Ohhhh, he is so CUTE! But that’s not the only thing that matters when you are considering bringing a dog into your home; whether they are a puppy or adult, dog number one or number three. There are several questions that you should ask yourself before you take that furry four legged creature home.
Is this dog the right breed for your family and lifestyle? There are actually many online “survey’s” you can fill out to help you determine what is the best breed of dog for your lifestyle and family. For example, a dog that requires a lot of grooming care may not be a good choice for someone who travels a great deal or works a lot. Consider the breeds attributes from possible medical needs (some dogs are more susceptible to certain illness than others) to grooming, to trainability. Do your research about a specific breed before you bring one home.
How messy is this breed of dog? Can you handle the mess of dog hair that has been shed or cleaning up puppy paw prints as they come inside after being outside to go “potty?” Or more importantly do you have the time it will take to clean up doggie messes while potty training? My Westie sheds quite a bit of hair until he gets his summer shave. It’s easy to sweep up and for me it’s better than finding little dog hairs on all my clothing. Only you can decide how much muss and fuss you can handle in your household.
Can you afford this dog? Dogs require a great deal of care, from the appropriate medical care and immunizations, spay or neutering to nutritional foods and treats. It’s almost like having a baby in the house as you decide on what dog gear you need from leashes and kennels to toys and bedding. The costs of these items can really add up, unfortunately causing far too many people to change their mind after they have brought a dog home.
Will your new dog fit get along with your current pet or children? Do you have children? Or maybe even pets? How will your dog get along with them? How will they get along with the new pet? Sometimes older dogs may find a new dog to be a stressful situation – but then again older children can too as they decide that they don’t want to be part of the training and care process for a new pet in the house.
Can you make the commitment that your new dog will need? Taking a pet home should be just like a marriage, “to death do us part,” and a “divorce” should be a last resort. It’s not like a boyfriend or girlfriend that you simply move on to the next one, leaving this one behind. Your dog learns to love and trust his family and can be horribly hurt by a decision to now longer have him as part of it. Will you be able to care and love this dog for his whole life?
There are a number of ways to “offset” the costs of a pet, if that is a concern. For example many stores like PetCo and Walgreen’s offer low cost immunizations to help you dog stay healthy. Many stores and dog food providers offer free samples and coupons to help with the costs of quality dog food, treats and gear. Many vet clinics offer low cost spay and neutering services, because they not only ensure that you don’t end up with a litter of pups you can’t care for but by doing so you may be able to avoid many health problems and diseases, actually keeping your dog healthy.
Take some time to consider these questions. Recently, no matter how adorable, sweet and smart my neighbors American Cocker Spaniel puppy was, I had to realize that he would probably not be a good fit for my family and my 8 year old West Highland White Terrier. He is still tempting us, since he right down the road, and I hope that soon he finds just the right home.