Few things in life are as rewarding as caring for a pet for the first time. You’ll come to know what unconditional love is quickly when you bring a new dog into your life for the first time.
As fulfilling as pet ownership is, it is not without its challenges. As you both adjust to your new lives, there will be uncertainties you face on a daily basis. Your new relationship will start off on the best foot—or paw—if you do your research and prepare ahead of time so you can get the right furry friend for your lifestyle. Here are three questions to ask when deciding on whether or not you are ready for the responsibility of owning a dog.
How much time to I have for a pet?
When considering what kind of dog is right for you, think about the kind of attention and care you are capable of giving. For example, a dog will want social interaction, frequent walks and trips outside.
Today’s culture with dog-friendly restaurants and stores makes it easier for you to take your canine companion with you, and in many cases, work is no longer an obstacle, either. Many companies allow their employees to bring their dogs to work, and it’s not uncommon for more and more employees to work from home. Telecommuting from home allows you to be there to look after your dog’s needs.
However, if you tend to work late nights, long shifts or travel a lot, caring for a dog becomes more challenging. You'll likely want look into hiring a dog walker, pet sitter or taking your dog to daycare to fill those lonely hours when you’re not around.
What kind of breed is right for me?
When it comes to dog breeds, options are seemingly endless. There are three easy ways that you can help narrow down your search: space, allergies and children/other pets.
First, take a look at your home and your yard. Do you have enough space for an active dog that is going to want to run and play? Are you in a condo or an apartment that has weight limitations on the pets you can have? Certain breeds are active such as Border Collies, Labrador Retrievers or Dalmatians, while others including bulldogs, Basset Hounds and Great Danes, find more enjoyment watching the world curled up on the couch.
The second way to help you narrow down a breed is to consider allergies. If you are an allergy sufferer, you know it doesn’t take long for the sneezes to erupt when the fur and pet dander starts flying around. If this sounds familiar, look for breeds that won’t agitate your allergies, including Bichons, poodles and greyhounds.
Third, think about your current and future family. Do you have or want children? Breeds good with kids include Australian Shepherds, Golden Retrievers and Beagles. If you own or want to own more than one dog, raise chickens or adopt a cat or two, check out non-aggressive breeds that are good with animals. A canine companion in the form of a Maltese, Newfoundland or Boxer could be a good fit.
Should I rescue a shelter pet or adopt a puppy?
There are pros and cons to how and where you find a dog. Rescuing a shelter pet means you are literally saving a life. The gratitude and loyalty of a shelter dog is unmatched. However, you may be bringing home a slew of unknown behavior and health challenges.
While puppies are adorable, they require much more time and patience as you house train and crate train, not to mention the amount of shoes you’ll lose to their veracious chewing. On the other hand, a bond with a dog you have had since a puppy is incredibly special. You are also in control of their behaviors from day one including going for runs, hanging out on restaurant patios or playing nicely with other dogs.
There are no right or wrong answers to these questions—just be honest about what you are capable of doing. Remember, the more time you spend with your dog—from playing to cuddling to training—the stronger your bond. Making sure you are prepared from day one means you’ll have a friend for life.
A big thank you to Jessica Brody from http://www.ourbestfriends.pet/ for contributing this article to our website for our clients.
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