Are You Ready for a Dog?

Are You Ready for a Dog?

People decide they want a dog for all kinds of reasons. There are those who have always had a pet and simply can’t imagine a life without one. Sometimes they are lonely and want a companion at home as well as a way to meet new people. Others have dreamed of owning their own dog but have only recently had the opportunity. Whatever the motivation, it’s important to take a step back from the emotions in play and evaluate whether or not you are really ready for a dog.

The Cost of Owning a Dog

The cost of owning a dog goes far beyond the initial adoption fees. While these can be substantial, they are only a fraction of the total cost of owning a dog. Some of the things to consider when creating a realistic budget for your new pup include food and shelter, healthcare, and play.

Food and shelter are the fundamental needs of all living creatures. The size of the dog you adopt will determine how much food he or she eats each day. If they require a special diet, the cost will be more. The best food for dogs tends to be made with fewer fillers and is ultimately more expensive than what many people initially expect.

You may think the cost of shelter will be mixed with your own housing costs, but this may not be true. Some landlords require additional deposits for pets and homeowners may find their insurance rates increase if they adopt certain types of dogs. When you travel your pet will either need to come with you or they will need to be cared for while you are away, both come with additional expenses that should be factored in to your budget. Finally, if you are gone much of the day it may be necessary to hire a dog walker or put your pup in a doggy daycare which can further increase costs.

Healthcare includes expected items such as vaccinations and checkups but it can also include things you may not have considered. Pest control is almost always necessary for dogs who spend any time outdoors or around other animals in order to prevent flee and ticks from becoming a problem. Pet insurance is another expense new pet owners should consider which can increase the cost of owning a dog initially but may save money later.

Dogs of all ages and breeds love to play. You may think that a Frisbee or a few bones here and there will be sufficient, but this is rarely the case. Consider the price of the equipment needed to walk your dog every day; leash, collar, reflective gear, and plastic bags. These are items you will need just to take your new pup out for a stroll. Then there are the chew toys, balls, beds, and other items that will make their way into your shopping cart. Take the time to explore a pet store to get a realistic idea of what play time will truly cost.

Breeds and Ages

If you decide you are willing to commit to the financial and time commitments necessary to help a dog thrive in your home, it is time to begin considering what type of dog you want. There are several factors to review.

First, you must decide if you want a puppy or an adult dog. Puppies tend to have the adorable advantage that many people gravitate towards. However, there are many adorable adult dogs waiting for a family to recognize their potential in shelters across the country. Choosing a puppy means you have the opportunity to train it exactly the way you want but it also means you will have to train it. Most adult dogs have already been taught how to behave in public, how to wait for a potty break, and why it’s important not to eat mom’s favorite pair of shoes.

The next question is what type of dog you want to bring home. Some people think they want a specific dog based on how it looks but have no idea what that breed’s temperament is like nor what its emotional and physical needs are. Those who have an idea of the type of breed they are most interested in should take the time to learn more about typical character traits with which they are associated. There is also the option of choosing a dog from a shelter that is a mixture of breeds. These dogs have just as much potential as a pedigree pup but at a fraction of the cost. You may want to consider buying puppy pads when you first get your dog home.

There is no question that adding a furry new member to your family is an exciting prospect. Dogs are lovable, cuddly, and quickly become devoted to their people. However, it is important to have a realistic understanding of exactly what is necessary to care for an animal before jumping into a lifetime commitment.


  1. Rosie says

    I’d love to have a dog again. We can’t have any pets where I am now, but I have been looking to move to the country, and have also been researching about types of dogs and caring for them, also rescue dogs. Lots to think about!

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