Is a puppy right for you?
Bringing home a new family member means having to evaluate various aspects of your life. Time, space, finances and emotional commitment are universal factors in proper dog care, regardless of breed.
Do you work long days? Do you travel often? Does your job send you out of town? Puppies are a huge time commitment and ensuring a well-adjusted pet means not leaving it alone for hours at a time. Thankfully there are resources available, dog walkers, doggy daycare or pet sitters who can engage with your puppy while you’re absent. Remember that dogs of every age require stimulating interaction every day, be sure that this is a commitment you can make for many years. It is important to keep in mind that dogs live long lives and it is not unusual to have a small breed dogs live to their late teens.
No backyard? No sweat. Not all breeds require lots of space to run. Regular walks, runs, and dog sports can compensate for the lack of a backyard. Space also refers to inside the home. Is your house full of precious antiques and family heirlooms? Are you prepared for an active puppy exploring your house with its nose and teeth? Are you alright with your doggy friend who might not immediately know where the bathroom is? If you have children, are you committed to managing the stuff the kids leave lying around? Puppy proofing and proper training can alleviate a lot of these concerns, but you must consider all the above as possible scenarios before your new family member arrives home.
Proper care of your pet can be expensive. In addition to the ongoing expenses of food, chews, toys, beds and clothing, dogs also require vaccines, stool samples, deworming, blood work including heartworm, spay or neuter and a microchip – all within the first year! Subsequent years should include annual vaccines, bloodwork, stool sample, heartworm and licensing. Additionally, dental treatment or cleaning will be required depending on a number of factors such as breed, diet, age and if the teeth are brushed. On top of that, unexpected illnesses or accidents could occur at any moment. Pet insurance can help alleviate those costs, but the monthly payments should be considered as another expense. Other routine expenses may include grooming, dog walker, dog daycare and boarding.
There is nothing as precious as the unconditional love your dog has for you. No matter how bad your day or mood is, they will love you just the same. Every day you walk through the door they will greet you with endless enthusiasm – even if you’ve only been gone for 5 minutes! As our pets get older, the decisions we have to make about their wellbeing become harder and harder. At the end of your dog’s life you may be forced to make the decision to euthanize. Our pets rarely pass easily and peacefully and the decision to end suffering will fall to you. Many pet owners cope with loss via mementos or keepsakes (a memorial, a paw print, or a charitable donation). Additionally there are also animal loss grief groups available in many communities.