BEFORE you buy or adopt a puppy or dog, it is necessary to STOP & CONSIDER that pet ownership is a big responsibility which requires your FULL COMMITMENT. Owning a pet requires, love, attention, commitment, time, financial stability, proper housing, health consideration, etc…
It’s recommended that you seriously consider adopting a rescue dog over buying a dog . There are so many wonderful dogs just waiting for a nice family and home! Buying from puppy stores or puppy mills is never a good idea & just promotes needless overbreeding and more homeless puppies & dogs. A reputable breeder (who breeds to improve the breed & doesn’t breed for the money) can be found via established dog organizations. Backyard breeders (the average pet owner that breeds for fun or profit, deemed not reputable), are NOT a good idea. Also consider adopting a pet (whether it’s for free or a cost involved). Check your local shelter. Dog organizations & rescue groups can be found online as well.
PLEASE READ the following advice & tips to assist in making your important decision:
THE NEED FOR A DOG ~
Ask yourself “WHY” you want a dog. Do you want a dog for companionship? Or do you need a dog for protection? Perhaps you’re interested in participating in sports with your dog. It’s important to answer this question first then research the breeds to fit your needs. There are specific breeds for specific needs. Large dogs or very active dogs don’t make good apartment dogs. Several breeds require large yards or areas for activity, other breeds make excellent hunting dogs or sporting dogs. Some breeds are more suitable for apartments or small homes and make great lap dogs or family dogs. Other breeds make better dogs for protection. RESEARCH dog breeds to find the best breed to suit your needs whether it’s a purebred or mix.
DO YOU HAVE THE TIME available to you that is necessary to ensure proper care of your pet? It’s important to remember that a dog left at home or outside while you’re away all day or night, is not fair to the animal and does not make for a happy dog.
Are you willing to COMMIT to the dog for it’s entire life? How much time of each day are you willing to devote to the dog?
When a dog ages, will you be prepared to cope with his needs in his old age? You should consider increased health issues that can go along with a senior dog. A dog will spend his life trying to please an owner. The least we can do is support him in his golden years.
It’s important to remember that puppies require much more work than adult dogs. You must make the appropriate time for training, classes, socialization, house breaking, activities, etc… This is a very important stage in your puppy’s life, as it shapes the adult dog it will become. Reinforcing this training throughout the dog’s life is also an important commitment. A trained, obedient, centered dog, is a happy dog, which also makes for a happy dog owner! Walking or exercising your dog daily is a must! A dog with no excercise will become unhealthy & unbalanced mentally, emotionally & physically.
CAN YOU AFFORD A DOG? Buying the dog is not the biggest cost that you need to consider. Proper care of a dog over it’s lifetime costs money.
MEDICAL costs (vet checkups, spay or neuter surgery, yearly shots, medications, medical emergencies, etc.) and can be quite costly. It’s impossible to predict your dog’s medical future so it’s best to be prepared.
FOOD costs (the bigger the dog, the bigger the cost).
YOUR MEDICAL ISSUES ~
Do you have any medical issues which could prohibit you from taking care of your dog or puppy?
Do you have ALLERGIES or a MEDICAL CONDITION that could result in you having to give up your dog? It’s important to consider any mobility or medicatl restrictions you may have. While some breeds are described as hypoallergenic, no breed is absolutely 100% hypoallergenic. If you have any concerns or questions, it is best to consult with your physician before considering a pet.
ENVIRONMENT and/or HOUSING ~
DO YOU HAVE THE REQUIRED HOUSE or ENVIRONMENT for a dog? Chaining a dog in the back yard or couped up in a kennel all day is not proper housing. Also, there are many breeds that should be kept as house pets that don’t do well being kept couped up outside. It’s cruel to a dog to leave him outside all the time. Alternately, a dog owner should never release a dog to roam free without supervision. Dogs are very social animals! Pets should be included as part of the family pack. If you cannot make a dog a family member, keep him safely inside when you are not home and let him have plenty of exercise in a safely fenced area, then you’ll need to reconsider getting a dog. Neglected dogs are more prone to become nuisance barkers and can lead to serious issues with the dog and/or your neighbors.
Large dogs or very active dogs don’t necessarily make good apartment dogs. Several breeds (large and small) require large yards or areas for activity, other breeds make excellent hunting dogs or sporting dogs. Some breeds are more suitable for apartments or small homes and make great lap dogs or family dogs. Other breeds make better dogs for protection. RESEARCH dog breeds to find the best breed to suit your needs whether it’s a purebred or mix.
YOUR LIFESTYLE ~
WHAT IS THE LIFESTYLE OF YOU OR YOUR FAMILY? Do you like to spend time doing activities like camping, hiking, walking? Or are you a low activity type of person or family? Some breeds require a lot of exercise daily – both physical and mental. A Boston Terrier would do well with a 30 minute walk while a Border Collie would require far more daily activity! Research breeds thoroughly before getting a dog or puppy. There are many books devoted to specific breeds. There are dog clubs that have websites online with plenty of information & resources available to you.
All dogs require grooming ~ some more than others! (Even hairless breeds need grooming!) Grooming for some breeds are a lot for the average person to handle. This is when a professional groomer is required. All dogs shed to some degree or another (even dogs described as “non-shedding” will shed even if minutely). This is to be highly considered when regarding your housekeeping. Some breeds require only a few minutes brushing once a week and care of nails, ears, teeth.
Do you have experience in owning a dog or will this be your first one? Many breeds are NOT appropriate for the inexperienced or first-time dog owner. Impulsive buying may get you into a world of trouble! Seeing a celebrity dog on tv or in the movies or basing your wants on the look of the dog is WRONG! Many dog owners have given up their dogs because the dog wasn’t what they thought it would be. It’s IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND THE BREED!
LONG TERM OWNERSHIP ~
Consider if you will be expanding your family. Are you single, married, with or without children? Be prepared to do what it takes to ensure the dog is ready for the new arrival. Consider if you will be moving after getting your dog. Can the dog adapt to your new home and/or environment? Many pets are given up due to new child in the family or the need to move. CONSIDER THE LONG-TERM NEEDS OF YOUR DOG.
DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFORE GETTING A DOG OR PET ~
Everyone has an opinion & everyone thinks their breed is the best. BUT, what is right for someone else may not be right for you or your family. Consider experience & advice of your other friends & family as well as a veterinarian (NOT RELYING ON one opinion solely)in ASSISTING your decision as well as RESEARCHING DOG BREEDS & CARE online or in your local library. REMEMBER to make the decision that BEST SUITS YOUR NEEDS. Adding a dog to your family is a very emotionally rewarding experience that comes with responsibility. Kindly consider all of the above in this article, before you run out and get a dog.