What better way to celebrate the festive season than welcoming a doggo into your home?
The addition of a furry friend to your family is one of life’s great moments, but it is important you do your research and understand the commitment you are making. The decision to adopt a dog should not be taken on a whim. It is a lifelong commitment.
The Porch Potty crew scanned the universe for 12 great tips for new owners thinking about adding a pooch to their family.
Here’s what the experts say:
- You need to be honest with yourself. Are you ready to make the lifelong emotional, financial and time commitment to your pooch? If you have thought it through and are certain you and your family members are ready, then congratulations!
- Know the breed of dog that suits your home, lifestyle and personality. Are you an active person? Are you a bookworm? Do you have a baby, toddlers, teenagers or are an empty nester?
- Dogs poop and pee. Yep. As the owner you have to pick and wipe it up. Are you willing to pick it up whether it has been dropped in the kitchen, on your new carpet or out in the backyard? Wait! We know the solution. Porch Potty to the rescue!
- How big is your backyard and does it have suitable fencing and gates? Or do you live in an apartment? They are obvious factors to consider when you are deciding whether you are prepared to add a dog to your family. It is also crucial in selecting the size and breed of your new dog.
- Do you have allergies? Are you allergic to certain dogs? Do your research. Undergo your own allergy testing. Hypoallergenic dogs might be the answer. They don’t shed or are hairless. But there is no guarantee a hypoallergenic dog won’t trigger your allergies. Often, it is not the fur that leads to the allergic reaction in people. It is the dog’s dander, or tiny bits of skin, that are shed. Definitely do your research.
- The relationship you have with your pup is priceless, but you still need to make sure you can afford the expenses that come with committing to a dog including food, vet bills, grooming etc. Money magazine estimates the lifetime cost of a small or medium-sized dog is around $15,000 over its expected 15-year lifespan. A large dog is estimated to cost $14,000 for its 10-year lifespan. Forbes estimates a pooch can cost anywhere from $17,650 to $93,000 for the dog’s lifespan.
- Do you plan to adopt a doggo from a shelter or rescue group? Good for you if you are. There is a misconception all shelter and rescue dogs have behavioral issues. That is not true. Dogs end up in shelters or are rescued for numerous reasons. They may have been loved for more than a decade and their elderly owner dies. In tough economic times some families can’t afford to keep their pal. And think about this. You could be saving two lives – the dog you are adopting and by taking the pooch you are opening up a place in the shelter for another pooch. Millions of dogs die in shelters each year and you can save one.
- Are you seeking a puppy from a breeder? There are advantages and disadvantages. An advantage is you should be able to view the pup’s parents and check the breeder’s credentials. If you have allergies you have a better chance to ensure the dog has hypoallergenic lineage. While puppies are gorgeous and you can build a relationship with him/her early on, they are also a handful. There is potty training you have to do (Porch Potty?) that an older rescue doggo likely has mastered. Purebred dogs also tend to have more health problems. There is also the cost of a puppy from a breeder, which can be in the thousands, compared to saving a dog from a shelter for a nominal fee and knowing you may have saved his/her life.
- Do you have enough time in your day to ensure your dog has a healthy life? Do you start work early and don’t get home until late? Do you have a long commute? When you get home will you be too tired to take your doggo for a walk? Will your dog be home alone all day or left outside in the elements? They are all questions you need to think through.
- Do you already have a dog or cat in your home? How will he/she react to the arrival of a new furry housemate? The Humane Society offers four tips: introduce the dogs on neutral territory; pay attention to each dog’s body language; let the dogs determine the pace of the introduction; monitor closely in the home.
- Just like humans, your four-legged buddy needs regular medical checks. If you make the commitment to welcome a doggo into your home, you need to make sure he/she is in good health. Vet bills can run into the thousands of dollars.
- Keep your doggo safe. There is a long list of things you need to do to protect your pooch. Your home needs to be dog safe. Live power cords, Christmas trees, swimming pools, poorly constructed fences and gates, poisonous plants, nearby predators including mountain lions, bobcats and coyotes and venomous snakes are all life-threatening hazards. Microchipping will help you reunite if your dog gets loose.