This is the question so many of us will ask ourselves at one point or another. Whether it’s your friend’s cute puppy photos, your neighbor’s adorable dog, or just the thought that you might like to have some company at home, getting a dog shouldn’t be a snap decision. We’re going to talk you through the questions you should ask to answer the question: Should I get a dog?
Can I afford a dog?
And no, we don’t mean can you afford fancy breeder fees. Bringing home a dog doesn’t have to be expensive, but you do need to be prepared for some regular expenses to care for your dog. This is probably the biggest thing to consider and we’ll break down all of the things to consider when budgeting for a dog.
First of all, your dog will need medical care – both routine vaccinations and treatment in the case of illness or injury.
The AKC estimates that first year puppy vaccines will cost you about $100, but this will vary by location. Find a local vet and give them a call to get an idea of the costs associated with bringing home a puppy. Ours offers a year-long puppy package that includes all of their vaccines, plus a discount on sick visits.
Puppies have both weak immune systems and are known to get into things that they shouldn’t. While much of this can be mitigated by puppy-proofing, even the best dog parents experience worrisome incidents. Consider if the ongoing cost of pet insurance is worth it to avoid a shocking vet bill in case of accident or illness.
Should I get pet insurance?
I’ve had so many conversations with fellow pet owners and it seems people are split right down the middle. Pet Insurance is just like all insurance – the expense can seem like a burden right up until the moment you have a major medical incident with your pup. There are a ton of options available for pet insurance these days with varying deductibles and premiums.
I wouldn’t dare recommend a type of food to you here, but I would recommend talking to your vet about their suggestions. Food does not have to be expensive, but it is a necessity and something that should be worked into your budget.
The cost of doggie daycare or dog walkers
If you work outside of the home for large chunks of time, you might need to make arrangements for your dog to be walked during the day. If your dog has a lot of energy, consider a doggy daycare situation to keep them entertained during the day. While plenty of people both work and have dogs, most dogs can’t be alone for 8+ hours at a time, especially without access to the outside, so consider if your lifestyle means that you’ll need extra help with your dog during the day.
If you like to travel you’ll need to make arrangements for your dog while you’re gone. Do you know someone who would love to care for your dog? Great! But maybe you’ll need an in-home dog-sitter or boarding option. Add these items to your vacation budget and this is always a shocking expense to me, even after 16 years as a dog owner!
Dogs don’t need much in the way of necessities. You can check out our list of puppy essentials to get an idea of what you’ll need to get started. Have the basics: a leash, collar or harness, place for the dog to sleep, and toys and treats.
What kind of dog should I get?
While we can all fall in love with a certain look we love, there’s more to consider when it comes to bringing a dog into your home. Are you active? Do you want a dog that can take long walks and hikes with you? Do you have the time and energy to work with a high energy dog, or do you prefer a dog with cat like tendencies like Bailey pictured here. Research the temperament of the breed you plan to bring home before making a final decision.
Is Your Home Ready for a Dog?
Do you have a yard where you can take your dog out? Is there somewhere convenient to take your dog for regular potty breaks? Plenty of people have dogs in apartments, but think long and hard about how much you want to trek downstairs in the middle of the winter to walk your pup.
Where can I find a dog to adopt?
If you’re looking to adopt a dog, here’s a great way to search local shelters for available pets. However, the best thing to do is go visit shelters and find a dog whose personality calls to you. Spend a little time with the dog making sure you’ve found the perfect fit.
What about adopting from a breeder?
We know that in spite of all of advice about adopting from a shelter, plenty of people will choose breeders. And we’re of the opinion that not all breeders are bad, but it’s important to do your reseach and find out if your breeder is responsible and reputable. We love this list from the humane society about how to find a responsible dog breeder.
Enjoy your new addition!
Getting a dog is not a decision to take lightly, but it should absolutely be a fun experience! Bringing a new member into your family is a fun and heartwarming time, and knowing that you’ve thought it all through will make the transition smooth!