Dogs

Answer These 7 Questions Before You Buy Or Adopt A Dog

How can you resist them, they’re asking to be picked up and loved? Whether you are in a shelter or a pet store before you fall for all that cuteness, are you really, really, ready to change your life?

Buying a pet should never be an impulse decision. Instead of thinking about “owning” a dog, consider if you are ready to be a guardian who is responsible for their well-being.

Before you buy or adopt a dog, answering these 7 questions to know if you are ready…

  1. Are you willing to commit to a 15-year relationship?

  2. Will you be able to walk and play with a dog every day?

  3. Is your home suitable for a dog?

  4. Do you have the time to train and socialise a dog?

  5. Are you happy to groom and care for a dog?

  6. Can you afford the costs of feeding and caring for a dog?

  7. Have you thought about what you will do if you want to go travelling?


1. Are you willing to commit to a 15-year relationship?

The average lifespan of a dog is 10-13 years with smaller breeds living longer and larger breeds living for fewer years.

This may well be the longest relationship you have ever had!  So, you need to be willing to go through the good and the bad times. And commit to them as their needs change when they get older.

Also, consider what life changes you might have in the future – are you planning to have children or work overseas? If you want to buy a house in the future, can you afford to have the space that this dog will require?

2. Will you be able to walk and play with a dog every day?

Dogs get lonely too. Some breeds are more independent than others, but all dogs will want to spend time with you every day.

The stimulation of regular walks and play will be the highlight of their day and help them be better behaved. Think about how much time you really have to give each day, every day – not just on the weekends.

3. Is your home suitable for a dog?

The size and space you have available makes a big difference to the kind of dog that will suit your lifestyle. Outdoor spaces will need to be well fenced and ideally, there are local places where you can walk together.

It is also important to provide a safe environment. Many dogs are master magicians, able to sniff out mischief in the most surprising ways.  You will have to ensure that hazards such as toxic foods and chemicals are removed or locked away so that your dog can be left unattended without fear of poison or injury. See our puppy guide for more tips.

And, if you are renting don’t forget to check with your landlord before committing.

4. Do you have the time to train and socialise a dog?

Puppies require a lot of time and effort, you will need to toilet train them and work with them on basic obedience. Yes, they are adorable, but at 3am in the morning when they are crying or when they have chewed your favourite shoes – they may not seem so cute.

Learning how to communicate with your dog is essential. Puppy school and training classes are as much for you as they are for your furry friend.  Older dogs will also need ongoing training and reward for good behaviour.

Whatever age the dog is, their social skills will need to be developed so that they act appropriately around other people and other dogs.

5. Are you happy to groom and care for a dog?

Teeth brushing, nail clipping, de-shedding, bathing. Regular check-ups at the vet, worming tablets, flea and tick treatments. These are all important ways to keep your dog fit and healthy.

Good nutrition is another important consideration. The needs of a growing puppy are very different from an adult dog and then the nutritional support that an older dog needs.

6. Can you afford the costs of feeding and caring for a dog?

You may not realise it, but the costs can add up. Even if you aren’t buying a designer breed puppy and you are adopting, you need to consider the vaccinations, micro-chipping, desexing (neutering), regular vet check-ups, food, accessories and more.

To find out how much you should budget see our post – How much does it cost to own a dog.

7. Have you thought about what you will do if you want to go travelling?

Think about your lifestyle. Do you have to travel for work or enjoy regular holidays? Will your dog be able to come with you? Or do you have family or friends that can live in your home while you are away?

Maybe pup could go to someone else’s house – but does that person have a safe environment and enough time to play, exercise, groom and feed your dog?

There are alternatives such as pet sitters and boarding kennels, you just need to have a plan. And remember long periods apart can be hard – they will miss you, and you will miss them.


So are you ready for a dog?

If you answered yes to every one of these questions, then you know you are ready to bring some furry cuteness into your life. Check-out our review of breed selector tools that will help you decide on which type of dog best suits you.

Unfortunately, if you have answered no to any of these questions, now is not the right time for you to bring a dog into your life.

But all is not lost – maybe another kind of feline furry friend would better suit your lifestyle {see our cat checklist}.

If you are not ready or able to become a full-time fur-parent there are ways you can still enjoy having dogs in your life…

  • Consider volunteering at your local pet shelter
  • Become a dog walker
  • Pet sit in someone else’s home
  • Join our furbubba community to get your furry fix

Here are some links to get you started…

Online Pet Sitting Services

SPCA Volunteers


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We love hearing from you. Tell us how you knew you were ready to get a dog and share your tips with others who might be trying to decide.

Source
American Kennel ClubRSPCA
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