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Considerations Before Getting a Dog

Before you bring a dog into your home, there are several questions you should ask yourself to determine if a dog will fit into your life.

For example:

Can you make the time commitment dog ownership requires?

Do you have the financial resources needed to care for a dog?

Will your lifestyle accommodate a dog?

Do you have the time to care for a dog?

A dog does not simply require an hour of your time per day for play and exercise. A dog is a 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week commitment.

Consider, also, that most dogs have a life span of 8 to 15 years. Having a dog is a longterm commitment.

Owning a dog is a long-term commitment. It is important to remember that most dogs have a life span of 8 to 15 years. Before getting a dog, make sure you fully understand the time commitment required. When considering the financial commitment, you must take into account the cost of food, grooming and providing medical care for your new dog.

Do you have the financial resources to care for a dog?

The purchase price of a dog is minimal compared to the long-term cost of dog ownership.

Consider the costs of food, grooming equipment, veterinary visits, leashes, toys, and all the other items your dog will need over the course of his entire life.

From feeding and exercising to spending quality time with him, your dog will demand regular attention from you. If you have children, a demanding work schedule or like to travel, you must think about whether your lifestyle can accommodate the demands of owning a dog. Educating yourself about the responsibilities of dog ownership and carefully considering your life can help ensure you and your dog have a long and lasting relationship.

In addition to considering the time, money and lifestyle commitments dog ownership requires, you should assess whether you have the energy to exercise a dog and the patience to train and groom a dog. Proper exercise and mental stimulation are essential to your dog's well being. Early and ongoing training helps your dog become a valued and loved member of your family and community. Regular grooming is an important aspect of keeping your dog clean and healthy. As a dog owner, you must accept responsibility for performing all of these duties.

Even if your children promise to help you perform these tasks and take care of the dog, as the adult, the ultimate responsibility is yours. The decision to bring a dog into your home is an important one. If you are prepared for and committed to dog ownership, your dog can be your best friend and constant companion. Keep in mind, however,
that as a dog owner, you must be prepared to accept the very good with the occasionally inconvenient.

Can your lifestyle accommodate a dog?

The best time to get a dog is when children are over 6 years old.

If you have other pets, consider how they will adjust to a new dog.

If you travel frequently, remember that you will need to make arrangements to take your dog with you or have someone care for him while you are gone.

Where will the dog live?

Dogs are social animals and are happiest when they live where they can socialize with their family. If you plan to have your dog live outside, you should reconsider getting a dog.

Consider that some breeds need more space than others, due to their size or activity level. Some breeds also need a fenced yard to run in and are not suited to apartment life.

Would a puppy, adolescent or mature dog best suit you?

Puppies under 6 months old require a lot of time, effort and patience.

Adolescent dogs, between 6 and 18 months old, are full of energy and will test the boundaries of their environment.

A mature dog may already be housetrained, socialized and trained in the basic commands.

Do you have the time and energy required to exercise a dog?

Daily exercise is essential for all dogs. Be prepared to exercise your dog every day of his life.

Consider whether you have the time, energy and desire to meet the physical needs of a dog.

Different breeds of dogs have different activity levels. If you are not generally a physically active person, you may want to consider a dog with a low activity level.

Are you willing to train a dog?

You must socialize your dog to accept all the people and situations in your environment.

You also need to housetrain your dog and teach him basic manners, such as walking on a leash, sitting when asked and coming when called.

Training your dog will become a large part of your daily routine. Make sure you are prepared to work with your dog consistently.

Can you meet the grooming needs of a dog?

Some dogs need to be brushed only once a week, while others need daily grooming and regular trips to a professional groomer.

Regular ear cleaning, nail clipping and bathing are also necessary.

Also consider how much dog hair you are willing to deal with in your home. Most dogs shed. Dogs with thick, bushy coats tend to shed more than dogs with smooth, curly or wiry coats.

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