When you first lay eyes on a puppy, you may want to rush them home as soon as possible. However, you should pause to consider if you’re ready for the commitment.
Dogs are easy to love, but they’re not always easy to take care of. A new puppy will take up a lot of your time, patience, and money. Even when the dog is all grown up, they’ll still require a significant investment of time and resources.
Here, we’ll tell you all you need to know about committing to a dog. It’s a big decision, and you should know what you’re getting into before you get a puppy.
The first question you should ask yourself is a simple one. Why do you want to bring a dog home? Thinking they’re cute isn’t a good enough answer! You need to be ready to give them years of care, as well as financial support.
The decision to get a dog should never be a spur of the moment, rushed idea. It also shouldn’t be done as a short term solution to a life problem. Rather, it’s a decision you should think about seriously, planning out the pros and cons.
If you’ve taken the time to think about the decision and believe a dog is right for you, here are some more things you should consider.
Before you rush to the nearest breeder or shelter, you need to consider a few things. A dog will take years of your life, and requires a substantial financial commitment.
Substantial Investment Of Time
If you think you know how much time a puppy takes, thin, again. New dog owners almost always underestimate how much time it will really take to raise their puppy.
Puppies, much like babies, take over your life. Not only will you have to take them out constantly, run around with them, and feed them. You’ll also have to go check on them when they start barking in the middle of the night. Or you’ll have to run out to the store because they just ran out of their favorite treats.
They can also put quite a bit of strain on your social life. Puppies often don’t like to be left alone for longer than a few hours. If you don’t have someone to look after them, you’ll probably have to spend a lot of time at home. That means Friday nights watching movies with your puppy, instead of nights out.
If you’re ready for this, then great! But you should no in advance the extent of the time commitment you’ll be making.
Cost Of Owning A Dog
And then there’s the cost. Owning a dog is a significant financial investment. Just like with the time commitment, many new dog owners underestimate how much they will have to spend on your dog.
For starters, you’ll likely have to fork up at least $500 to get your dog, even if you adopt from a shelter. You’ll also have to get a crate, bedding, toys, food, and treats all before your dog is even home. All together, this could add up to over $1000.
You’ll also have to prepare for the medical costs. Even if you have a healthy dog with few significant health problems throughout their life, you can expect to spend at least $1000 on visits to the vet.
If your puppy has not yet been spayed or neutered, you will likely have to pay for this procedure as well. This can cost anywhere from $150-250, as well as added expenses for medication.
More likely than not, you will also have to pay for medication or procedures as your dog ages. These expenses are hard to predict, given how much health can vary between dogs. But vet care could cost you thousands of dollars over the course of your dog’s life.
If you want to protect yourself financially in the case of a medical emergency, you can consider getting pet insurance. Although this can save you money in the long run, it can cost a lot of money month by month.
Training Expenses And Time Commitment
Your puppy won’t learn to be a good boy overnight. It will require plenty of training, which can be another significant cost.
How much you spend on training largely depends on how committed you are to the process. Basic obedience classes can cost you a few hundred dollars. But if you want personalized training, you’ll have to spend at least $100, just for an hour of training.
Training involves a lot more than just spending money. It takes a lot of time, even if you hire a trainer. You’ll have to reinforce all of the training that your dog learns. When your dog is still a puppy, this can take up to an hour a day.
Training can also be quite stressful. Even the smartest puppy won’t get it right the first time. And if your dog is headstrong, the training process can turn into quite the headache. But you have to be patient and keep at it. Eventually, your dog will get there, provided you give them the right structure and plenty of positive reinforcement.
You’ll also need to make sure that your dog is properly socialized. This means plenty of trips to the dog park, as well as puppy training classes where they can learn to coexist with other dogs.
Socializing a puppy is not always easy, as many young dogs will have minor behavioral problems. These can be addressed with proper training, but it takes lots of work and patience.
Commitment To An Active Life
Most puppies have a lot of energy, and they’ll expect you to as well. That means you won’t be able to spend as much time on the couch once you have a puppy.
The exercise needs of a puppy will vary widely by breed. However, just about any puppy is going to need plenty of activity. If you don’t let them run around or take them on walks, they may get anxious and act out by barking or chewing up your house.
Most puppies will need at least a few walks everyday, and will need to be let out multiple times throughout the day.
They also like to burn off energy, including when they’re inside. You’ll need to be prepared to chase your dog around when they get the zoomies.
Still interested in puppies for sale? There are a lot of other questions you should ask yourself. Here are a few of the most important:
Are You Ready For A Mess?
Even the calmest puppy is going to cause quite a mess, especially if you get them before they are housetrained. That means chewed shoes, soiled rugs, and food all around your house.
It’s going to take a lot of patience, especially for the first few months as your puppy adjusts to their new home. You’re going to have to get your hands dirty multiple times a day.
Does Everyone In Your House Want A Dog?
Many potential dog owners live with other people. Even if others aren’t on board, they may tell themselves that they’ll take all of the responsibility. But a new puppy affects everyone in the house, even if they don’t want to take care of it.
Before you get a dog, make sure that everyone around you supports your decision. It’s unfair to make someone deal with a dog if they’re not ready for it. Puppies bark, make a mess, and take up space, which puts a strain on everyone in the house.
Are You Ready For A Different Kind Of Life?
Make mistake: once you get a dog, there’s no going back. You’re committed to a dog for what will likely be over 10 years. And you’re going to have to make some significant changes to your lifestyle, including spending more time at home.
Will You Be Moving Anytime Soon?
If you plan on moving in the near future, you need to factor this into your plans for getting a dog. Moves can be hard for young dogs, but they are doable, so long as you give your dog plenty of attention and care.
However, you should make sure that the dog will fit into your new life. If you’re moving to an apartment, you’ll have to make sure that you have enough space, and that the building is pet friendly.
What Kind Of Dog Is Right For Me?
Once you’ve decided that you can handle a dog, you still need to consider what type of dog is right for you. Not every breed or personality will suit you, nor be appropriate for your living situation.
If you are active, you should consider getting a dog that fits your lifestyle. There are plenty of breeds that are perfect for people
You should also speak to the breeder or shelter staff when you pick out your dog. Even within breeds, puppies will vary a lot in demeanor. Ask the breeder which puppies are the most active, or which are the calmest. This will help you find the puppy that matches you best.
Once you’ve decided that a dog is right for you—and that you’re right for a dog—you may wonder where to start looking.
At Uptown Puppies, we can help you find your dream dog. We connect you to a network of experienced breeders and companies who love dogs as much as you. Every breeder and business we partner with is passionate about what they do, and is committed to the highest ethical and breeding standards.