Adding a puppy to your family can be a fun and exciting time! It’s a new adventure and everyone involved can’t wait to bring home a new puppy. Before that can happen though, there are some things you should consider first. Don’t get caught up in the emotional whirlwind and buy a puppy on a whim. A lot of care and responsibility goes into raising a puppy and becoming a pet owner. After all, you are adding a new member to the family, and that requires commitment and love…and quite a few walks!
Here are nine things to consider before you buy a four-legged companion:
- The Breed
The breed of puppy you pick should reflect your current living situation, and why you’re getting a puppy. If you’re living in an apartment, a Great Dane is probably not in your future. They require a big yard to run off their energy, and when they’re puppies (and young dogs) they need a good 1-2 hours of exercise. Something else you probably didn’t think of is bath time. Can you imagine trying to get a Great Dane into an apartment-sized bathtub? So consider your family’s lifestyle, ages of children, and the space you have before you become a pet owner.
- Where to Find a Puppy
There are several ways you can go about finding a puppy. How you decide is up to you. You can look at local rescue shelters, or your city’s shelter, for a puppy. You could also buy from a breeder. This route can be a bit sketchy as puppy mills have flooded the market to make a quick buck. A reputable breeder will have lots of happy customers, and the environment will be clean and healthy. If you’re having trouble finding a breeder, ask a local veterinarian.
- Veterinary Costs
If you’ve ever owned a pet or know someone with one, then you know about the unforeseen emergencies that may occur. Then there’s also the cost of regular, routine visits for shots and check-ups. When you adopt a pet, you may have to get their first round of shots, or even spayed/neutered. If you adopt from a shelter, most of the time those costs have already been covered. Soon you’ll notice just how quickly vet trips and vet bills can add up, from emergencies to treating worms, to routine shots.
To help save on vet bills, you can consider pet insurance for dogs. It’s designed to help you cover unexpected veterinary expenses when your pet is sick or injured. Like most health insurance policies, you can compare and select the plan that will work best for you. The levels vary, covering things like accidents or illness, or even annual shots. Medical care for a pet owner can turn into a financial burden quickly, and a pet insurance plan can make a huge difference.
- Look for a Healthy Puppy
When you visit a breeder, you should pay attention to the health of the puppies. A healthy puppy will be energetic, alert, and perky. They should be pretty friendly, and not easily scared. Puppies that have runny noses or gunky eyes, or even a dull coat, are most likely not healthy.
Unless you got lucky and picked the most well-mannered puppy out of the lot, you’ll need to train them. Even the best behaved puppy will need basic obedience training. If you have a family, teaching them simple commands is a good measure for safety, along with just being adorable. Training takes time, and lessons add up quickly.
Sometimes a bath at home just doesn’t cut it. Fluffy and hairy breeds like huskies and Pomeranians require a lot of attention and maintenance for their coats. If you live in an apartment that doesn’t have the space for proper grooming, you’ll be taking trips to the groomer. If you bathe your own pet, you’ll need to buy the proper supplies. It’s just another thing to keep in mind.
- The Cleanup
The dreaded doggie doody cleanup is something every pet owner has to deal with. It’s a simple act of nature, but can be so overwhelming. Dog poop is gross, and as a dog owner, it is now your responsibility. But did you know there’s a service called residential pet waste removal? If you could pay someone else to deal with the pet waste cleanup, why not? You’ll have more time to enjoy with your four-legged companion!
- Pet supplies
Food, toys, medicine, grooming items, beds, leashes, collars, name tags, the list of pet supplies can go on and on. A pet really is a family member and have their own needs. The great thing about pet supplies is that they can come from anywhere. You can find good deals at garage sales or thrift stores to save on cash!
- Living with your new pet
Obviously you’ve considered living with a new pet, but have you really thought about it? If you travel often, where will your pet stay? Who will watch them? Do you have a friend or family member who can pet sit, or will you need to pay someone? Is anyone in your home allergic to pet dander? Do you have a good vacuum cleaner that can handle all the fur that will soon grace your home? These are just a few things to think about.
Adding a pet to the family is fun and exciting, but can be costly. Make sure you consider everything before bringing them home. Pets aren’t items that can be tossed or given away. They are truly a commitment and you should be ready for them!