Adopting a dog is an important decision and is one that requires a lot of consideration. In deciding whether or not you are ready to adopt a dog, you must take your time, energy, family, finances, and home situation into account. An average dog lives for 10 to 15 years, so it's not only important to consider your short-term circumstances but your potential long-term circumstances as well. This is especially true if you are planning to adopt a puppy or young adult dog.
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Consider your financial commitment
Are you ready to adopt a dog? Your finances should be one of the first things you consider. Not only is it pertinent to consider how much money you have to spend on adopting a dog but it's essential to ensure you have the financial resources available to care for your dog once you get her home.
You'll need money to prepare your home for your dog. You'll need to buy her a crate, toys, food, training treats, a leash and harness, food and water bowls, bedding, and a license. If you are adopting a puppy, you may also need to purchase puppy pads and pay for obedience classes or a trainer.
How will you pay for your dog's veterinary care? Will you purchase pet insurance? If so, there are plans with varying levels of coverage and deductibles. If you don't plan to purchase pet insurance, will you create an emergency savings account for your dog to account for unexpected expenses that arise?
Consider your time and energy
In asking yourself, "Am I ready for a dog?" it's also important to consider how much time and energy you'll have to devote to your pet. Do you have a busy work schedule? Are you required to travel for work often? How busy is your family life?
Dogs need more than water, food, and an occasional walk. Dogs are social creatures and require regular interaction with you and other members of your family. Your dog will need regular walks, play sessions, training sessions, and a consistent schedule. If your dog doesn't receive enough interaction with you and other family members, he may develop behavioral issues.
If you are planning to adopt a puppy or a dog who is not yet housetrained, will you have the time and energy to housetrain him? While you're away, do you have someone you trust who can take your dog out during the day to use the bathroom and go for a walk?
Consider your family members
Having a pet is a great way to teach children responsibility and how to treat animals, but you need to keep your children in mind when deciding whether you are ready to adopt a dog. If you have small children, it is generally recommended that you don't adopt young puppies. An adult dog is a more appropriate choice for households with small children. Additionally, toy breeds are not generally recommended for homes with young kids. Instead, opt for a medium- or large-breed dog.
Puppies are not recommended for households with small children because puppies have incredibly sharp toenails and teeth. A puppy may inadvertently bite or scratch a child, resulting in accidental injury. Toy breeds are not recommended because they do not deal with clumsy or rough handling very well. They are usually quicker to bite in these situations than larger-breed dogs. No matter the dog's age or size, though, you should supervise all interactions between a dog and small children.
Consider your future plans
Are you ready to adopt a dog? In deciding this, you must consider both your current and potential long-term circumstances. Do you plan to get married? Do you plan to have children? How does the dog get along with children or other pets? Are you planning to move in the future? How will your potential long-term plans affect your ability to care for a dog?
Adopting a dog is a lifetime commitment. You must consider your potential long-term plans for your life and evaluate if they will allow you to properly care for your dog, giving her the time and energy she needs and deserves.