Questions to ask to find out if you’re ready for a dog

Like most big decisions in life, the consideration as to whether to get a puppy should be taken with utmost care and thought. There is much research to be done and family decisions to be made before embarking on such an expedition. Think about your current lifestyle, family status, finances, and how such a decision will impact your life.

Just as a baby comes with responsibility, daily care and expenses, so does a new dog. Do you have the time to spend with a new dog and will you be able to take care of him financially?

Should I get a dog?

If you tick any of these boxes, then you shouldn’t get a dog:

  • The neighbour’s dog had puppies, who all need new homes.
  • A friend recently got a puppy, and he is so cute.
  • You feel sorry for the puppy at the shelter.
  • To impress somebody.
  • As a possible gift.
  • It is fashionable at the moment.

Lifestyle and family

Take your home into consideration and ask yourself these questions:

  • Will you be able to puppy-proof your house and garden?
  • Is the garden big enough for a dog to play in?
  • Is your garden safe for a puppy? Swimming pools should be covered and there should be no poisonous plants.

Think about your family when answering these questions:

  • Will you have time to spend with a dog and take him for walks?
  • Will your family grow, and will that take up more of your time?
  • Is anybody in the family allergic to dogs?
  • How does your family feel about a new dog?
  • Do you have money available for a veterinarian in case of an emergency?
  • Can you buy the best dog food possible on a monthly basis?
  • Have you considered additional costs, such as tick and flea treatments?

Responsible pet ownership

Being a responsible pet owner means you have to look after your dog to the best of your abilities. Ask yourself if you can afford the following:

  • Food every month?
  • An annual veterinary health check?
  • Vaccinations?
  • Puppy classes?
  • Professional grooming?
  • A behaviourist, when needed?
  • Medical insurance?
  • Regular deworming?
  • Monthly tick and flea treatments?

If you would like to learn more about responsible pet ownership, download this booklet for free, at www.coolmags.co.za/product/responsible-pets-ownership/. It contains helpful information and tips on how to be the best, most responsible pet owner.

Choosing a breed

  • Do you know which breed will suit you and your family?
  • Have you done the research and are you aware of the challenges of the breeds?
  • Do you want a family pet, or are you interested in dog sports?
  • Do you want an active dog or a lap dog?
  • Does the thought of continuous grooming put you off, or could you play hairdresser for hours with your dog?

Other important questions

Ask yourself if you have the time and means to do the following:

  • Brush your dog’s teeth every day?
  • Feed him twice a day?
  • Teach him something every day?
  • Take him to puppy school and socialisation classes?
  • Spend time with him to build a stronger bond, every day?

Now, you can get a dog

If you know and understand what it takes to have a dog and you still want one, you will need to:

  • know and understand the characteristics of the breed you are considering.
  • be ready for the long-term commitment.
  • have made financial provision.
  • have the time to spend with and train your dog.
  • ensure that the family is ready for a dog.
  • train him and take him to puppy school.

If you are ready for this long-term commitment, use the Southern Africa’s Dog Directory to guide you through every phase.

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