5 Simple questions to ask yourself before getting a dog
Do you have what it takes to own a dog? Here are 5 requirements you should fulfill before doing so.
Dogs! There’s a lot to love about these loyal, affectionate and cuddly creatures. It’s no wonder so many of us have made dogs our first choice in pet companionship, they bring a ton of joy, unconditional love and adventure to our lives… and as you read, there will be some innocent kid nagging their parents incessantly for a beautiful pup, like so many of us had.
However, as amazing as these animals are, they are a long term commitment that should not be taken lightly. And just like any life changing event, you have to consider carefully if you are in a position to handle the responsibilities.
But once you’ve chosen to become a dog owner, provide them with the best care, they deserve to get as much love as they give.
So before getting yourself one or a few, ask yourself these five simple questions to know if you’re truly ready:
1. Are you COMMITTED?
Dogs are a big long-term commitment, with an average lifespan of about 10 to 13 years depending on several variables, such as the breed and care of the dog. Once you have opted to get one, they become very dependent on you. This will entail taking care of them in every phase of their lives, not only when they are young and healthy, but especially when they are older and require extra care and love.
One of the biggest responsibilities of a dog owner is to properly train your dog or pup! Your dog’s behavior will be a reflection of your training, so it’s imperative that you instill some form of discipline. There will always be an adjustment period after you get a dog or pup, the older they are, the longer it will take for them to be trained. Pups learn a lot faster, but both will require patience and consistency. A trained dog is a happy dog, and a happy dog is a happier you.
2. Do you have the TIME?
Dogs require regular exercise, or they can create a lot of trouble out of sheer frustration, this could include them chewing on your favorite things. Big dogs in particular require a lot more mental and physical stimulation on a regular basis. If you have less than one hour a day, you shouldn’t have a big dog. The ideal amount of exercise time that should be dedicated to your dog, is around two hours to burn up energy and stimulate their minds, rain or shine.
You can walk, hike, bike or play with them, It;s a lot of fun and great for your health too.
Socializing your dog is also very important, try to take them to the dog parks to interact with other dogs and with other humans… it shapes their personality and how they deal with a social environment.
3. Are you ready FINANCIALLY?
Owning a dog can be very expensive! Food for instance is a regular expense...there are also toys, pet care and especially health care. Medications, vaccine and accidents can really impact your budget. If you do not have a good dog insurance, it can be even worse when they get sick, and they will get sick every once in awhile. Providing them with the best possible care, without insurance can put you in a tight financial bind.
Dogs don’t speak, so diagnosing is very hard! Watching a dog in distress is one of the most helpless feelings you can have and even more when you’re not financially prepared.
4. Do you have a good SUPPORT SYSTEM?
A good support system is needed for both you and your dog. Friends, family or even hired assistance that can take care of your dog when you can’t, is important. Your dogs should also be comfortable with them as well.
If you have family and friends, that’s awesome! But always have a contact number of a good professional, if you need to reach out to them.
5. Are you MENTALLY and EMOTIONALLY ready?
Having a dog can change your life dramatically and you need to ensure that you are emotionally and mentally prepared. In the initial stage of getting a dog, there will be a period where you will have to adjust your life to match the needs of your dog, and this you have to be really prepared for.
There will also be a shuffling of priorities, vacations will have to be planned with them in mind. Going out and leaving your dogs alone for lengthy periods will have to be considered and the frequency. The reality is that you will have to schedule quite a few things around your dogs.
During their puppy stage, you may even have emotional breakdowns because they can be very challenging to train. It can be frustrating, until you adjust to the new normal which takes time, but once done, you’ll have the most fun loving companion.
Ready or not, your life will change forever! In the best possible ways…but before you go out and get that adorable pup, think about it, and think about it some more! You’re ready when you say YES to all the above.