Are You Ready for a Dog?

So you’ve decided you want a dog...but are you ready?

There’s a special bond linking people and dogs, and the benefits of adopting a lovable, faithful companion are endless!  However, the decision to add a dog to your family should not be made lightly.

Caring for a dog requires a lot of time, hard work, financial responsibility and possibly even a lifestyle change. Dogs rely on you to survive, much like children do.  They also need to be trained to be good canine citizens and neighbours — ones who don’t bark excessively, roam free, or jump on the neighbourhood children.

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!

The Winnipeg Humane Society is full of unwanted dogs brought in by owners unprepared for the responsibility or by those who didn’t take the time to choose a type of dog that would best suit them.


  • Food Costs – Feeding dogs, especially large breeds, can really add up.  Have you considered your budget?  Good quality food costs more, but is well worth it.
  • Training – You’ll need to teach your puppy or new dog how to behave within the rules of your household.  Are you prepared for this?
  • Medical Emergencies – From an ear infection to a traumatic injury, all vet visits cost money.  Have you research prices?  Are you prepared to have a cash reserve on hand for emergencies?
  • Regular Vet Visits – All dogs require yearly vaccines, heartwork medication and health exams.  Certain breeds are also predisposed to certain medical problems (i.e. German Shepherds are prone to hip dysplasia.)
  • Daily Exercise – Are you willing to provide adequate exercise? Some breeds require more exercise than others and may act out if they aren’t getting enough.
  • Have you determined which breed is right for you?  Click here for information on selecting the right breed for your family.
  • Proper Shelter – 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.
  • Size – 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.
  • Grooming – 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?
  • Work Hours – 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?
  •  Lifestyle – 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?

Don’t despair if a dog is not for you right now.  Cats, rabbits, rats, birds and fish also make great pets and require less work.

If you and your family are ready to adopt a dog, we’re here to help you determine which dog is right for you.