It’s a day like any other, you’re scrolling on your phone double tapping on some hilarious memes and having a good time. When suddenly a picture of the cutest little puppy appears on your feed from a local shelter’s account. The urge to pet it and drown it in cuddles overcomes you until you can’t take it anymore: you will adopt this dog! But are you really ready for it? A lot of people underestimate the implications of adopting a pet and the responsibilities that come with it. So we’ve put together a few questions you should ask yourself before making such a big decision that will have an impact on another little being’s life and happiness.
Is your home dog-friendly?
Your puppy may be small and cute now but, depending on the breed, it may grow into a big doggo. Do you have enough space for that dog to be happy, especially during the day when you’re away at work? And let’s not forget about their daily exercise. Do you have a backyard where it will be able to run and do its “business” daily? If not, will you have the time to take it out for a walk everyday?
How much time and money are you willing to put into training your dog?
Moving into a new environment is stressful for a pupper, even when it’s for the better. That’s why it’s highly recommended that you take a few days off work when adopting a dog to help them get used to their new home and family, and prevent the development of separation anxiety. It’s also a great opportunity to start training them so they know the house rules. Are you willing to take that time off? If your pup is teething and won’t stop chewing on your furniture and clothes, are you willing to hire a professional trainer so you can co-exist in harmony? Not to mention “potty” training. Are you ready to pick up after your dog?
Is your lifestyle suited for having a dog?
Dogs are emotionally dependent beings that need your love and attention. It’s not the kind of pet that you can leave by itself for too long. Are you willing to delay or skip your 5 à 7 with your friends after work to go walk and feed your dog? Will you get up earlier in the morning (even in the cold Canadian winter) to brush, feed and take your dog out for a walk if you don’t have a backyard? What arrangements will you make for your next vacation down south? These are the kinds of new responsibilities that come with a dog.
Do you have the financial means to have a dog?
A 2018 market research made in Canada by RateSupermarket.ca shows that the cost of owning a puppy in the first year is on average $2,600.10 (it may vary according to your purchasing/lifestyle habits and the initial cost of your dog). Another research done by Global News with 7 dog owners shows that the annual costs related to their dog varies between $1,646 and $4,860, with the exception of a senior pup who’s medical bills made the annual cost rise up to $14,820. Are you able to put this much money aside, on a yearly basis, to tend to your dog’s needs?
Is everyone in your household ready to have a dog?
If you have a spouse, make sure this is a commitment that they’re also willing to make. It’s also important to take into consideration other pets you may have as well as your children, if you have some. You have to make sure that your future pup will fit your family lifestyle and be surrounded by beings who will love them or at least get along with them (we’re looking at you Mittens).
There’s nothing more devastating for a dog than to find a new family only to be abandoned from lack of time or money. It’s so important to understand the long-term commitment you're making to this little bundle of joy. So, if you’ve answered yes to all of these questions and understand the implications: congratulations! You’re ready to adopt a dog! If not, don’t despair. Now that you know what is required for you to adopt a puppy, you can work towards these goals until you’re finally ready. And when you are, don't forget to “adopt, don’t shop”!