Dogs make great companions, and can create a bond like no other. However, bringing a new life into your home is not just about having something cute to cuddle with! Here are 6 things you need to consider before getting a new dog!
- Living Space & Environmental Enhancements
All dogs need a place to call home, and it is extremely important to ensure that they have the right amount of living space. Certain breeds require more space than others. If you live in a small apartment in the city, consider getting a small dog, like a terrier. Larger breeds are better suited to a house with a yard. Housing dogs in an area where there is not enough space for them will cause them to be bored and can lead to behavioural problems. Room to play and space for toys and treats are an essential part of raising a happy, well-behaved dog.
As well as being a cuddly friend, a dog is also a lot of work. All dogs will require training at some point. Puppies need obedience training to teach them the basics of what is acceptable in your household and what is not.
- Energy Level & Exercise Requirements
Just like us, dogs require regular physical activity, as being active keeps their organs and joints healthy while also building confidence and trust. Most dogs require a walk at least once daily, so it's important to allot time for this. Certain dog breeds will be more appropriate for you depending on your level of physical activity, so do a little research to determine which breed will fit best in to your lifestyle.
Dogs are a huge financial responsibility. You need to budget for things like; vaccines, medications, spay/neutering, food, pet licensing, toys and leash/collars, among other things. According to the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association, the first year of puppy ownership can cost between $2500-$3000 dollars! Dogs (and puppies especially!) are mischievous, so you also need to be ready for unexpected costs that may come up!
Dogs can make great additions to any family, but you can't just throw them into the mix and expect everything to work. It is important for parents to set boundaries and rules for any interactions between their child and a new dog. Puppies are unpredictable, with sharp teeth and claws. They may not have mastered the art of not biting, and could accidentally injure a small child. The first couple of interactions between children and new dogs should be supervised. Keep in mind that no matter how old your dog is, it is unrealistic to expect a child to take on the sole responsibility of caring for it.
All dogs have hair, and some dogs have a lot of hair. Generally, the longer and thicker your dogs coat, the more extensive (and expensive) the grooming. All dogs require a certain level of at-home maintenance from nail trimmings to tooth brushing! Long haired breeds require daily brushing to avoid matting and knots as well as more frequent bathing to remove dirt and mud from their coat. The length of your dogs coat is an important factor to consider when choosing a new friend!