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We’re tempted to say that anytime is the best time for a new dog, but let’s be honest—it’s a big decision. So how do you know if you’re ready for a puppy? And when is the best time to get that new dog? Read on.
Finding the Right Dog for You
There are many wonderful ways to bring a new dog into your family. Make sure to do your research! Check your local shelters as well as websites like Petfinder or GetYourPet (for families rehoming pets) for available dogs. Ask plenty of questions about the dog’s history and personality—this is one reason we love GetYourPet, which connects you directly with a dog’s former owner.
If working with a breeder, be sure to find a responsible, reputable one who can provide you with lots of information about your potential new pet’s heritage and ideal home situation. You can find more info in this article about buying a dog.
Always avoid Craiglist and similar sites, which don’t have protections in place and can be a hotbed for scams.
Consider Your Lifestyle
No matter what, a puppy is going to need a lot of exercise, play, and companionship, so line up your care plans early with a Rover account and plans for time off. When you’re contemplating getting a puppy, take a careful look at your schedule, lifestyle, and upcoming plans. The top three considerations when getting a new dog include:
- The season
- Your schedule
- Your puppy’s temperament
Sunshine is Helpful
Most dog owners and dog sitters agree that spring or summer are the optimal seasons for adding a four-legged friend to your family. Warmer months are ideal times for housebreaking your puppy, and they also give you the benefit of longer and sunnier days for walks and playtime.
Fall and winter can be a little harder for breeds that are sensitive to chilly temperatures. Also, consider that cold weather makes house training harder to accomplish. (Think about how you much you don’t like to go outside when it’s dark, cold, or rainy out—your dog will likely feel the same.) The months before the end of the year are also jam-packed with the chaos of holiday shopping, traveling, and family gatherings.
When Can You Take Time Off?
Get a puppy at a time when you can create a predictable routine for your new dog. You should consider whether you’re taking any time off to travel during these first months with your pup. Keep in mind that dogs are pack animals and like to be part of the family. It might be stressful for your puppy to be separated from you right after becoming part of the family.
At the end of the day, get your puppy at a time when you can dedicate some quality hours to bonding, training, and snuggles. You’ll both need time to adjust to each other. There may some ups and downs as you learn each other’s personalities, and as you make room in your life for an energetic canine family member.
Fortunately, even if you have a busy work schedule, frequent travel plans, or just too much to do and not enough time—you can still enjoy the love of a dog. That’s because it’s easier than ever to find and book quality, personalized pet care in your neighborhood.
Prepare a Space for Your New Dog
Besides healthy food, training treats, and a good leash and collar, you’ll want to be sure to create a safe “puppy zone” so your space is prepared for its new addition. You’ll need:
- A crate if you’re crate training.
- Baby gates! This pet gate is a fun, freestanding choice if your dog isn’t a jumper. If she is, you’ll need something higher.
- Cozy items like blankets or your old shirts.
- At least one bed like this orthopedic pet mattress. You may need a chew-proof bed like the K9 Ballistics line. This is a good list of more options.
- Potty pads.
- Plenty of safe toys and chews.
Consider Your Finances
Puppies are expensive. Rover’s annual cost of pet parenthood survey revealed that in 2023, new pet parents spent between $1,135 and $5,155 on their dog in the first year of their life.
It can be hard to anticipate everything you’ll end up paying for. It’s true you’ll need all the gear mentioned above, plus leashes, bowls, food, and more. But you’ll also want to consider things like daycare or pet sitting if you need to be gone longer than it’s safe to leave a puppy alone, basic obedience training, and pet insurance.
Pet insurance is especially important if you don’t have enough in your bank account to feel comfortable paying surprise vet bills. If something goes wrong—think a swallowed sock or a broken bone—it could easily cost thousands to get your pup well again.
For that reason, the best time to get a puppy might be when you’re feeling financially stable enough to weather both foreseeable and unforeseeable expenses.