Are you ready for a dog?

Labrador looking happy with family smiling at him

Puppies can be adorable, irresistible bundles of fun. However, growing puppies also need a lot of attention and a structured routine, which can be especially tough if your life is a busy one!

Before getting a puppy or a dog, make sure you will be able to care for them and give them a happy, healthy life. The questions below will help you work out if you're ready for the commitment.

According to a study by The Kennel Club:

  • 10% of puppy owners told us that they bought their puppy on an impulse
  • 40% said that they bought a puppy because of the way that it looked
  • Only 10% reported that they bought a puppy after checking that it suited their lifestyle – the most important factor that should be considered!

A dog will be a big part of your family

It's important to consider not only how a dog would impact your own life, but also whether your lifestyle is suitable for owning a dog. No matter how much you may want a dog, it won't be fair on them if you're unable to fully commit and cater to their needs. 

Can you give a dog a happy life? 

Before buying a puppy, ask yourself the following questions to ensure that you are capable of giving them the best home possible.

Can you commit to this long term?

Puppies require commitment and dedication, not only in the short term, but for the duration of their entire life, which in some cases could be up to 15 or 20 years. Your dog must always be exercised, fed and given attention daily.

Can you afford to maintain a dog?

Looking after a dog can be expensive. Here are some of the things you will need to buy or pay for:

  • food and treats
  • water bowls
  • a lead and collar
  • toys
  • a bed and bedding
  • poo bags
  • a dog crate
  • veterinary consultations/medications/surgeries for unexpected incidents or illnesses
  • insurance
  • grooming salons or grooming equipment
  • obedience or training classes
  • boarding kennels/pet sitting services

Please make sure you can afford to look after your dog long term.

Do you have enough space?

When considering whether to get a puppy, you must first ask yourself if your home has the space needed for a fully grown dog. The size of home you live in will determine the size of dog you are able to get. e.g. if you live in a small inner-city flat without a garden, a large dog will not be the ideal pet for you.

Do you have enough time?

If your life is already busy, will you have the time to bath, groom, feed, train, exercise and care for your dog? Dogs are time intensive and require a lot of attention, play, devotion and training, especially while they are young.

Can you commit to exercising your dog?

All types of dogs need to be walked every day. The amount of time spent exercising will vary depending on the breed you choose. Even when it’s raining and cold, you will still need to take your dog for a walk. If you do not take your dog for regular walks, they may become bored and overweight; this can impact both their physical and mental health.

Can you keep your dog company?

As pack animals, dogs do not like to be left on their own for too long and need a routine they can rely on. If you are consistently working full time and can’t guarantee that your dog will have company during the day, you should ask yourself if getting a dog is a good idea. Dogs, like humans, can get lonely and will need someone at home to look after them, whether that is you, a friend, family member or dog sitter. 

Have you talked about it with your family?

Getting a new puppy is a big decision that will certainly have an impact on your life. It’s vital that your family, or anyone that you live with, is involved in this decision. You should never buy a puppy as a surprise present for someone, not even a child. Given the size of the commitment, it would not be fair to force them into this without first seeking their consent.

Will you be able to comfort your puppy while they adjust?

Living with a new owner and moving away from the familiarity of their mother and siblings can be a very anxious and stressful time for a puppy. During this period, your puppy will need a significant amount of comfort and reassurance. Regularly leaving a puppy alone for a long period of time can cause behavioural problems, such as separation anxiety.

Will a new puppy get along with other pets?

If you already have a dog, cat or any other pets, you should consider how they may react to another animal in the house. If you are considering buying another dog, then you could invite friends with dogs over to your house to see how your pet reacts.

Are you prepared for the poo?

While you train your puppy, they are likely to wee and poo on the floor, chew items of furniture and shed hairs around your home. Are you ready for this additional commitment of cleaning? Your dog will need to be let out during the day (and possibly at night) to go to the toilet. This will involve you picking up their poo after they have finished. Are you fine with picking up your dog’s poo on a daily basis?

Not ready? Don’t lose heart!

If you’ve read through the questions and answered no to any of them, then your circumstances may not yet be right for owning a dog. You may be feeling disappointed, but as a dog lover you’ll understand the importance of owning a dog only when you can make its health and happiness a priority. Your dog will be worth the wait, and once your circumstances have changed then we can help you along the journey to finding your perfect four-legged companion.

Next step – finding the right dog for you

If you have answered yes to all of the questions above, then you’re ready to commit to keeping a dog happy and healthy.

Now for the next decision - what sort of dog should you get?