Owning a dog is a beautiful thing. You will have a loyal and friendly companion for life, who shows no awkwardness in letting you know how much they love you. Who could turn that down?
But it is a responsibility. One that not enough people put substantial thought into. Are you ready to take on that responsibility? Depending on the breed, your dog can be almost as dependent on you as a toddler. Would you adopt a toddler on a whim?
To make sure you know what you’re getting into, read our guide to understanding what you need to keep a healthy and happy dog.
Prep the home
Your dog is likely to be very anxious when you bring it home. They’re in a new environment with new people. You might have to keep them in a crate for the first few nights to keep them calm, just to sleep.
The basic needs of your dog need to be met, which is food, shelter and exercise. So, that means buying a doggy bowl and leash to start out with. Give them a bed to sleep in, and if they are feeling a little anxious, but have warmed up to you, put a jumper that smells of you in their bed so that they know you’re near. Add a blanket and a few toys to keep their teeth sharp and you’ll have your pup’s designated spot that they’ll know is theirs.
Look into the breed or at least the size of your dog and research what food they need. This can take some trial and error. If you find your dog has an upset stomach, it might be the food you’re giving them.
If you’ve got a puppy, there is more training to think about. You will need to socialize them to other dogs, as well as handle their toilet training. Look up guides to each of these and talk to your vet about vaccinations.
Sort your finances
Dogs can cost a pretty penny. There’s the care, yes, but also the initial cost of buying a dog and the pet insurance.
Buying a dog can be very cheap, even free, or very expensive, depending on what you’re looking for. Maybe you need a specific breed because of your situation, like living in an apartment or having kids around. Buying a particular dog can help you avoid any unwanted habits or behaviors in your new pet. However, it can also be a very uplifting and charitable thing to give a dog a home that needs one. Plus, it’s often free.
Instead, you can use that money to protect your new soulmate. Lemonade pet insurance will help cover your vet bills to make sure that you aren’t hit with a financial crisis on top of the emotional crisis of your pet becoming ill or getting hurt. For an affordable monthly premium, you can cover tests, treatments and medications in case of an accident or illness.
Then there is the care to take into account. On top of monthly pet insurance, you will have to consider the amount of money it will take to feed your dog and to give them extra care, like toothpaste, poo bags, and grooming sessions. Plus, there is the initial cost of all the things you’ll need.
Know what to expect
There will be an adjustment period to go through with your dog, whether you bring home a puppy or an adult dog. Be patient with them. Dogs are quick to love but they still need some time to get to know you. Some dogs can settle in as soon as they get their bed and others will take months, just like people, you can’t rush them.
Some might hide or show signs of fear, while others might keep quiet until they are confident in the home and become hyper.
After a few months, you and your new friend should settle into a routine, but it will take some work, either due to the apprehension of the adult dogs that might have been in shelter for a while, or the puppy that needs house training.
Get some advice from whoever you’re getting your dog from, including some background information. Was your dog mistreated, or in shelter? This might result in some behaviors you won’t expect. Make a plan to train and comfort your dog and be ready for when your dog arrives with all the training and equipment they need. Don’t buy their bed on the fly and decide the training can wait.