Getting a dog can be a wonderful addition to your life. The benefits of getting a dog include combating depression, an overall mood booster and the feeling of companionship. However great these benefits are, you need to ask yourself the following questions to see if you’re truly ready for a cute furry friend.
Are you financially ready?
Think of it this way – your dog is basically a child. It cannot take care of itself, can't get a job to provide additional income, and will get sick. Take a look at your finances and consider whether or not you have a disposable income to pay for the dog’s needs. Your dog will need veterinary care and vaccinations, spaying or neutering, food, toys, shampoo, toys, bowls, collars, leashes, and cleaning supplies…at the very least. Even if you are the most caring and overprotective dog-mom or dog-dad, emergencies still happen – and those vet bills can cost a pretty penny.
Do you have the time?
Do you go to work before the sun comes up and return after the sun goes down? Are you constantly going on vacations or traveling for work? Your dog’s care and socialization falls on you – and that’s a huge time commitment. Dogs need at least 1 hour of dedicated play time, 2 hours of physical exercise and 30 minutes of metal exercise. There are dog sitters and doggy day cares available for those inopportune times, however solely relying on those options defeats the purpose of having a dog. If you can’t commit to daily walks and lots of cuddles, perhaps getting a dog isn’t right for you.
Do you want a dog or just a “puppy”?
Yes, puppies are some of the greatest creatures to walk this earth – but puppies become dogs. Dogs, although equally as cute, can become 100-pound shedding machines who require thousands upon thousands of calories a day and take up half of your bed.
Are you obsessed with having a clean house?
Speaking of shedding…dog hair will be everywhere. There is no way around this. You can brush and shampoo your dog every day and there will still be hair on your favorite black blazer when you show up to work. You’ll have twice the cleaning to do, guaranteed.
Can you commit to a dozen years of doggy bliss?
Although dogs have a short lifespan in comparison to ours, they still need constant care their entire lives. If you’re not in the right place in your life, or even a little unsure of your future, set aside adopting a dog until you’re rooted down. There’s nothing worse than dropping off your dog to the pound.
Do you have dander allergies?
Unless you are willing to purchase copious amounts of allergy medicine, maybe getting a dog isn’t the right choice for you.
If you think you're ready to make the doggy leap, consider rescuing a dog instead of buying one from a breeder or puppy mill. In Chicago alone there are over 100 dogs up for adoption through PAWS Chicago. Rescued dogs are often in great health, get along well with others and have an extensive recorded history - so you'll truly know what kind of dog you're getting. But whether you adopt or buy, the moral of the story is that you should be in a stable place in your life before getting a dog (or any pet). You and your furry friend will both be happier for it.