Owning a dog is part of people’s dream in the western world. Along with buying a house in the suburbs, working an office job, and owning a second car, a family dog is a symbol of a happy, middle-class life. However, a canine companion is not right for everyone. People who get a canine pet without being ready often face painful choices later. If you’re thinking of getting a dog, please sit down and really think over these 5 questions first, they can also be called the checklist for buying a puppy:
Is a dog really the right pet for you?
Here’s one of the things to consider in the buying a puppy checklist. In our culture, “pet” usually means dog or cat. But there are dozens of other household critters that make great companions. Rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, mice, fancy rats, hedgehogs, hamsters, gerbils, sugar gliders, chinchillas, pot-bellied pigs, miniature horses, poultry chicken, birds, lizards, snakes, fish, snails, and even spiders make great pets for many people!
Before choosing to spend the next decade of your life with a dog, at least look into other types of pets.
Have you thought about why you want a dog?
It sounds obvious, but your main reason for getting a dog should be that you want to own a dog! Some people get dogs to guard their homes without much interest in dog ownership. If this is the case, an alarm system offers the same benefit without the huge commitment.
Others may want to help their local animal shelter. If this is the case, consider donating money instead. You can still help them and it will be a lot cheaper and less bothering for you.
Many animal shelters take credit card donations online now. Some even let you make tributes, memorial donations, and thank you gifts though their websites, all safely through your credit card. Make sure you understand why getting a dog is important to you.
Are you ready to commit for 15 years or longer?
According to The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, dogs can live 10 to 15 years. Having a dog is not so different from having a child. If you’re not sure you can take care of one for the next 18 years, wait. And just to remind you, keeping a dog is work; from grooming to walking and everything between
Could you or another adult spend at least an hour with a dog every day?
An hour can be thought of as the minimum a dog needs from their owner each day. This should include exercise, such as walking outside or playing with toys. Dogs left alone all day usually don’t behave well—can you blame them?
Think about who might be spending the most time at home with the dog. According to the non-profit group Labrador Retriever Rescue, Inc., when a family adopts a dog, the duty of taking care of it often falls on the mother. That makes sense—she is often the adult who is home the most —but is it fair to her?
If you can’t spend at least an hour with the canine friend, and your adult spouse or partner is either unwilling or unable to, don’t get the dog. Children can’t be expected to take on this duty. They can’t even legally take care of themselves yet.
Could you afford to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars each year on your Canine?
According to The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the annual cost to take care of a small dog is $737. This includes food, health insurance, toys, and license. The cost is $894 for a medium-sized dog and $1,040.31 for a large canine.
These numbers don’t include spaying or neutering, collar, leash, carrier, or crate. If you live in an apartment that charges “pet rent,” this could bring the cost up by hundreds more.
Your pet may also develop special health or behavioral needs. The dog may need a special diet, health treatment, or type of training that costs hundreds or thousands of dollars more. Even if this fails, putting a canine down can cost hundreds of dollars, too.
Don’t think your canine companion will be healthy just because it is now a puppy or youngster. Just like people, dogs can develop problems suddenly. If you’re not sure you can cover these expenses, wait.
Dogs deserve homes where they are wanted, looked after, and financially supported. If you can’t give your canine friend this type of home, please consider a pet that is easier to take care of, cheaper, and has a naturally shorter life span. Consider these checklist before buying a puppy.
Feel free to check out this guide for a financial breakdown