Getting a puppy: are you ready?

Welcoming an adorable new puppy into your family is an incredibly exciting milestone. But are you ready for the challenge? Here are seven things to think about before getting a puppy.

The thought of adding a new puppy to your family can be pretty irresistible but before you take the plunge, make sure you’ve considered if you can provide everything a puppy needs for a happy, healthy life. 

Seven things to consider before getting a puppy

1. Commitment

The most important thing to consider is whether you’re in it for the long haul. Some dogs have lived as long as 27 years! While that’s a pretty exceptional age to reach, you should expect your dog to live for 10 - 13 years. Giving your pet away can be traumatising for the animal and your family, so think carefully about whether you should really get a dog right now.

2. Financial preparedness

Getting a puppy is also a financial commitment. So if your finances aren’t stable, this could introduce unnecessary stress into your family. Here are some costs for you to consider:

Occasional costs

  • Purchase or adoption fee
  • A harness, collar and lead
  • Getting your puppy microchipped
  • A dog bed
  • Food and water bowls
  • Toys
  • Dog proofing (stair gate, crate, etc.)

Long term costs

  • Good quality food and supplements
  • Vet fees
  • Pet insurance (we’ve got you covered there!)
  • Training classes
  • Grooming
  • Doggy daycare or a dog walker
  • Dog sitting when you’re on holiday
  • Poop bags

These costs soon add up, so we don’t recommend adding a puppy to the family if you already feel that you’re under financial stress. You deserve to wait until the commitment feels exciting rather than daunting.

3. Time

You’ll need to exercise and play with your pup every day. You’ll also need to set time aside for training and behavioural classes and take your puppy for vet check-ups.

If you’re working all day and then go out to socialise in the evening, your puppy may be anxious and lonely. So you’ll have to make suitable arrangements like coming home over lunch or finding a doggy daycare centre. Now that many more people are working from home, you might find that flexible working could make life with a new puppy easier.

4. Puppy Proofing

No matter how careful you are, accidents are going to happen. You should expect to clean up puppy accidents like wee, poop, and sick on a pretty regular basis in the first months. Your bundle of joy may chew furniture and destroy your favourite pair of shoes!

You’ll need to create a safe space for your puppy to stay when unsupervised, like a utility room or a crate. As your puppy learns to be calm, you can gradually let them have access to more of the house when you’re away.

5. Training

Puppy training classes are a great way to teach your dog some basic obedience and let them socialise with other animals. You’ll find yourself in a supportive environment where other puppy parents can sympathise with your recent lack of sleep!

You’ll need to set aside time and money for these training classes. It’s also possible to pay for some online training courses or learn about dog training through books, but you’ll need to commit to spending training time with your puppy every day.

6. Teamwork

Make sure that everyone in the family is comfortable getting a dog, and consider whether anyone might have an allergic reaction to a new pet. If everyone learns how to take good care of a puppy in advance, you’re less likely to have misunderstandings later.

Children need to understand that a puppy is a living being who requires gentleness and respect… that means no tail tugging! It can be very helpful to decide on any house rules before getting a pet, so everyone can present a united front. For example, you should decide whether your puppy will be allowed upstairs before bringing them home.

7. Breed

Dogs vary enormously by breed. So getting a Rottweiler puppy is going to offer totally different challenges to getting a Jack Russell puppy. If you live in a studio, a high-energy dog will require a huge amount of exercise to prevent destructive behaviours, anxiety, or even aggression. When speaking with breeders, ask them if they honestly think your lifestyle is a good match for their puppies. 

You need to consider the size, energy levels, and behaviour characteristics of different breeds to choose the right type for your family. Don’t discount mongrels, though. Adopted mixed-breed puppies can bring just as much joy as a purebred dog.

Not ready? No worries!

Please don’t feel disheartened if you’ve decided you’re not quite ready for this big step. It’s much better to wait a little longer than regret diving in too fast.

But if you still feel excited about getting a puppy after reading this article, then you’re probably ready! We wish you many years of happiness with your four-legged best friend, and we’re confident that you’re going to be a wonderful puppy parent.

Is getting a puppy worth it? Of course! If you’re ready to add a puppy to your family, find out what breed is best for you and your lifestyle.   

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