Adding a dog to your family is special, but it’s also a big responsibility. Here are just some of the things to consider when deciding whether you are ready to have a dog.
Dogs are called “man’s best friend” for a reason. They want our love and attention and don’t always understand why we are typing on our laptops rather than petting them or taking them for a walk. Think about whether you really have enough time to give a dog the care and attention that they deserve.
For example, most dogs need go out several times per day to relieve themselves. That may mean going out early in the morning and late at night, regardless of weather. Are you willing to get up at 6:00 in the morning to go out in freezing weather?
If you have a schedule that demands significant time away from home, such as work, you will need to consider where your dog will be while you are gone. Who will let your dog out during the day or take him for a walk? Will you have your dog in doggy day care? Will he need to stay in a crate?
Dogs require exercise, some more than others. Will you be able to take your dog for at least a 15-20 minute walk every day? Dogs with higher energy levels may need even more exercise. Consider the age and breed of the dog you are selecting to be sure you can provide the activity time he will need.
Many dogs need training to learn appropriate behaviors, particularly if you are getting a puppy. Training requires time, effort, and persistence, so consider whether you are willing to dedicate your time on a daily basis to properly train your dog. Are you willing to tolerate any behavior challenges while your dog is learning?
Even a routine visit to the veterinarian for vaccines can be expensive and so can preventative medicine for fleas/ticks and heartworm. It is also inevitable that a pet will get sick or injured from time to time. Make sure that these costs would be manageable and consider getting pet insurance to help with major expenses.
If you travel frequently, what will you do with your dog while you are away? Do you have friends or family who could sit for you? Can you afford to pay for a pet sitter or pet boarding? Is it possible to take your pet with you?
Having a pet is one of the most rewarding experiences there is. Just be sure that you’re ready before taking that step. You owe it to yourself and to your dog to provide a happy and healthy life.
If you decide the time is not right to adopt, consider fostering a dog or volunteering as a dog walker at the shelter. But if you are ready, the staff at the Brown County Humane Society can help you meet the dog that will best fit your lifestyle.