It’s important to understand that getting a dog in your family is a big decision which you can’t take it in a jiffy. So, spend a reasonable amount of time understanding what to know before getting a dog?
This way, you can save yourself, or should I say the furry four-legged angle from getting abandoned or being dropped at the shelter.
Being grown up around dogs, I know that getting a dog can be the best thing that can happen in your life or the other way entirely.
I have come across quite a considerable amount of people who have got dogs in their life without giving it a second thought and ended up dropping them at the shelter or abandoning them on the street which is a ruthless thing to do as it’s like dropping you own baby at the orphanage or on the road just because you failed to take care of it, how in-human is it?
With this blog, I want you to think about a few things before getting a dog home and avoid the situations mentioned above. So, grab a cup of coffee and read on to your new journey.
Here are a few things that you should know before getting a dog into your life:
1. Is it a decision without any forethought?
You need to scrutinize your decision before entering into a long-term commitment as on an average, a dog has a life span of 10-15 years (but, if you are a pet lover then time flies), so don’t get carried away and avoid taking impulsive decisions.
Here are a few examples of impulsive and irrational decisions in the form of responses that I collected from a few random people:
- “I want to get a dog because it’s so cute.”
- “I want a dog because it looks cool.”
- “Having a dog elevates my status in society.”
- “I can get attention from girls if I have a dog.”
- “I have read that dogs are the best companion, so I am getting a dog.”
- “Dogs are good for time pass.”
And the list goes on………
My sincere request would be to avoid such decisions and take the proper time to think it over. Visit the adoption center and spend time with dogs and gauge your excitement over a period. I would recommend that period to be at least two weeks.
2. Owning a dog is expensive.
Perhaps it is one of the most important things that you should know before getting a dog home.
It doesn’t matter if you choose to get a dog from a breeder or adopt it from a shelter, your expense sheet starts filling up even before you get a dog home as you must fulfill certain prerequisites like toys, leash, food supplies, doggy bowl just to name a few.
A quick search would help you estimate how much it would roughly cost on an annual basis, but in my opinion, it’s entirely subjective and varies, so I am not putting any figures.
Expenses on nutrition and vaccines are more on a pup from 6-16 weeks and require regular visits to your vet for checkups to ensure that your pooch is healthy.
After that, you should visit vet yearly for vaccines and checkups unless your furry friend gets sick or does something silly, which would require an urgent trip to a vet for surgery and can put a big hole in your pocket.
I am not scaring you, but this is something that happened with me when my buddy ate stones and started crying in the middle of the night, which freaked me out. I had to take him to the vet urgently, and he had to undergo an abdominal surgery as the stones got stuck in his lower intestine. The surgery alone cost me around $110, leave the post-op medicines and wound-dressing costs. So, you should be ready for situations like this.
My sincere advice would be to do a proper financial analysis of yours and then see how much is your residual savings annually, i.e., saving after all expenses.
If you can keep around $1300-$2000 aside for your dog without a hiccup other than emergency funds like in my case, then you are good on this.
I would also recommend all pet owners have pet insurance, which can save a lot of hiccups and financial burdens in any kind of emergencies.
There are a lot of pet insurance providers to choose from, but do some research before buying any pet insurance.
3. Is your neighborhood dog friendly?
I dare not forget to add this while talking about what to know before getting a dog because when I got my first rescued dog, I had to face a lot of heat from my neighbors because they hated dog barking sound and for this reason, I had to shift my house within a month after getting my first dog.
So, make sure that your neighbors won’t mind having a dog next door; otherwise, they will come out with silly reasons to pick up the fight and destroy your peace of mind.
Dogs are not meant to be couch potatoes and require proper exercise daily.
I would recommend at least 40 min walk daily to keep the blood circulation proper and keep a check on their energy.
Exercising your dog is crucial as a lack of exercise can result in various diseases, both mental like depression, anxiety, aggression, as well as physical like obesity, arthritis, heart problems, and many more.
Proper exercise helps to keep a check on various behavioral issues like restlessness, chewing your sofa, scratching, and creating a mess all around. As a bonus, it would drastically reduce your expenses on medical bills!
If you are someone who doesn’t like going for a walk alone, dogs can be your perfect companion for those long miles to cover.
It is essential to understand that pets are families, and it’s your responsibility to give time to your family.
Getting a dog creates a significant impact on your time-sheet, especially if it’s a puppy, as it requires a higher level of commitment.
Puppies require food three times a day and need to be house trained for which they have to be taken outside frequently for their nature calls to prevent any oopsies, which despite your best attempts you would have to face. It would again require a reasonable amount of time for cleaning up all the mess that your new furry friend did.
Getting up in the middle of your goodnight sleep frequently just because your new pup wants to pee or is feeling bored is kind of a ritual that all the pet owners go through.
You can consider adopting an adult dog from the shelter as most of the time, adult dogs are house trained, but that doesn’t let you reclaim the time as no matter what is your dog’s age, it would hate to be kept alone, who wouldn’t?
Remember that when you come home after a tiring day, it’s your furry friend who greets you first with all the love and happiness that has the energy to relieve yourself from all the tiredness.
Dogs have a pack mentality and, if kept alone, can lead to some serious behavioral issues like separation anxiety. Do a quick YouTube search on dog separation anxiety, and I am sure you would feel pity for their condition.
Again, something that you should know before getting a dog is shedding. Just like we humans shed some amount of hair every day, dogs too shed their hair. There is a lot of difference between our furry friends who are entirely covered in a fur-ball and us.
