By Mel Lee-Smith
Published: 11/13/2020, edited: 11/13/2020
“Should I get a dog?” If you’re asking yourself this question, you’re probably not alone.
Dogs are adorable, fun-loving, and loyal friends, but they can also be a lot of hard work. Getting a dog is a huge decision, and one you should never rush into.
But if you can’t decide whether or not you’re ready to welcome a furry family member into your home, here are 9 simple signs that you’re ready to become a pet parent.
Are you the type of person who always asks to pet a stranger’s dog? Is your Instagram feed full of fur? Would you rather hang out with a dog than with most (or maybe all) of the people you know? Do you always detour past your local dog park just to watch the pups frolicking and playing with each other?
If you answered yes to all of these questions, there’s a good chance your life would be a whole lot better with a dog in it. If you’ve got pups on the brain at any hour of the day and no matter what you’re doing, you’re clearly in need of some canine company.
Looking for more of an emotional connection than you get from looking after a house plant? Desperate for something more permanent than dog-sitting your sister’s pooch every now and then? Are you sure you’re a dog person rather than a cat person?
There’s no substitute for the real thing, and life is a whole lot more fun with a dog in it. Growing tired of those alternatives to pet parenthood is a good sign there may be a hole in your life that only a dog can fill.
If you feel like there’s something missing in your life, maybe it’s a cuddly creature with four legs, a wet nose, and a tail.
Dogs are famous for offering unconditional love to the people they care about. They’re our constant companions and absolutely adore being made to feel like part of the family. No matter what you’re doing or how you’re feeling, all your dog wants is to be with you.
And your dog can be a whole lot more than just your best friend. Studies have shown that dogs can help improve our social lives, make us more active, and relieve stress. Even gazing into your pup’s eyes has been shown to produce the “love hormone”, oxytocin — if that doesn’t show you just how special dogs are, we don’t know what will.
You’ll also need to ensure that everyone else who shares your home is ready for pet parenthood. What if your roommate has allergies? What if your kids are petrified of pooches? What if your partner isn’t interested in helping you take care of your pup? What if your cat hates all dogs with a passion? What if your landlord has a “no pets” policy?
These are all things you need to consider before you can welcome a dog into your home. If someone you live with isn’t thrilled about getting a dog, you may need to reconsider your options (or find a better roommate!).
If you think you can just lock your dog in the backyard while you head off to work a 10-hour day at the office, think again. Dogs need as much of your time as you can possibly give them. They need to be exercised, they need to be trained, they need mental stimulation, and, most of all, they need companionship.
So you should only ever get a dog if you’ve got enough time in your day to devote to your new family member. We’re talking early-morning walks and late-night snuggling, plus plenty of training, feeding, play, attention, and love in between. Dogs can take up every last bit of your spare time, but you’ll love them even more for it.
No, we don’t just mean thinking about all the amazing adventures and adorable cuddles you’ll have with your new pet. Instead, we mean thinking about the nitty-gritty of caring for a fur-baby.
Have you taken any time to think about where your dog will sleep, what they’ll eat, how you’ll train them, and how they’ll fit into your lifestyle? Not only will you need to research different breeds to find one that’s right for you, but you’ll also need to find out all about the day-to-day care your pet will require.
Getting a dog isn’t something you should do on the spur of the moment. But if you’ve carefully thought through the logistics of raising a pup, that’s a surefire sign that there’s a fur-baby in your future.
We’d rather wag our tails about all the love and joy of pet parenthood than talk about money — we’re sure you would too. But every prospective pet parent should be aware of one inescapable fact: Raising a dog isn’t cheap.
Aside from the initial purchase or adoption cost, you’ll need to pay for food, vet bills, toys, training, flea and tick control, and a range of other expenses. Sure, small dogs are cheaper than big dogs and pet insurance can help cover those unexpected vet bills, but you’re still looking at spending a significant amount of money over the course of your dog’s life.
That’s why having a steady job and some savings set aside for a rainy day is an important consideration for any prospective pet parent.
Welcoming a dog into your family is one of the best things you’ll ever do, but it isn’t always easy. Your furry family member will need to be trained and socialized, exercised on rainy days, and given as much attention as possible. Oh, and did we mention that you’ll be responsible for cleaning up after them as well?
Not only does raising a dog take time and money, but it also requires plenty of hard work. If you’re not willing to put in the effort, then you won’t be able to create a safe and happy home for your pup.
The good news is that sharing your life with a dog makes all that hard work worth it, and your pup will thank you for all your effort — in their own adorable way — each and every day.
Raising a dog isn’t a hobby. It isn’t something you can be obsessed with for a few months and then completely lose interest. Instead, you need to be committed to providing all the love and care your pup needs for a decade or more. If you’re not going to be in it for the long haul, you don’t have what it takes to be a pet parent.
But if you’re prepared for the early mornings, the picking up poo, the housetraining, the vet visits, and the planning of many aspects of your life around your pup for years to come, then you’re ready.
Getting a dog is a life-changing decision, but if you’re properly prepared and you know what you’re in for, your new pup will only change your life for the better.
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