Questions to ask yourself before getting a dog

Bringing a dog into your family is a big responsibility. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to see if you’re ready.

by Good Dog

After scrolling through dozens (or, more accurately, hundreds) of puppy photos, you may have convinced yourself that you’re totally ready to bring a pup into your life. But taking care of a puppy or adult dog is a full-time commitment that could last 15 years or more. It’s super important to check in with yourself to see just how ready you are before taking on this adorable and major responsibility.

Are you ready for a huge time commitment?

Owning a puppy isn’t all cuddles and naps. When considering getting a dog, be sure to factor in pet supply shopping, veterinary appointments and potential follow-ups, regular training classes, long walks and other forms of exercise, potty training, playtime, and countless more acts of service that can pop up at random.

This little animal is a living, breathing and loving creature in your life whose needs will come before yours. This will mean prioritizing their bathroom breaks, among other things, ahead of whatever plans you’ve been hoping to make.

Can you commit to this kind of financial investment right now?

Once you bring your pup home, you’ll be responsible for vet check-ups, preventative medication and overall health maintenance for your dog. You’ll also be purchasing lots of necessary products like beds, crates, leashes and harnesses, poop bags, toys, treats and food — you name it, and you’ll likely be buying it. And don’t forget behavior training classes, many of which come with an additional certificate that can prove your dog is one of the best (which can come in handy if you live in an apartment building that can be picky about which dogs live there). If your office doesn’t allow dogs, you’ll also need to consider a dog walker, dog-sitter or doggy daycare in order to provide the time and attention required for your pup. It’s an incredibly worthwhile and fulfilling financial investment, but these costs should be considered if you’re thinking of getting a puppy in the near future. You can review a full breakdown of the costs here.

Are you ready for a lifestyle change? Do you expect your circumstances to change in the near future?

Owning a dog, especially a young puppy, kinda sorta turns your whole life upside down. You’ll have to be home by a certain time, put in a lot of time and effort into raising your new pup, and be ready to put on your walking shoes at a moment’s notice. It’s totally okay if you’re not ready to compromise on how you’re currently living, but it may mean you’re not in a place to welcome a dog into your home.

Puppies also mean messes! They could rip apart every pillow you own before you’ve noticed, or leave a trail of evidence to and from a terrible puddle. You’ll be asked to be patient and flexible, while remaining firm, with your new friend fairly frequently.

You should also try picturing where you see yourself in two years, or even five years. Are you planning on moving to a big city? Or out of one? Do you see yourself having children soon? These are examples of big life changes to consider when getting a new dog, and they may change the type of breed or personality of the dog you’re thinking of getting.

Is everyone in your home on board?

If you live alone, congrats!

If you live with other family members, or roommates, it’s important to clear this kind of decision with everyone who lives with you or shares common spaces. If even one person isn’t enthusiastic, it could cause a stressful situation between both the humans and the animals in your home. This is especially important if you’ll be asking any of these people to help care for the dog if you’re busy, not home, etc.

Additionally, if anyone in your home has allergies, that could also affect the breed of dog you end up choosing.

These are just some of the important questions you should consider before getting a puppy. If you’re still on board after going through this list, you just might be ready after all! We encourage you to do research on what kinds of breeds and personality traits would fit best for your lifestyle and family. If you’re still not sure, feel free to talk through any and all questions with your breeder or shelter/rescue organization. Responsible sources love to share their knowledge and have years worth of hard won insights.