Integrated Family Community Services 3370 South Irving Street, Englewood, CO 80110-1816 Ph: 303-789-0501

7 Things to Consider Before Getting a Family Puppy

Getting a puppy is an exciting time in any person’s life. It signifies a new level of responsibility and commitment and the warmth and companionship that a puppy provides. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t do enough research before they go out and decide to get a puppy. As a result, they get shocked by the amount of work involved in raising their new companion. And in many cases, they end up giving the puppy back to an adoption facility or shelter where his/her fate remains uncertain. Avoid this outcome by considering these seven things:

Environment

If you have an existing pet in your household, it’s important to determine if he/she will get along with the puppy you bring home otherwise you endanger the lives of both animals. Children should also be taken into consideration. If you have a newborn in the household, you’ll also want a puppy that’s not too large or too wild. If someone in your family is allergic to animal fur or hair, this should also be taken into consideration when deciding whether or not to get a puppy and what breed to get.

Space

Dogs, especially large breeds, require a proportionally large amount of space. If you live in a 300 sq. ft studio apartment and bring home a Newfinlander, you both are going to have a difficult time living together. This becomes especially difficult if you are bringing home a high-energy puppy to run around the apartment. For prospecting pet owners who live in smaller spaces, consider getting smaller breeds – Chihuahuas, Pugs, Boston Terriers, Corgis, etcetera.

Cost

As many pet owners will confirm, taking care of an animal can be as expensive as a child. Cost of emergency vet visits, routine checkups and medication, food, daycare or dog-walking services, treats and toys, and other puppy necessities can add up to a hefty number on your year-end account statement. Even adopting a puppy can cost you anywhere between $100 to $500 in application fees. Determine if your current budget and earning power can accommodate a pet.

Time Commitment

Getting a puppy is at least a 6-year time commitment, even more for certain breeds with longer average lifespans. How much time can you commit to your puppy in a day? If you are a busy individual who cannot afford even a single hour of time towards other things besides work, you should reconsider getting a dog. A puppy will require at least three walks each day since their bladder control is still weak at this stage. Aside from walks, you may have to take them to a dog park, hiking trail, or dog-friendly beach to get some off-leash exercise.

Legal Restrictions

If you are living in a metropolitan area, your apartment building will likely have a pet policy. It’s not uncommon for apartment buildings in busy cities, such as New York and San Francisco, to have a “No Pet” policy, while others have a breed restriction list that prohibits breeds, such as Alaskan Malamutes and Pit mixes. If you’re intending to enlist the puppy as a service dog, you’ll also need to secure an Emotional Support Animal certificate or Service Animal license.

Competence

Time and money are important resources for taking care of a puppy, but nothing is more important than one’s competence and reliability in handling another living thing. You’ll need to be disciplined and responsible at all times, making sure your pup is well-fed, exercised, given his/her medication and vaccines, and trained.

Lifestyle

Becoming a companion for a puppy means that both your lifestyles will be aligned in parallel. Where and when you go, he/she goes. If you bring home a puppy that is high energy, you’ll have to be more physically active. Early morning jogs and long visits to the dog park will be new additions to your lifestyle. Similar to having a kid at home, you’ll also have to change how you do parties and social gatherings.

Final Thoughts

Getting a puppy is a lot of work, but at the end of the day, you are rewarded with precious moments that you and your pup share. Take more than a day or weekend to think about whether or not you are ready to bring a puppy into your life.

           

Tim Esterdahl

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