Are you Really Ready to Bring a Dog into your Life?

The last time you walked around the park, you couldn’t help but notice how many people were there with their dogs and how happy both they and their dog’s looked. Now, you think you want a dog of your very own.

Benefits of Having a Dog in your Life

Deciding to bring a dog into your life is a great idea. There are many different ways your life will improve once you’ve become the proud owner of a lovely pooch.

• If you have kids, having a family pet makes them less likely to develop allergies
• Having a dog and taking them on regular walks not only helps you get and stay healthier, but also improves your social life
• Dogs help lower anxiety
• Having a dog in your house can lead to a lower, healthier blood pressure level
• Dogs are a great tool for warding off bouts of depression

Even though there are a great many benefits you’ll enjoy from having a dog from your house, adding one to your life is something that needs to be carefully considered. You need to make sure you’re ready to become a dog parent.

Are You Really Ready for a Dog

The biggest mistake many people make is not sitting down and considering whether or not they’re really ready to bring a dog into their life. This is a major life decision and should not be made lightly.

The first thing you need to ask yourself is if you’re ready to provide for and love a dog for a very long time. Dogs, especially small dogs, live longer than you might realize, up to fifteen or more years. Ask yourself if you’re really ready to make that long a commitment to an animal. If you’re not, you should forgo thoughts of getting a dog, and consider a pocket pet with a much shorter life span.

Are your current living arrangements dog friendly. The biggest problem many people encounter when they bring a dog home is that they failed to speak to their landlord about whether or not they’re rental agreement allows them to have a pet, or what kind and size pet they could bring home. If you rent, or live with friends, you need to discuss the matter with your landlord before you even start to look for a dog. Knowing what your landlord will and will not allow to live with you goes a long way towards preventing you from falling in love with a dog that you can never call your own.

Just because your landlord says you can have a dog, or you own your own home, it doesn’t mean you’re ready to bring a dog into your life. Dogs, even lazy and older dogs, need to be exercised each day. Do you have a safe, fenced in area where you can turn one out to play and relieve themselves? If not, are you prepared to take them on a walk, no matter how horrible the weather conditions, on a daily basis for as long as you own the dog?

The next thing to consider is your financial situation. Not only do you need to be able to keep the dog in food, the cost of which will vary depending on what type of food and the size of the dog, but you also have to be able to afford yearly vaccinations, heart worm tests, flea control, and heartworm preventative. You should also have enough set aside to handle emergency, veterinary needs.

The last thing you need to consider is what will happen to your dog if you travel or reach a point in your life where you simply can’t care for your dog. Do you have at least one or two family members (or friends) who will be able to take in your pet? Is there someone available to provide dog sitting services while you travel?

If you have carefully considered each of these questions and feel confident that not only do you still want a dog, but that you’re also in a position to provide the dog with a lifetime of care and love, it’s time to think about what type of dog you should bring into your life.

Photo Credit: Personal Collection of Jess Schira

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