ARE YOU READY TO ADOPT A DOG?
Having a furry friend in your life is a bigger commitment than most anticipate. Not all lifestyles suit the needs of a dog either. If you’re looking for a companion but aren’t sure if it’s the right time, ask yourself the following questions to gauge and see.
Would my current living situation be comfortable for a dog?
If you live in a small apartment or condo, you won’t want to look for a high-energy dog or perhaps one that’s a larger breed. You want to make sure that they can live comfortably with you and have enough space, indoors and outdoors, where you live. Do you have room for a bed or crate? Do you have a space where you can put their food and water bowls? Do you have additional storage for other items like at-home grooming supplies, dog toys, dog treats, and other necessities? Do you have roommates or family members in your household that might be bothered by a dog being around? Knowing that your home is a safe space for an animal is one of the first steps to figuring out if you’re ready to have one.
Does my schedule allow for the time and attention a dog needs?
All dogs need exercise and room to play. A flexible schedule and limited obligations would be best for a dog owner. If you’re one who constantly travels for work, works long shifts including nights and weekends, or doesn’t have a lot of free time on your hands at the moment, it might be the right idea to hold off on adopting. Maybe there’s a better time of year to adopt and get the dog acclimated to its new environment, lifestyle, and schedule with you instead; or maybe get a dog who doesn’t require as much exercise and can be comfortable lounging around all day while you’re at work. No dog likes to be alone all the time, so make sure that your schedule can permit time to devote to your pup.
Do I have the budget to put toward dog ownership?
Lots of costs are associated with dog ownership. Think about the budget you currently have and if a dog might be too expensive for you right now. To help figure out if you have the money, make a list of some of the expenses that you’ll take on when you own a dog: food, treats, vet visits, vaccinations, boarding or doggie day care, training classes, essentials like collars and leashes, grooming, spaying/neutering surgery, etc. It helps to know ahead of time what your expectations are so you can better plan ahead. Of course, not all financial commitments can be predicted (cough, cough - emergency vet bills). Know that additional funds may be needed from time to time, and be sure you have the money to cover those costs so you don’t put yourself in a stressful situation.
Have I done enough research to know what kind of dog is right for me?
There are so many breeds of dogs in the world. You should absolutely do your research to find out what kind of breed or mix may suit you. Are you more active and can handle a dog that needs daily long walks? Do you like to be outdoors and want a dog that’s as adventurous as you are? Do you want to be able to take your dog with you in public? Does your dog need to be safe around children or family members? Are you ready for a long-haired dog who needs extra time grooming and bathing or would you prefer a short-haired dog that needs less hygienic attention? All of these questions can prompt you to figure out if you’re ready to become a responsible dog owner.
Of course, these are not the only questions you need to consider when thinking about adopting a dog, but it’s a great start. You are the only person who can really dictate whether or not you are ready to have a furry family member! It’s heartbreaking to see a dog returned to the animal shelter when owners are too quick to adopt and don’t think about the consequences or outcomes. Be sure to check yourself and dig deep to decide if you’re ready before you fall in love with a pair of puppy dog eyes.
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