Whether you’ve been thinking of adding a dog to your family for a while, or you have suddenly decided that now is the right time to add a furry friend to your home, you might be wondering what you should know about becoming a pet parent.
The important thing to remember is that pets are for life, and they’re not something that you can get and then get bored of. If you’re going to take on a pet, then you need to fully commit to that pet for its entire lifespan.
There’s a culture of misunderstanding when it comes to adopting pets, and a large amount of that links to the fact that people don’t necessarily understand what it takes to adopt a dog. The concept of adopting a new pet is extremely exciting, but what a lot of people don’t realize is the long-term impact of having a dog to care for.
Dogs make amazing pets but they also require a lot of love and care. You shouldn’t even consider adopting a dog if you’re not 100% sure that you will have the time to take care of him.
Our shelters are full of abandoned and unwanted dogs in need of loving forever homes. While it’s not something you or your family should take lightly, the rewards of pet ownership are undeniable.
A dog is a big commitment and it’s important to understand that. Wondering what you need to consider when it comes to adding a dog to your family? Have a look at the advice below!
Editor’s Note: Joe and I decided to try something a bit different and collaborate on this one. Hope you like it!
Time Commitment for Dogs
When it comes to adding a dog to your family, it’s important to remember that most dogs require a lot of time. This is why it’s so important to ensure you and the members of your family have the time required to take care of a dog. It’s not just about feeding and walking them twice a day, it’s also about making time to play with them and love them.
Dogs are highly affectionate animals and they don’t do well when they’re left on their own at home for long periods of time, which is why it’s so important that you ensure you have enough time to take care of your dog. If you work all day, leaving your dog home alone can be a challenge.
If you’re able to pay a dog sitter to come and take care of your dog for you while you’re at work, to feed him and take him for walks, that’s great, but not necessarily a solution for everyone.
Dogs Don’t Come Cheap
What it’s also important to remember is that dogs don’t come cheap. When it comes to looking after a dog, there’s a lot that you need to consider cost wise. The fact is that unfortunately, pets don’t come free and no matter how much you might want a dog if you can’t afford to take care of one, you shouldn’t get one.
It’s not just the initial cost of purchasing a dog that you need to consider, but also the long-term cost of having a dog. From the cost of taking your dog to the animal hospital for annual vaccinations, bloodwork etc, to the price of buying food and toys for your pooch, there’s a lot that you need to consider.
Even with pet insurance in place, having a dog doesn’t come cheap and it’s vital that you understand that before you choose to adopt a pooch.
Is The Dog a Good Fit For Your Family?
One of the most commonly made mistakes that occur when choosing to add a dog to a family is not choosing a dog that’s a good fit for the family. Not every dog suits every family and it’s important to understand that.
Different breeds can sometimes lead to different needs or family types. For example, a Lab is great for kids but a Chihuahua or Yorkie might be better suited to older adults.
Then there’s the fact that some dog breeds are more boisterous than others, for instance, which may not be ideal for families with young children. When it comes to choosing a dog, it’s essential that you pick a pooch whose care needs match your family perfectly.
Choosing The Right Breed of Dog
From Craig Smith – Lifein12keys.com Owner and Chief Author:
“I’ve had dogs all of my life. My earliest memories are of our German Shepards, Ginger and Fluffy, both born around the same time as me in 1971. My Grandma Dolly always had dogs too. Her Poodle mix Keisha was one of my favorite dogs ever! I loved visiting when I was a kid so I could hang out with her.
We got “Lucky” when I was about 11. Lucky was the great dog of my youth. Everyone has at least one of those right? Lucky was an Airedale Terrier mix. He was a loving and loyal dog all through my teen years and into adulthood.
I’ve been married now 21 years to my lovely wife Celeste. We’ve had 6 dogs total in that time and 4 currently. We never had kids, but I can definitely recommend certain breeds for families with kids…. and probably some that you should avoid. Based on our experience and dogs over the years here are some notes on our own pups.
Sammy – Sammy was our first dog we rescued from the Orange County Shelter in early 2000. He was a Chow-Retriever mix. He had a wonderful long life of 15 years. I would definitely not recommend any Chow breed for families with kids. While Sammy was great with other animals and most people, he didn’t like it when kids were around.
Haley – Haley was a large breed Catahoula mix. We think she was also mixed with Pitbull but we’re not sure really. Haley loved all people and kids but was aggressive toward other dogs (outside of our own). She was a loving dog who lived a great 13 years.
Yngwie – Yngwie is a Chihuahua mixed with Miniature Pinscher. As of this writing, he’s just a few months short of 12 years old. This dog loves everyone! I’ve always said that strangers could kidnap him and he wouldn’t even care. A great breed for any type of family.
Abigail – We got Abigail after Sammy died in 2015. Losing a pet is always hard but getting one immediately after is absolutely the best way to deal with it. Some may disagree, but from our experience, it really does makes it easier.
Abigail is a full Deerhead Chihuahua. After seeing how good Yngwie was, we decided maybe the Chihuahua breed was a good fit for us. She is a loving Mommie’s girl for sure but is scared to death of anyone and everyone outside of a few close friends and family.
Probably not a great choice for kids or noisy households.
Princess Leia – Leia really brought balance to our menagerie here. Much like Yngwie, she loves everyone kids and adults. She is a Pomeranian and Chihuahua mix. If you’ve heard Pomeranians bark a lot, you heard correctly. She’s a great dog but really aggressive at barking at just about anything and everything. Not the best choice if you’re looking for a more docile quiet type of pup.
Rosita – We rescued Rosita last year after Hurricane Irma rolled through Central Florida. She was lost or abandoned and found in the streets of Orlando. Rosita became a real Daddy’s girl. I wrote an article about her and the other dogs here: A Man and His Dog.
Rosita doesn’t do so well with cats at all! She’s a chaser and it can be a problem. Definitely take that into consideration when getting a new dog too.”
Adding a dog to your family can be a fantastic and rewarding thing to do, but it’s important to ensure that now is the right time to do so. Hopefully, the tips above will help you to do that.
Joe & Craig
Joe is a friend and contributing Author to Lifein12keys.com. He lives in Longwood, Florida with his wife Bethanne and sons Patrick and Joe Jr.