There’s nothing that gives you that warm and fuzzy feeling more than a puppy until it poops on your carpet and chews your favorite shoes. All of that and more is bound to happen, but it’s best to know about it beforehand.
When you set out to buy a puppy, you need to know what you’re getting into so you can make an informed decision. Is it the right time? Can I give this puppy the care it deserves?
Hopefully, the answer is yes, but hundreds of thousands of pets are surrendered to the shelter because the owners didn’t know what they were getting into. Take a look below to see what you need to consider before you commit to buying a puppy.
1. Do You Have Time For a Pet?
We get it. Life is a little bit crazy. Between work, hobbies, kids, travel, and everything in between you might not have any time left to think, much less care for a puppy.
Puppies take a massive amount of time to train, socialize, and get into a schedule that works for everyone. You’ll spend hours making sure your new pup knows where to go to the bathroom, how to learn helpful obedience skills, leash manners, and how to act around everyone and everything it meets.
While this does get easier as time goes on and your puppy learns the ropes, it takes time, sometimes years, to have a perfectly trained dog. If you’re away traveling for work 6 days a week, it’s probably not the best time to adopt. If you work from home and your spouse and kids can commit to helping, you might be ready.
2. Cost of Pet Care
Your new best friend might be small, but their budget needs to be large. Shelter adoption fees or breeder adoption fees can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars and that’s just the beginning.
You will need to be prepared with dog bowls, food, vet visits, toys, treats, clothing if they need it, training, and daycare.
Before you say “I’m going to buy a puppy right now” take a hard look at your finances. See what each expense would cost and if you can afford it. You don’t have to buy the fanciest toys and $200 dog food. Maybe you give up that fancy lunch you take and put it towards a pet fund.
Get creative with your budget or start a savings account dedicated to your goal of owning a puppy. If you put a little bit of money aside with each paycheck you will be well on your way to being able to give your new pet the luxurious life it deserves.
As long as you’re confident you can afford the long-term care your pet needs, go for it!
3. Which Breed Fits Your Lifestyle?
Be honest. Are you a couch potato or a ball of unbridled energy? If sitting on the couch all day is your thing, you might want a lazier dog, like a bulldog. If you never seem to sit still and love being active outside, considering husky puppies is a better option.
Research the breeds that you love and find out their exercise needs as well as their temperament. Corgi puppies tend to be great for families whereas other breeds attach to a single person more. Mixed breed puppies are harder to predict, but if you know the breed of one of its parents you can predict their potential activity needs.
Don’t forget to research how much space your new puppy will need. Border collies need lots of space to roam and catch frisbees. If you have a smaller apartment, a smaller dog breed will be happier in that space versus a larger dog.
If you rent, check with a landlord before adopting a puppy. Some apartments won’t allow certain breeds and others don’t allow pets at all. If you plan on moving in the near future, it’s important to plan and make sure your future home is suitable for a dog as well.
4. Do I Adopt or Buy a Puppy?
You want to adopt or buy a puppy from an expert. Good breeders will know the pet’s vaccination history, pedigree, any history of illnesses, or genetic factors that could affect a dog’s health.
You want to avoid breeders who don’t have experience and are just trying to make money off of their dogs. Look for a highly-recommended breeder in your area and come prepared to ask lots of questions.
Shelters might have limited information on the history and parentage of their puppies, but it’s always best to check reviews online and ask around about their reputation. The Humane Society and ASPCA are both reputable organizations that go above and beyond to care for their animals and find them the perfect forever homes.
Adopting or buying a puppy are both great options. Whether you choose to rescue or buy, find a shelter or breeder that operates to an extremely high standard of care. They should have years of experience and a thorough adoption process in place to ensure their dogs go to the right home.
Do you live alone or with a spouse and kids? Has everyone who will be in constant or frequent contact with the puppy been around a dog before? Allergies to dog hair are extremely common around the world, affecting every 3 in 10 people.
It’s simple to get tested if you aren’t sure, but it’s a necessary step to ensure the health and happiness of everyone in your home and your new puppy. Some dogs, such as golden doodles, have hypoallergenic fur, making them a great choice for homes where someone has an allergy.
Before you commit to getting a puppy check to make sure no one is allergic. People with asthma as especially susceptible and care should be taken to choose the right breed or forego getting a dog.
6. Changes to Your Home and Routine
Puppies have a knack for chewing on things they shouldn’t and getting into places they aren’t allowed. Most of the time it’s harmless, but if your new puppy finds a bottle of cleaning liquid to snack on, it could be dangerous.
Puppy proofing a home requires some simple changes. Below are just a few examples.
- Install baby gates to keep your puppy confined to safe areas
- Remove potentially dangerous materials to cabinets or tabletops they can’t reach or enter
- Place rugs or other textured items in slippery areas to prevent falls
- Rearrange your furniture to include pet bowls and food storage
- Store any items you don’t want to be chewed on out of reach
Having guests over also takes a bit of a change. Dogs need to be socialized with as many people and pets as possible. You’ll need to train your dog to greet people and animals gently and calmly.
Training is an essential aspect of pet ownership. Puppy obedience classes are a great way for your new pup to meet other dogs and people while also learning essential tricks. It’s important to know that training is an ongoing undertaking, not a one-and-done class.
No matter how old your dog is, they will look to you for guidance. Plan to give your dog training sessions multiple times a week to keep them engaged, obedient, well-behaved, and happy from all of the treats and positive attention they’ll receive.
7. A Lifetime Commitment
Pet ownership should never be an impulsive decision. Your new puppy will become a member of your family. The changes to your home, routine, finances, and lifestyle will need alterations and those take lots of careful thought.
Research what it takes to be not only an adequate pet owner but an incredible pet parent. While it’s a great responsibility to own a dog, it’s one of the most rewarding experiences you can have.
As puppies age, they will need more vet care, training, and dietary needs especially as they approach old age. Make sure you can commit to every life stage your puppy will go through to give them the best possible care. After all, they’re only puppies for a short period of time.
Any love and care you give to your dog will be returned tenfold. As long as you’re ready and knowledgeable about all aspects of getting a puppy, you’ll have nothing but good memories and lots of fun adventures.
Which Tip Was the Most Helpful for You?
Let us know in the comments below! Buying a puppy can be a complicated process and raising one is quite an adventure. We hope these factors helped you decide whether or not becoming a puppy owner was the right decision for you.
While you’re here, why not explore more of our blog or take a look at our popular dog toys. If you decided to buy a puppy you will definitely need plenty of toys to keep them occupied and great articles to help you navigate this exciting new time!