Are You Prepared to Adopt a Puppy?
Are You Prepared to Adopt a Puppy?
When adopting a puppy, many people only think about the short term. They see how cute puppies are and love the idea of the companionship they’ll bring to their lives. Having a puppy around sounds like tons of fun, and it can be! However, there is a lot of additional planning that should go into your decision to bring home a new furry family member.
Puppies are a big responsibility, and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. They will undoubtedly bring such joy to your life and be a loyal companion. They’ll be by your side through thick and thin, but if you’re considering adopting a puppy, there are a few questions you should ask yourself first:
Does raising a puppy fit your family’s lifestyle?
Everyone has a different schedule and certain non-negotiables in their life. You’ll want to make sure you're considering your family’s unique needs when deciding whether or not it’s a good idea to get a puppy.
Do you have young children that require a lot of care and attention? Will you be able to juggle that with the constant needs of a puppy, too? A puppy’s needs can be similar to a child’s, so combining the two might not work for some families.
Another consideration is whether or not a puppy would be safe around your small children. Some dogs don’t get along well with children or can be a little rough and uncoordinated at times. This could lead to a toddler getting knocked down on occasion, even if unintentionally. Puppies also tend to chew, which occasionally leads to a nip here or there. Is this something you would be okay with? If not, you might consider waiting until your child is older to adopt a puppy.
For those that like to travel, the decision of who will watch your dog can be a major one that often goes unlooked. If you enjoy traveling regularly, you’ll need someone lined up to watch your pup. Whether planning a trip away, traveling for work, or maybe even just a long night out, there will most likely come a time when you can’t be there to take care of your dog in person and that should be considered.
If you’re gone for much of the day, do you want to pay for a daily doggy daycare or a dog walking service to stop by for some companionship and a bathroom break? If you travel for work, do you have a kennel or trusted friend who can regularly be with your dog for long periods of time? There are many options to choose from, but some can be pricey, so you’ll need to plan ahead to make sure you choose the one that best suits your needs.
Having a puppy is a commitment, and one that does often require you to make some lifestyle changes.
Do you have the time and energy to train a puppy? Puppies can be a lot of work. Similar to a small child, they often need round-the-clock supervision when they first come home with you. Do you have the time it takes to properly train your puppy? More than time, do you have the stamina? Not only will you need to train them to walk on a leash, be friendly to other people and dogs, and follow simple commands, but you will need to potty train them as well. This can be a time-consuming endeavor for many dog owners, and it often comes with some serious ups and downs.
Some dogs take quite a while to get used to using the bathroom outside and often have many accidents along the way. It takes rigid scheduling to make it work and get your puppy used to this new idea. You might have to get up several times in the middle of the night to go outside with a puppy who is still learning. You’ll need to allow for extra walks in the beginning so that your dog has the time to do their business. You’ll most likely spend significant time cleaning up messes and will need to be able to keep your cool when your puppy makes a mistake.
It’s a learning process for everyone involved and you have to be willing and able to put in the time and effort it takes to be successful.
Do you want to spend the money? Adopting a puppy is not as simple as paying the adoption fee and picking up a bag of kibble from the store. The average adoption fee is about $50-$150 from a trusted national organization, but designer breeds can often cost into the many thousands of dollars. If not included in the initial fees, spaying or neutering your pet (a must) can cost between $50-$300, and required vaccines can set you back $50-$100 on average. This is all just the initial cost of adoption. There is certainly more to come.
The costs of dog ownership continue month after month, and many are critical in keeping your dog healthy and happy. Vaccines and licenses have to be updated regularly by law, some even annually, so you’ll need to shell out the money for that on a fairly regular basis. On top of that, you’ll need to pay for at least annual vet visits, if not more. And that’s the minimum if you have a healthy dog.
If your puppy ends up having any health issues, the average vet visit can get even more costly, into the hundreds or thousands of dollars per visit. Are you willing to spend that on top of the cost of prescriptions and supplements?
Other regular preventative treatments like flea and heartworm protection are essential and most must be administered monthly at around $20/month. Keeping your dog’s teeth healthy is another essential to maintaining their overall health, and that will set you back anywhere from $70-$400, 1-2 times per year.
Depending on the breed, you might also need to pay for grooming services. If your dog needs regular professional trims, that will set you back an additional cost of $30-$90 per visit. You’ll also need essentials like a leash, collar, tags, dog bed, and toys to keep your dog happy and safe. This all adds up quickly.
Even a dog with the most simple of needs will still require you to regularly purchase essentials like food and treats. Although you can find fairly inexpensive dog food, quality dog food that will supply your dog with the nutrients they need does not come cheap. And if your dog requires a special diet, pet food costs can be as high as $90 per bag.
Needless to say, the cost of dog ownership is not low. You’ll want to make sure that you can afford a dog and more specifically that you want to spend the amount needed to give your dog a good quality of life.
None of this is to say that you must be wealthy to adopt a puppy. Many adoption agencies offer reduced fees, and you can often find special deals on grooming and required health services like vaccines. But either way, the cost and your lifestyle are definitely points that should be weighed heavily when making a decision on adoption.
If you’ve considered all of the major questions and you’re sure you’re ready for all of the additional responsibility, adopting a puppy is a decision you definitely won’t regret.