April is National Pet Month, so what better time to adopt a dog in need of a forever-home, or welcome a new pup into your family?
Taking on a four-legged friend can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but make sure you’re properly prepared for it. A dog is no small commitment – and many breeds can live for around 12 years or longer, so they will be with you for the long haul.
Are you ready for a dog?
First, think carefully about the practicalities of having a dog and how easily (or not) they’ll fit into your life. Consider the following:
- Can you afford a dog? In addition to the essentials, like dog food, bed, crate and other accessories, there’s expenses like insurance and vet bills to factor in.
- Do you have someone who can look after your dog during the day if you are out, or when you go on holiday? If not, you may have to pay for dog sitters and dog walkers, or put your dogs in kennels while you’re away.
- Do you have the time and energy to look after a dog? Some dogs need a fair bit of daily training and exercise, as well as regular grooming.
You should also make sure you have enough space for a dog in your home and know how to care for them properly.
Is your home ready for a dog?
This might seem like an odd question, but it is possible you need to consider “dog proofing” your home before your furry friend moves in.
Like small children, dogs are often curious – and it’s not unusual that they try to eat or chew anything they can get their paws on. Think about hiding electrical cables, storing dangerous chemicals (like cleaning products) safely, putting shoes away in cupboards and removing poisonous house or garden plants if need be.
What kind of dog are you thinking of?
Before you decide to go for it, think carefully about what kind of dog to get. Are you looking for a puppy or an adult dog, a rescue or a pedigree? And what breed would suit your home and circumstances best?
Typical behaviours, grooming requirements and exercise needs can vary vastly depending on age and breed, so it’s a good idea to do some research and figure out what type of dog is going to work for you and your family.