There are many benefits to having a dog. It has been shown that they can improve our mental health, by reducing stress and anxiety, as well as keeping us fit and healthy by encouraging us to exercise more. Some may even be considered to become ESA (Emotional Support Animal) dogs to provide emotional and mental support to their owners. Dogs make great companions and they become part of your family and what’s more, your best friend.
You should also remember these benefits of being a dog owner come with responsibilities. It is, therefore, so important that you carefully consider a range of factors before you choose to get a dog to make sure you are making the right decision.
Here are 7 questions you should ask yourself before deciding to buy a dog.
1. Can you commit long term?
The first question you need to ask yourself is whether you’re in it for the long haul as the saying goes, “a puppy is forever, not just for Christmas”. You will be looking at anywhere between 10 and 15 years, depending on the breed of dog you choose to get. For example, with the average pug life expectancy of 13 years old, we have known of pugs that lived until the age of 18 years old. Dog ownership is a long term commitment and you need to be ready for it.
2. How much space do you have?
The next question you need to ask is “Do I have enough space for my furry friend?” Of course, this will depend on the breed you decide to get. Also keep in mind that as adorable as dogs are, they can be messy – very messy, especially when they are puppies. They can have an accident anywhere in the house. Some of them can be destructive, chewing and destroying things in your home like furniture, carpets and shoes. If this sounds like a nightmare to you, having a dog might not be the right choice for you.
3. Do you have time for a dog?
Another important consideration is whether you have the time to dedicate yourself to your new dog. For example, regular exercise is essential for dogs to avoid becoming overweight and maintain good overall health. You can help your dog to maintain a healthy weight with Visionary Pet low-carb dog food, but this should not be a replacement for exercise. Although some dogs will require more exercise than others, you will need to commit to daily exercising your dog whatever breed you get.
4. Does everyone in the family agree?
Being a dog owner is a big long-term commitment and it is so important that everyone in the household, whether that is just you and your partner or a larger family, is on board. Everyone needs to be committed to looking after your new family member. There may also be lifestyle adjustments that will need to be made. For example, you will need to consider what to do with your dog when you go on holiday. It is also important to clarify with your landlord beforehand whether they would allow pets if you live in rented accommodation. Finally, if you have any other pets already, think about how this new arrival may affect them.
5. Can you afford?
You should also bear in mind that dogs represent an investment. You may or may not pay anything for the dog itself, but the real cost comes afterwards. Food, accessories, vet bills, microchipping and pet insurance all add up. According to Wamiz, the lifetime costs of owning a dog is estimated to be $40,000 on average.
6. What breed is right for you?
Once you know for sure that getting a dog is the right choice for you, the next step is to decide on which breed of dog to get. Obviously, we love pugs but there are many different breeds of dog, with each of them having different characteristics, temperament and appearances. It is essential that you know what to expect from each breed and find one which best suits your lifestyle.
7. Adopt or buy?
Another potential factor to take into consideration before getting a dog is whether you should adopt or buy. Buying a puppy from a reputable breeder means you will be certain of choosing the breed you want and will have all the information you need relating the dog’s family history and potential health issues if there are any. On the other hand, adopting a dog from an animal shelter means you are giving one of the many dogs in need the loving home it deserves.