Before you decide to adopt or buy a dog, you need to consider several important factors first. You’ll need to adapt your lifestyle to having a pet and change certain things in your life. These might include working hours, activities, the building and apartment in which you live, your leisure time, expenditure etc.
- How big is too big?
If you live in a small apartment, the logic would be to adopt a little dog. However, even bigger dogs can adapt pretty well to living in small space. So, it doesn’t mean necessarily that you need a large apartment to get a big dog.
- Do you have time for a dog? If not, do you have enough money for a dog walker?
If you aren’t at home most of the time, whether you need to work or have other obligations with little free time, think about how you would take care of a dog. Know that dogs need to run around on fresh air and sunlight. Consider if you are able to pay a dog walker on those days when you are busy.
If your social life is busy and have no one to take care of the dog at home, it wouldn’t be very happy to be alone most of the time.
- Which breed fits your personality and circumstances best?
There are certain breeds that are more likely to run around a lot and be more active, such as Corgi and Boston Terriers. On the other hand, they are really small. Breeds such as Poodle, Shih Tzu or Yorkies are recommended for single people who also work a lot.
But, when it comes to circumstances, it doesn’t really matter which breed of dog you opt for as all dogs need food, attention, going outdoors etc. It’s just a matter which type of dogs you prefer.
- How will you solve the bathroom problem?
Dogs should be taken for a walk five times a day, ideally. Older dogs are able to relieve themselves in about 15 minutes, whereas, younger need half an hour. Not many people have time for this. Also weather conditions play a role.
Younger dogs require training. Potty pads are useful for this but it will take some time. You can gradually place them closer to the door.
- Is your building dog-friendly, or do you have to move to get a pup?
Prior to getting a dog, get informed whether your building allows dogs or not. Some buildings allow for dogs of a certain size. There is also a question of how many dogs you have. Some breeds are not allowed at all, especially those considered aggressive. The buildings usually provide a list of banned dog breeds. In some buildings, owning a dog will cost you a certain monthly or yearly fee.
Fees at some condos and co-ops go up to $80 a month, and at some up to $500 a year.
- How can you find a pet-friendly building?
You might try this out when you search for a good building that allows dogs — walk around the neighborhood and ask people. Another way is to use sites dealing with real estate. Most offer the filter related to whether or not dogs are allowed, but types and sizes of dogs are not specified here. If you have a broker, let him/her know you are interested in a dog-friendly building.
- Can you afford a dog?
Having a dog as a pet costs money — food, dog walking (optional), vaccination, medicines, having a dog micro-chipped, grooming, crates or carriers, potty pads, toys, etc. The visits to a vet can be quite expensive, especially neutering that costs around 450$. Also, grooming your dog can be more expensive than styling your own hair! Consider also that you’ll need to make an appointment at a vet or a groomer and that you might need to take a day off for these obligations.
- What is the best dog-walking solution for you — and can you pay for it?
For a half-hour walk, you’ll need to pay around 20-30$. So research this beforehand. When you find the right dog walking agency, ask about the number of dogs the person usually walks at once. Also, ask what they do in case that the walker cannot walk the dog for some reason; how they manage several dogs at once; if they have references; read online reviews.
Pay attention to safety. Consider GPS, cameras, etc. There are also agencies that offer day- and night-time services. You can leave your dog at daycare for up to 40 $, whereas night care costs up to 100 $.
- At the end of the day, can you make your dog happy?
Most importantly — think about whether the dog you’re about to adopt would be happy with you. Consider all cons and pros and think about each of the above-mentioned pieces of advice. In case you are able to manage, then your dog will be a happy one and you will as well!