The amount of hair a dog can shed varies from breed to breed, and even the weather, for instance, dogs tend to shed more during summer. Various medical conditions are also responsible for hair fall in dogs.
So, getting a dog can mean more vacuuming and cleaning those tight unreachable corners because those are the places that get collected with all the doggy hairs.
I have come across many pet parents complaining about doggy hair invading their house.
However, that should not stop you from getting a dog as there are various ways to reduce shedding if not eliminate it like proper grooming of your furry friend.
7. Allergies or any physical restrictions:
One of the most important things that you should know before getting a dog is to make sure that you don’t have any kind of physical limitations (like disability) or allergies associated with pets like sneezing, swelling, or any uneasiness.
You can identify this by visiting any shelter and spend some quality time with furry friends and understanding them. I would recommend this exercise for at least two weeks before getting a dog home for various reasons.
If at all you have any allergic reaction, then I would strictly suggest you refrain from getting a dog and instead go for an aquarium.
8. Check vet availability before getting a dog:
Make sure you have access to good vets in your area so that you don’t have to travel long distances for vaccines, regular checkups, or any emergency; otherwise, it would cause a lot of trouble to you and your furry friend.
Even before getting a dog, it would be good to visit a few vets around your area and have a discussion with them about your decision to get a dog. I am sure you will get some useful, valuable inputs and also a chance to screen your go-to vet for all your doggie care.
Training your dog is one of the most important aspects of being a dog parent, and it starts right from day 1. It requires a great deal of time and effort with a lot of patience.
There are multiple ways to train your dog, like from a professional whom I would not recommend for various reasons like it’s expensive.
Moreover, it’s good to train your dog on your own as that helps in creating good bonding and lets you and your furry friend understand each other.
Training would have a profound effect on your journey of being a pet parent.
Something that you should know before getting a dog is that being a pet parent puts a lot of responsibility on your shoulders like maintaining health (daily walk, regular checkups, vaccines) and hygiene (bathing, grooming, trimming nails, brushing teeth are just a few of them) of your furry friend.
Your pet is different from you in certain ways; for example, what is good for us can be poisonous for them like chocolates, caffeine, grapes, etc. So, you should be aware of all the do’s and don’ts.
Make sure to make your home pet friendly. When I say pet friendly, I mean make sure that you don’t have pieces of Legos or anything loose lying around which can smoothly go in your furry friend’s mouth as your furry friend wouldn’t mind gulping it, make sure you don’t have some exotic poisonous plants in your garden.
So, don’t forget to puppy proof your house before welcoming your new family member.
11. Being a pet parent has some good days as well as bad days:
You will find a lot of cute and overwhelming experiences that pet owners share on platforms like YouTube, Instagram which I feel is somewhat decisive because most of the videos or vlogs I have come across only show the happy side and I believe that half-truth is poisonous.
So, don’t blindly believe in those fairy tales and try to understand the other side of the story.
Being a pet parent can, at times, put you in situations that would be a real test of your patience. So, if you can keep your cool and handle such situations calmly, then you are good to go.
My furry friend was a dinosaur hiding inside a cute little furball when he was a pup. Destroying was his favorite time pass, and it took a lot of patience along with proper training to stop that behavior, and now, he is an obedient and energetic child.
12. Do you travel a lot?
If the answer to the above question is yes, then take a step back and rethink about your decision of being a pet parent because it’s essential to know before getting a dog that dogs don’t like being left alone and this can cause a lot of trouble to you and especially to your furry friend.
I have sacrificed so many tour plans because I didn’t want to leave my buddy alone or in a neighbor’s house.
So, if you travel a lot, then my advice would be to avoid being a pet parent unless you are willing to take your furry friend along with you, or there is someone to take care of your pooch when you are not around.
13. Do you have kids?
If you are adopting an adult dog from a shelter, then I would strongly recommend you to check the dog’s behavior around the kids for any kind of aggression because there are good chances that the dog might have had an abusive owner before and might have come across some bad experiences associated with kids because of which the dog can be aggressive around children.
So, I would highly suggest you check for any aggression associated with kids.
Now you are ready to answer- What to know before getting a dog?
Talking about all the difficulties of owning a dog, I want to tell you that if you feel you can pass the test of being a pet parent, then go ahead!! You will appreciate your new family member and realize that the only thing wrong with the dogs is that they can’t live forever.
If you have decided to bring a fur-ball home, then I would suggest you adopt a dog from the shelter, and I am sure you will not regret it.
If you want to get it from a breeder and you are not sure which breed to go for, then you can look at a few dog breed selector websites, but don’t entirely rely on them. You should also go and talk to few breeders and tell them about your requirements, and they should be able to help, but please try to see the parents of the pup that you are planning to get as that will help you to understand how your furry friend is going to be in terms of both look as well as behavior.
Discussing with the vet would also add value to your decision-making process as they can suggest you breed-specific to the environment you are in. For example, few breeders can push breeds on which they can make more money say for instance Huskies, but if you stay in a place that is hot and humid, then it will create a big-time problem for you and your fur-ball as Huskies are suitable for the cold environment since they have a thick coat.
You can also check out my blog on Male vs. Female dogs.
So, take your decision correctly and do let me know in the comment section about it ?, also feel free to ask me any doubts, and I will try my best to answer it.
I am a pet blogger at MPD. When I am not writing, I am sipping on coffee and spending my time with my family. You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram.