Getting your first dog is a special time in any animal lover’s life. Finally, you’re ready for a pup of your own to be your best friend and give you unconditional love. As you ease into adult life, dog ownership is a rite of passage, and it’s often the first step to building a family. However, owning your own dog is quite different from having a family dog growing up. Because your dog will rely entirely on you, being a solo pet parent can be challenging and comes with a lot of responsibilities!
The more prepared you are for this lifetime commitment, the happier you and your pup will be. Here are three things you should know before getting your first dog.
1. Owning a Dog Can be Expensive
Owning a dog – whether you adopt an adult or a puppy – can be an expensive exercise and quite a financial commitment. Before you get a dog, you should consider that the average cost of owning one is around $800 to $1,000 a year.
At the minimum, you’ll need to buy your dog food, walking gear, toys, and basic veterinary care. Pet insurance is also a must if your dog ever needs expensive emergency care – compare prices for the best pet insurance plans here.
As far as supplies go, you’ll need a dog bed, a collar, a lead, and a crate. You’ll also need to purchase a license and get your dog sterilized, vaccinated, and microchipped.
2. A Dog is a Lifetime Commitment
Dog ownership is a lifetime commitment, so think beyond the ‘honeymoon phase.’ Everything will feel new and exciting when you first bring your dog home – especially if it’s a puppy. However, what you think is cute behavior now might become a bad habit that will drive you crazy down the road.
Remember, the first few months after bringing a dog home are crucial – so invest in training and socialization as soon as your dog has had their vaccinations.
The more time you invest in your dog now, the better adjusted she will be in the future. Your dog is your responsibility – rehoming your pup can be an extremely traumatic experience because they develop strong bonds with their owners, so you should only bring a dog into your home if you know you will be able to take care of them for the rest of their lives.
3. Do Your Research on the Breed
Before you go and choose a dog based on its looks, research the breed. While certain dog breeds – like the Shiba Inu and French Bulldog – have become ‘fashionable’ over the last few years, they are not suitable for everyone.
Before deciding on a dog breed, think about how they will complement your lifestyle. If you have a small apartment and prefer to curl up and watch TV when you get home from work, a working dog like a Siberian Husky or Border Collie is definitely not the best fit for you.
When researching a breed, you should look at its personality, temperament, and lifestyle. High-energy and working dog breeds need a lot of physical and mental stimulation – not meeting these needs can result in a highly destructive dog.