New Year, New You…New dog? Many of us make new year resolutions, from saving money to losing weight. And then there are those who decide to expand their family with the addition of a new dog. The addition of a four-legged friend is not a decision to be made lightly. While there is nothing quite like the company of a dog, often the responsibility can be overwhelming for those who aren’t ready. Just like children, dogs require a lot of affection and attention. Here are some things to consider when adopting a dog.
Ready or Not
Just like when you have a baby, when you adopt a dog you’re never really prepared for the big changes in your life. Is your lifestyle compatible with dog ownership? Do you need to have a dog in your home, or is hanging out with someone else’s dog enough? Do you have children? Are there other pets in the home? Can you handle the responsibility? Is everyone in the family on board with the decision? These are but a few questions to ask yourself before you make such a huge decision. That said, once your heart is truly set on finding a new BFF, there really is no turning back.
Consider a Test Drive
Being a pet parent means committing to your dog in sickness and in health for his entire life. If you think you’re ready but perhaps aren’t entirely sure, why not consider fostering a dog? Animal rescues across the country are always looking for foster families to love and care for a dog until a permanent home can be found. Quite often, that permanent home winds up being with the foster family. To know a dog is to love her, and foster parents often fall head over heels with their charges and decide to adopt them. Alternatively, there may be opportunities to foster a future guide dog or service dog.
The Cost of Ownership
Dog ownership does not come cheap! While it’s almost impossible to place a value on a beloved family member, according to research the cost of a puppy in the first year alone can be well over $2000. Generally, the greatest outlay come from one-time purchases such as beds, collars, training classes and other equipment. Another financial consideration is whether to take out pet insurance. Accidents or illness can result in astronomical veterinary bills. Many Canadians opt into pet insurance plans to mitigate the cost of unforeseen circumstances.
By far the biggest question future dog owners need to ask themselves is whether to adopt a rescue pup or a purebred. Some families have special issues which require specific types of dogs. Others have a favourite breed that fits their lifestyle and their needs. Not all breeders are equal. The Canadian Kennel Club provides listings for breeders who adhere to their standards. Petfinder is a wonderful resource wherein potential dog owners can peruse listings according to breed, location or even size of dogs. Many rescue organizations can also be found on Petfinder. There are thousands of dogs from across the country and around the world who are looking for their furever home. And while rescuing a dog may present its own set of challenges, the value of saving a life cannot be overstated.
Pet proofing your home
Quite often, potential adopters already have another pet in the house so they know what to expect. But for those who don’t, bear in mind your dog isn’t concerned about scratching up your floors or settling in on your furniture. Housetraining and obedience classes are a must to teach your new family member the house rules. Jetting away at a moment’s notice is no longer an option once you’re a pet parent. Rover offers pet sitters and boarding at prices to suit just about every budget.
Adopting a dog is one of the best decisions a person can make. Pet owners live longer, enjoy better physical health and have a constant companion and faithful friend in their dog. Long-haired or short, tea cup or massive, a dog truly makes a house a home.
Check out these articles for new dog parents: