You fell in love with an adorable pooch in your local shelter, and you cannot wait to take it home and begin your new life together.
There is nothing odd about that, as more than 85 million families in America own a pet.
While it is great that you want to do this, especially if you did meet your animal soulmate in the shelter, such a decision should not be made overnight. From the fact that the first year with your furry baby can cost you up to $1,000, to thinking about travel arrangements during holidays, vet visits, and pet insurance, being a pet owner requires time, funds, and patience.
To help you along this journey, here are the 10 things you should know before adopting a dog.
Dear Human, This Is What You Need to Know About Me
You are probably already imagining all the amazing walks you will have, cozy nights you will spend curled up together on the sofa watching TV and taking goofy pictures for your Instagram account. Pets can be fantastic companions who can teach you amazing things about life. But, here are some things you have to know beforehand.
I Will Cost You Money
Owning a pet can be a costly thing, and Americans spend around $50 million on their pets every year.
Hence, make sure you have enough money in your bank account for quality dog food, vet appointments, grooming, toys, treats, and other pet paraphernalia you will probably want to get for your dog.
Do You Have Enough Time for Me?
It is easy to get carried away when we are staring at those warm, soulful brown eyes, but pets require time and devotion in this fast-paced world. Aside from obligatory daily walks, your pet will also need vet visits, grooming, and playtime.
Make sure your lifestyle can meet those requirements.
Also, if you have a family, adopting a dog has to be a joint decision. All members of the family have to share the responsibility of taking care of a dog. That is especially important for small children, so invest time in teaching your kids how to behave around dogs to prevent accidents from happening.
Your House Needs to Be Safe for Me
You might take great pride in how amazing your home looks, but adopting a dog means that you will have to make some adjustments to create a safe environment.
Check if all your houseplants are pet-friendly, remove wires or any other objects your new puppy might see as a great chewing toy. Make sure your cleaning solutions, medicine, and food are safely locked away.
It Will Be Messy When I Move In
There is no way around it—your new flatmate will make a mess. Dogs shed hair, they can sometimes flip over their water bowl, bits and pieces of food will end up everywhere, and they might decide that a fluffy pillow is an excellent object to inspect and, eventually, dissect.
In a way, having a dog is very similar to having kids so think carefully about whether you can handle it. Also, you will have to accept the fact you will need to clean more often once you get a pet if you want your house to be tidy. Oh, and yes, there might be some accidents involving bathroom-related operations.
I Will Need Training, You Will Need Patience
Dogs need to be trained, especially if you are getting a puppy. And this goes beyond potty training. Be prepared that your favorite pair of shoes might get destroyed along the way, your doors might get scratched, and your carpet might change its identity forever.
Patience, dedication, and the right information are essential. And, if you realize your training endeavors are not going as planned, seek expert help as unwanted behavior is harder to correct later on.
Please, Learn About My Needs
As amazing as dogs are, speaking human is not their forte. That is why you need to learn as much as you can about their nutritional needs, common health problems, and grooming requirements.
Learn as much as possible so you can be the best owner for your canine.
Keep an Eye on Creepy Crawlies
Fleas, ticks, heartworms, all these creatures will adore your dog, and not in a good way.
So, make sure you get the right products to keep those away from your four-legged friend because those do not just irritate. They can be fatal for your dog and in some cases might jeopardize your health, too.
Getting the Snip-Snip
As unsavory as this might be for you to think about, neutering your pet is the best thing you can do for their health. If you are adopting a dog from a shelter, chances are this procedure has already been performed.
However, if you are getting a dog from a friend or you rescued a stray dog from the street, this is something that you will have to do in due time. The same goes for microchipping and dog tags.
It Might Be a Bumpy Start
Not all dogs from the shelter went through traumatic experiences like abandonment, abuse, or neglect that require extra care, patience, and learning how to handle behaviors that might stem from trauma. Still, adopting a puppy that is not traumatized can sometimes be just as challenging.
Dogs have personalities, just like humans. As a pet owner, you will need to accept that as it is a part of the package.
Be My Human Forever
Life can be unexpected, and we do not know what will happen tomorrow, let alone in a few years. However, if you are thinking about adopting a puppy, you need to consider this—for as long as your dog lives, you will need to be a loving and caring owner.
Animals are not humans, and they do not have complex ideas and messy love life that keeps them up at night. But, they experience pain and joy just like we do. They will grow old and will need more care as the years go by.
This is marriage (of a sort) and, ideally, it will be until death do you part. Their devotion, unconditional love, and the fact that you are their whole world deserve nothing short of love and care, no matter how long their life might be.