7 Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Adopt A Dog
You’ve been thinking about this for a while now and you really want to adopt a dog. Or maybe your family has been hounding you for a new furry addition to the household and you’re about to break down. Or you take one look at that adorable dog photo on Adoptapet.com and you fall head-over-heels in love. Whatever your reason is for adopting a dog, you want to take that big step and bring home a lovable pooch.
As we’ve discussed in previous articles, it takes time, money and responsibility to own a dog. It’s a long-term commitment that you’re signing up for – can you handle it? Before you say “yes,” ask yourself the following questions before you adopt a dog.
- Why do you want a dog? Be honest with yourself. Are you just adopting a dog because she looks cute? Is it an impulse want? Are you lonely since your boyfriend/girlfriend broke up with you? Is it because you kids won’t stop bugging you about it? Remember that this is a decision that is going to affect your life for the 10 to 15 (or longer) years. You’re not doing yourself or the dog any favors if you adopt her only to bring her back in a few weeks or months.
- Is now the right time to adopt a dog? Take a look at what’s going on in your life right now. If you’re a student, have heavy demands at work or are planning to relocate to another country, now is probably not the best time to adopt a dog. You should be settled before you take on the responsibility of a dog, so you may have to wait a few months or years until you’re at that point in your life.
- Do you have enough time to spend with your dog? We’re not saying that you should quit your job to spend 24 hours a day with your dog. But if you work long hours on a regular basis, a dog may not be the right pet for you. Dogs need to be exercised and cuddled with every day. In fact, one of the main reasons why so many dogs end up in shelters is because their former owners didn’t realize how much time they needed.
- Are you going to be able to stick it out through thick and thin? Owning a dog is a lot like marriage – for richer or poorer, in sickness and health. When you adopt a dog, it’s a long-term commitment. It’s unfair to the dog if you decide to divorce her after a few months because it got too hard or you just couldn’t handle the responsibilities of dog ownership.
- Can you afford to adopt a dog? This is a biggie. If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, chances are you can barely afford what you’ve got, much less add a dog into the mix. Get real about your finances. Set out a budget and see what you can realistically afford. If you need some help, check out this dog cost calculator to get a better idea of how much money you’ll need.
- Are you responsible enough to own a dog? Dogs need a firm and patient owner to help guide them on their journey of a happy and healthy life. This includes having your dog spayed or neutered, teaching obedience, taking your dog for regular veterinarian check-ups and making sure they eat a healthy, well-balanced diet.
- Are you up for all the challenges that come with dog ownership? Hey, accidents happen… especially when you adopt a dog. There will be gross messes to clean up, chewing habits to break and an assortment of health issues that can plague your dog. These are common challenges you’ll be faced with, so make sure you’re ready to deal with them.
Do you have any other questions people should ask before they adopt a dog? Or did you ask yourself similar questions before you adopted a dog? Please leave them in the comment section below.
Amy Tokic, Editor of PetGuide.com, is a passionate animal lover and proud pet parent of Oscar, a Shih Tzu/Chihuahua cross, and Zed, a Japanese Chin. Her love of animals began in kindergarten, when she brought her stuffed dog Snoopy into class with her every day. Now, she writes about her adventures in pet ownership and tirelessly researches products, news and health related issues she can share with other animal enthusiasts. In her free time, Amy loves perusing used book and record stores, obsessing over the latest pet products available and chasing squirrels with wild abandon (a habit attributed to spending too much time with her pooches).
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