10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Getting a Puppy – And Puppy Toilet Training
We can all agree that puppies are the cutest thing in the world. But at the same time, they also require a tremendous amount of commitment and responsibility. And unfortunately, some people can’t resist their cuteness and forget all about the responsibilities they have to provide a happy and healthy life for their pups. Remeber a puppy is for life, not just for Christmas.
Before you make a similar mistake and fall for those cute puppy eyes, there are 10 things you need to consider before getting a dog. Let’s go over them!
1. Do you have the time?
Just like a baby, puppies require a lot of time and attention. First of all, you need to spend a lot of time house training a puppy, including puppy toilet training, and then there’s the feeding, grooming, puppy socialisation, and overall pet care, in addition to playing and exercising. It’s truly a significant commitment of time you need to consider.
Make sure to carefully plan how much time you have in your day. If you’re working a full-time job, you’ll need someone to take your puppy out during those hours, or perhaps use your lunch break to come and do it yourself.
Also, if you’re getting a puppy for your kids, it’s likely that the “novelty” of having a pup will wear off soon, and you’ll be the one responsible for all the “boring” stuff. Getting a puppy is a demanding responsibility so make sure you put in enough work to ensure that they’re happy and healthy.
2. What breed do you want?
People are visual creatures, so it’s very common to choose a puppy breed based only on appearance. But, the attractive looks of one breed also come with a lot of personality traits, which owners not always consider.
For example, if you like to spend your free time chilling on your sofa, getting an energetic dog like a Beagle won’t be a good choice. Make sure to do some basic research on the breed you want to get to get a sense of what they need for a healthy life. There are far too many dogs left in shelters simply because their personality didn’t match that of their owner.
3. Do you have any allergies?
Do you or somebody in your home have allergies? Do you think the dog’s hair and dandruff will trigger those allergy symptoms? If the answer’s yes, then getting a puppy might not be the pet you need. Alternatively, you can get a more of a “hypoallergenic” breed, like a Poodle.
It’s sad to get a puppy and discover that someone in your home is allergic to it. They’ll have to be rehomed and stressed out, so make sure to find out such information before bringing home a pup.
4. Can You Afford A Puppy?
Puppies cost a lot to have, especially in the first year of their life. They need vaccines, special food, bedding, toys, spaying or neutering, grooming, and so on. So, you can expect to spend a couple of thousands in the first year, in addition to the general maintenance during their lifetime.
The costs largely depend on what breed puppy you’ll get. Larger breeds cost much more to maintain than smaller, toy breeds. However, you still have to be financially prepared before you get a puppy, no matter which breed it is.
5. Do you have a dog-proof home?
Just like small children and babies, puppies will try and get everywhere they can. So, you need to make sure to close and secure any places they might hurt themselves. Or, you can train them to not go to certain places using positive reinforcement dog training. But having dangerous places securely closed will give you that additional peace of mind.
Also, make sure to put any toxic plants and chemical detergents away, as well as keeping your garbage bin tightly closed. You can also try to stop puppy biting by providing it with a bunch of chewable toys to channel its biting needs. That way, they won’t need to chew dangerous objects, like electricity cables.
Oh, and don’t forget about breakables – put those out of reach, somewhere on a taller shelf.
6. Do you know a good veterinarian?
You wouldn’t just take your child to any random doctor, wouldn’t you?
Your puppy needs the same consideration. If this is your first time getting a puppy, ask around friends and family for good vet recommendations. They are likely to have plenty of experience with vets, and will surely give you honest feedback about it.
If you’ve already chosen a vet that you feel uncomfortable with, don’t feel bad about changing up. Having a qualified professional that both you and your pup feel comfortable around is well worth it in the long run.
7. Food considerations
When it comes to doggy food there are a lot of choices on the market. But not all foods are created the same.
In order to get the best quality diet for your pup, you need to do some research beforehand. You can do this by reading a few descriptions of food bags, and look for healthy ingredients. These include real meat sources, little to none additives, and not too many fillers such as corn, wheat, or soy.
If you find it difficult to choose, you can always ask your vet for recommendations.
8. Getting an ID
Dogs often escape their yards, and it can happen even to the most responsible of dog owners. But this is where IDing your pup comes in very helpful.
You can choose between the classic dog tag on a collar, or get a microchip inside them. Either way, having a proper ID will make sure you get your puppy back safely in case it runs away.
9. Going on vacations
Pet owners don’t usually consider vacations when getting a new puppy, but it’s a big part of having a dog. If you go on a few vacations in a year, you need someone responsible to take care of your pup while you’re gone. Or you can take it with you and pay additional boarding costs and accommodate their needs, which is an extremely tiresome job.
So, make sure to carefully plan your vacations and keep your little pup in the back of your mind.
10. Commitment For A Dog Lifetime
We’ve left the most important consideration last.
It’s very sad seeing dogs abandoned just because their owners didn’t want them anymore or they’ve become bored. Before getting a new puppy, you need to be 100% sure that you’ll keep it as long as it’s alive and that you’ll be a good parent all along.
Having a canine friend is a privilege, not a right, and as such, you need to be the best pet parent you can by treating them like a member of your family, and not just a toy that can be easily discarded when you don’t want it.