Much time, thought and research should go into your decision – after all, your dog will be living with you for the next 10-20 years.
Please think carefully about the following:
Feeding dogs, especially large breeds, can really add up. Have you considered your budget? Good quality food costs more, but is well worth it.
You’ll need to teach your puppy or new dog how to behave within the rules of your household. Are you prepared for this?
From an ear infection to a traumatic injury, all vet visits cost money. Have you researched prices? Are you prepared to have a cash reserve on hand for emergencies?
Regular vet visits
All dogs require yearly vaccines, heartworm medication and health exams. Certain breeds are also predisposed to certain medical problems (i.e. German Shepherds are prone to hip dysplasia).
Are you willing to provide adequate exercise? Some breeds require more exercise than others and may act out if they aren’t getting enough.
Size and energy level are determining factors in choosing the right dog for you.
Where will your pet live: indoors or outdoors? Outdoor dogs require an insulated, raised shelter suitable for his or her size with year-round access to food and water. All dogs fair better in fenced areas or dog runs. Remember, dogs do not belong on chains – this leaves them prone to attacks by other dogs and increases the likelihood of aggressive behaviour.
Small dogs are generally more active than their giant counterparts and are also more apt to nipping due to their small size and vulnerability to injury. Once “fine tuned,” large dogs are generally more recommended for families with children.
Some dogs require daily brushing, others only once a week. Some require regular clipping. How much time and money (if you opt for a groomer) can you devote to ensuring your new dog is clean and free of mats?
A new puppy will not be able to hold his bladder or bowels for 10 hours. Do you have someone who can let him out while you’re at work, until he gains bladder control?
Dogs are social animals that need daily human contact. Have you done the research to match up your lifestyle with the dog you want? Your decision cannot be made based on appearances alone. Certain dogs have certain needs. Can you meet them?
Have you considered the many advantages of sharing your life with an older dog?
It’s important to consider your family before adopting a dog. Do you have young children? While a toddler and a puppy make for great photo opportunities, it will be important to teach your child the proper way to handle and care for a pet. There are numerous books available to teach your children how to safely interact with dogs. The book Tails Are Not For Pulling is an excellent resource for toddlers. As a general rule, if your child is under six years old, it’s best to adopt a dog that is over two years old.