Bringing a new dog into your life and home is a huge decision and a major commitment. Before you start the process, it’s important to make sure that you are ready for a dog – remember that the cute and cuddly puppy you can’t resist will grow up into an adult dog and you’re going to have to be ready for an average of thirteen years of daily walks, attention, training and overall putting your dog’s needs first.
In addition to making sure that you are ready for the commitment, it’s important to have a clear idea on the cost of dog ownership; you don’t stop spending when you buy a puppy or pay an adoption fee – you’ll need to make sure that you can comfortably afford food, a bed, collar and lead, toys, training classes, dog walkers or doggy daycare fees, pet sitters, and anything else that your dog might need. If you’ve weighed it all up and decided that it’s the right time to welcome a dog into your home, now’s the time to figure out which type of dog is right for you.
Before you choose a dog, there are several factors that you will need to consider. Examine your current lifestyle and consider the adjustments that you will be willing to make for a dog. Consider the needs of your family – especially if you have children or any other pets living at home with you. Consider any allergies that you or a family member might have.
Breeder or Shelter?
One of the first questions that you will probably ask yourself is whether you want to get a puppy from a breeder or adopt a dog from a shelter. More and more people are choosing to adopt dogs from shelters since they want to be able to give a once-abandoned dog a loving home for life. Bear in mind that dogs end up in shelters for a multitude of different reasons and just because a dog is in a shelter doesn’t always mean that they have problems. It could be because their owner has passed away or had to make the difficult decision to rehome them because they didn’t have the time.
If you have your heart set on a puppy, going to a breeder might be your first idea but it’s also worth not ruling out shelters completely, as many do have puppies up for adoption too.
Do some breed research and consider the size of dog that you want and will be a good fit for your household and lifestyle. You might already know that you want a cuddly little lap dog that you can carry around, or perhaps you love large or giant dog breeds. Along with personal preferences, think about the environment that you can provide the dog and whether or not it will be suitable. You might love Great Danes but getting one might not be the best idea if you live in a small flat. If you can’t decide, a medium-sized dog is a good choice.
It’s no secret that some dogs have more energy than others, so consider the amount of time and energy that you will have available to dedicate to exercising your dog and providing them with ample chances to burn off their energy. A dog’s level of activity is often determined by their breed but remember that dogs do have their own personalities so you can’t rely on breed alone.
Some dogs might have less energy than others of the same breed. Bear in mind that regardless of their breed or size, every dog will need regular walks and exercise so make sure that you can provide this. If you know that you can only commit to one short walk per day, it might be best to opt for a breed that typically has lower energy levels. On the other hand, if you’re highly active and looking for a dog that can be your jogging partner or run alongside you when you’re cycling, consider a high-energy dog like a Weimaraner or Labrador.
Every dog will need basic grooming to keep their coat in good condition but some will need more than others depending on their coat type. A short-haired terrier, for example, will probably be fine with regular brushing, occasional bathing, and a professional groom every once in a while, but on the other hand, a Husky will need regular professional grooms and a lot of brushing to keep their coat in top condition and prevent it from matting.
If you have a dog with hair that continuously grows, you’ll need to factor in the cost of routine professional grooming and clipping. Short-haired, smooth-coated dogs tend to shed a lot, so be prepared for the extra cleaning that it might bring. Dogs with long, floppy ears are really cute but bear in mind that they tend to be more prone to getting ear infections, so you’ll need to be ready to provide some regular, thorough ear cleanings. Do some research into the grooming needs of dog breeds that you like and determine which is the best fit for you.
Another factor that you’ll need to consider is the age of the dog that you want to get. Puppies are adorable but they will also require the greatest amount of attention and training, particularly during the first six months. You’ll need to be prepared to dedicate a lot of time to potty training your new puppy and raising it right. Be ready for dealing with accidents in the house and the possibility that your growing pup might start chewing and gnawing on your personal belongings and furniture. While these problems can be resolved with consistent training, you’ll need to have a lot of patience.
On the other hand, getting an adult dog can be an excellent choice, especially if you want to have a good idea of their attitude, energy level, and temperament from the start. However, bear in mind that not all adult dogs are well-trained, so you might have to put in some training at the start. Welcoming a senior dog into your home can be a great way to bring them joy in their golden years and it’s highly rewarding since many senior dogs are less likely to be adopted and end up living the rest of their life in a shelter.
Finally, consider the regular care that you want to give your dog. Along with walks and regular exercise, consider your lifestyle and whether or not you will need to pay for doggy daycare services or hire a dog walker to come and exercise and spend some time with your dog so that they are not alone all day while you are at work. Consider the type of food that you want to give your dog; generally speaking, any dog can benefit from a raw food diet and this is often the best type of food to give if you want to make sure that your dog is getting all the right nutrients. A Bella & Duke raw dog food subscription is a great way to make sure that your dog eats well and you can use the Bella and Duke website to determine exactly what your dog should be eating to stay healthy and happy.
Welcoming a dog into your home is a huge commitment of your time and energy, and if you get a puppy, you could have your dog for over a decade. Be sure to consider these factors to make sure that the dog you choose to bring home is the right fit for you.