Before you make the decision to add a lovable canine into your family, it is important to consider not only your lifestyle & needs but the needs of your future pet. Be sure to review and think about the following:
1) Your Family. Do you live alone? Do you have small children? Be sure to think about each person living in your home and their current needs. For example, if your children or other family members have severe allergies or may be allergic to dogs, go for breeds that are known to be hypoallergenic like a poodle. For homes with children, research breeds that do well with young children---not all breeds are the same! Do your homework. If you live alone and work long hours outside of your home, a puppy is probably not right for you, so adopt an older dog which is already house-trained and has less energy. Also consider the type of personality you and your family want in a dog.
2) Your Home. Do you live in an apartment with little or no fenced yard? Choose a smaller dog like a chihuahua or a puggle, these breeds may tire easily, so a walk around the block daily may be all of the exercise they need. If you have a spacious yard with lots of room to run around, your home is perfect for dogs with more energy, however a daily walk is still highly recommended.
3) Disposable Income. Sure the benefits of owning a dog truly outweigh the costs, but you have to be honest about what you can afford. Remember that adopting a dog is adding another member to your family. There is an initial cost of pet adoption charged by shelters and other organizations, which can range greatly from $50-$500 (the money helps keep shelters in business and goes towards their mission of saving other local animals) and purchasing all of their one-time only supplies like a crate, food and water bowls, a leash, and a collar. If your pet is not spayed or neutered, it is important to get this procedure done. There are bi-monthly or monthly costs to consider as such as food, treats, toys, heartworm medication, and flea/tick preventative medication. Vet bills can be costly, but it is important that your pet follow an annual vaccination schedule for shots such as bordetella and rabies. It is also extremely important that you register your pet with your local city office and obtain a dog license. It is usually a nominal fee ranging anywhere from $10-$30 depending on where you live. If dog parks interest you, there typically is a cost involved, some charge a per visit amount or you can purchase an annual pass.
4) Time. Taking care of a pet is a lot like taking care of a child. Consider the time you have to commit to training your dog on a continual basis. It’s a good idea to schedule time each day for appropriate amounts of exercise, play time, and training. If you’re always on the go, it might not be the best time in your life to adopt a dog.
Remember, adopting a dog is a big decision. You need to be committed to taking care of your four-legged friend for the rest of his/her life. Think it through, do your research, and then decide.