Did you know that one of the most common emotional “purchasing” decisions people can make is bringing home a puppy? Puppies are everywhere! Someone could be online looking at a buy/sell website and come across an advertisement for a puppy. A person could be out doing errands and see a cute picture from a local shelter or adoption agency. Someone could even see a posting on social media showing their neighbor’s new puppy. People tend to have a harder time not noticing the cute puppies when visiting an animal shelter or passing through an adoption event at a local store. Suddenly you have a cute puppy looking at you with their adorable eyes, and they are so soft and cuddly!
No matter how someone comes across a puppy, a lot of people would react by thinking, “Aww, wouldn’t that be so cute!” Some of us have more considerable restraint than others; however, bringing home a puppy on a whim is not that unusual of a situation. After someone brings home a puppy, they may realize that they might not have been fully prepared. Owning a puppy can bring many new responsibilities and commitments to a person’s life. Let’s talk about 5 items to consider before bringing home a new puppy.
Consider Your Work Schedule, & Time for Training
Before considering bringing a puppy into your life, think about the amount of time you have available. The first few years of a dog’s life are critical to their personality and behavioral traits. Do you have the time to spend potty training with your pup? What about obedience training? Will you spend the time to go to a puppy training class, or do the training yourself? Do you have the time and resources available to spend teaching your new pup the ways of the world, and how you expect them to behave?
What are some of your personal goals for the next few years? Will accomplishing your goals allow you to also have time for your puppy? Whether it is starting a new career, going to school, starting a family, or even moving to a new area, consider how having a puppy will fit in with your goals.
Housing & Containment Options for Puppy
Will you be able to provide the proper housing needed for your puppy? A common reason why pets are given away is due to housing challenges. We are not just talking about shelter for your puppy. How will you potty train your new puppy? The easiest way to potty train a puppy is by crate training. Naturally, dogs do not want to soil their bedding, so crate training is an effective way of getting the puppy to learn self-control.
Beyond potty training, what is your current lifestyle like? Do you work 10-12 hours a day? Do you have a part-time job, or are you retired? Is there a safe place for your dog to be while you are away from home? Depending on where you live, leaving your dog in the back yard while you are away may not be an option.
Furthermore, puppies have short attention spans. A lot of puppies like to chew on things when they are bored. It is not unusual for puppies to chew on objects such as shoes, furniture legs, doors, or even the trimming on the walls. If your puppy does not have appropriate containment or toys while you are away from home, you may come home to some damaged items.
Another thought to consider is where you live. Do you live in an apartment or a condo? Common obstacles with pets and homes are the landlord finding out about the pet and forcing the tenant to re-home them, or the pet is causing a disturbance to the neighbors. If you are an apartment or condo dweller, you may get complaints from the neighbors if you leave your puppy home alone, and they start barking or crying. Furthermore, does your landlord or condo association even allow dogs? Some places have restrictions on the number of pets, types of pets, and maybe even the breed of dogs.
Which Breed of Puppy Are You Considering?
Have you put some thought and research into which breed of puppy you would like to get? While every dog has their own personality, the breed of dog should be something to consider. Each breed of dog is known to have its own unique set of traits and characteristics. The American Kennel Club separates dog breeds into different groups, such as working dogs, sporting dogs, terrier groups, toy breeds, and non-sporting dogs. Consider your lifestyle before choosing a specific breed of dog. If you are known to be a “homebody” and don’t get outside much, choosing a breed of dog that is known to be a “working dog” or a “sporting dog” might not be a good fit for your lifestyle. If you are curious to learn about different breeds of dogs and what traits they are known for, check out the American Kennel Club website for more information.
Even if you are not considering getting a purebred dog, you should still consider understanding the potential mixed breed of the dog before bringing them home. Generally, you can learn a lot about a dog’s personality, activity levels, and interests by knowing what breed they are.
Understanding the Financial Expense
According to the American Kennel Club, the costs of owning a puppy in their first year of life could be over $1000.00! Here are some expenses you can expect in the first year of owning your puppy:
- Adoption cost: The cost to adopt a puppy from a shelter or rescue can be anywhere from $50-$100. However, if you decide to purchase a puppy from a breeder, the cost can range from $500- $2500 depending on the breed.
- Food: Pet food costs range from $20-$60.
- Startup supplies such as food bowls, bedding, crates, leashes, ID tags, toys, and other miscellaneous items. The cost of startup supplies can range from $100-$300.
- Licensing your pet with the local county/city can range from $10-$25.
- Microchipping your pup: It is essential to consider microchipping your puppy. Unexpected events such as emergencies, natural disasters, escaping from your house or car, or even the kids leaving a door open can cause your pup to wander off and go exploring. A microchip will significantly increase the chances of your puppy being identified and returned to you.
- Veterinary care expenses, including vaccinations, worming, heartworm, flea, tick, and other parasite preventatives, and spaying or neutering. These costs could range from $300-$800. Luckily, medical care for your puppy comes in stages, so you will have time to budget for it. Vaccinations start around 6-8 weeks of age. Spaying and neutering can happen from 4-6 months of age, even up to a year or more depending on your dog’s breed and your veterinarian’s recommendations. You will also need to be prepared for accidents and emergencies that could happen along the way.
- Grooming expenses: some breeds of dogs need regular haircuts and grooming, even when they are puppies. Grooming visits can vary in pricing, from $25-$100 each visit.
Some of the expenses, such as adoption fees, startup supplies, microchipping, and even spaying or neutering, are considered one-time costs for your dog. However, a lot of the other items we mentioned are expected expenses for the lifetime of your dog. Food, licensing, vaccines, grooming, and even purchasing new toys and supplies will be an ongoing expense that can vary in cost. It is essential to be financially prepared for taking proper care of your pup.
Getting Support From Housemates & Family
In addition to considering the aspects of your time, housing, and costs of owning a puppy, having help from your housemates, friends, and family is essential. Some folks argue that having a puppy is very similar to having a child in some ways. Puppies are always learning and adapting to their environments. If you have a roommate or a significant other, make sure everyone agrees with how your puppy will be trained. Some widespread behavioral problems in puppies come from lack of training or inconsistent training. Like young children, puppies will recognize when there is a disagreement between two of their owners. They may learn to go to one owner for comfort or even to get away with doing something that the other owner would not usually allow them to do.
Sadly, some folks bring home a new puppy without discussing it with their roommate and are at risk of disapproval and being left alone to care for their puppy. This can lead to an uncomfortable living environment not only for the puppy, but the people residing together as tensions can run high when training a new puppy. If your roommate is not welcoming to having a new puppy living with you, it can be one more challenge to conquer, or worse yet, you may be forced to re-home the puppy.
In addition to having support from the people residing with you, it is great to have support from friends and other family members. You never know when you may need help with providing pet care, puppy sitting, or other life events that can happen along the way.
Making the Decision
Raising a puppy can be an enjoyable, life-changing experience if a person is prepared. Before making the decision to bring a puppy home, remember to consider your lifestyle and all scenarios involved to ensure you and your puppy are set up for success in your journeys ahead of you. There are not too many things in life that are more rewarding than the joy of loving and nurturing a puppy into a lifelong companion.
If you decide that maybe having a puppy is not the best choice for your lifestyle, consider adopting an adult dog. There are many adult dogs in shelters and rescues waiting to find homes, and on the bright side, they have already been potty trained! Whatever decision you make, consider that when life brings you troubles, you know that your dog will always be by your side to cheer you up, make you laugh, and share a hug or kiss with you. We wish you good luck with searching for the perfect puppy!