. You should know a bit about dog behavior, dog training, and pet care before you get a dog.

Now sit down and try to imagine your life with dog. The whole thing – getting up every 2 hours to train your puppy to do his business outside, the walks in the rain, cleaning all kinds of “accidents”, driving to a training lesson when you’re so tired from work all you want to do is fall asleep on your couch watching Netflix…

And now my last question – are you still excited? 🙂

If your answer is yes despite some not so comfortable situations, you are ready to get your new best friend 🙂

Now comes the funny part about which breed to choose, which things to buy… 🙂

If you want to learn more about pet health, you can sign up for my newsletter. Now you can get a free pet care planner as a bonus 🙂

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